Campaign News
Zimbabwe’s hope is devoured by the Crocodile PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 August 2019 09:37

IAN BIRRELL 22 August 2019

Britain’s complicity in backing another tyrant to replace Mugabe has betrayed a suffering people.

A friend of mine went to the supermarket near her home in Harare at the weekend and bought six cartons of milk, a bunch of bananas and bones for her dog. Then she braced herself for the six-hour queue at the petrol pumps and went to fill up the family saloon. By the time she arrived home, this simple excursion had cost her close to the typical monthly salary of a mid-level civil servant in Zimbabwe. “And you know what,” she added. “I’m so embarrassed since I know most of the cashiers can’t afford to shop at their store.”

Once again, this beautiful but blighted nation is in crisis. One doctor told me there were no drugs in her hospital. There is no water most of the time, the electricity cuts off 18 hours a day and many families are going hungry. A western businessman, fighting to keep his company afloat when there is no power to run his plant, no fuel to transport goods and no cash to pay staff, said one in 12 of his employees had fled the country in recent weeks. “Good luck to them,” he said ruefully. “This is the worst it has been here for more than a decade.”

How quickly that burst of optimism after the overthrow of Robert Mugabe two years ago has turned to despair. When security chiefs engineered a coup, they promised things would change after 37 years of repression, rampant corruption and gross economic ineptitude that led to the second-worst hyperinflation in history. His hands may have been stained in blood as Mugabe’s former enforcer but Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new president, declared Zimbabwe was “open for business” after taking power.

Never mind his nickname, the Crocodile, nor the shooting of citizens when an election result was delayed amid claims of fraud and voter intimidation. Mnangagwa wooed gullible foreign politicians, wore the scarf in national colours adopted by pro-democracy activists, hired public relations people to polish his image and turned up at Davos to hobnob with the global elite.

“I am working toward building a new Zimbabwe: a country with a thriving and open economy, jobs for its youth, opportunities for investors, and democracy and equal rights for all,” he claimed as he pledged reform and promised freedoms. 

But while the 95-year-old Mugabe lies sick in a Singaporean hospital, darkness has again descended on the country he helped free from British colonial rule in 1980. Rival factions in the ruling Zanu (PF) party bicker like balding men over a comb, among them allies of “Gucci” Grace, the loathed former first lady once accused of trying to poison the ruthless Mnangagwa with ice cream from her stolen dairy farm. Inflation is rocketing again, estimated to be running at 500 per cent annually, while critics are charged with sedition, activists tortured and demonstrations over a deteriorating economy are met with brutal force by baton-wielding security goons.

One United Nations agency says that within months almost half the 17 million population might struggle to eat a single meal a day in a country once called Africa’s breadbasket. The government blames drought. But the big issue is, yet again, blundering by a despotic regime focused more on plundering wealth than helping its people, symbolised by its dismal efforts to shore up the crashing new Zimdollar currency with foreign currency banned two months ago. “It is not like before when there was no food in the shops,” one Harare resident said. “Now there is plenty of food but no money to buy it. It feels surreal, more uncertain than ever.”

Many Zimbabweans are dismayed by the speed of this latest decline. But despite joyful celebrations over the November 2017 coup that ousted “the old man”, there should be no surprise over the failure to deliver a better future when the same old Zanu (PF) faces are seen in charge of their country.

Britain has joined the European Union and United States in speaking out against the human rights abuses. To our shame, however, few outsiders were more complicit in cheering on the coup and promoting Mnangagwa’s cause than British officials in their desperation to regain influence.

Three years ago our diplomats backed an attempt to bail out Mugabe’s government, to the fury of Washington, with one key player confirming to me their involvement in a misguided effort to impose monetary stability. Opposition figures believe Britain went on to back Mnangagwa actively and assist his cosmetic makeover into a reformer.

After the new president’s first 150 days in office, Boris Johnson as foreign secretary praised Zimbabwe’s “impressive progress”. One local source said a British diplomat apologised this year for their supportive stance after 17 people were killed, 16 raped and 900 arrested during a crackdown on fuel price protests.

Mnangagwa, who is 76, was linked to the worst excesses of the Mugabe era, with a history of crushing dissent despite his sudden pose as a democrat. Yet once again, Britain fell for the arrogant delusion that autocrats are a safer bet than democracy in turbulent places — just as in so many other African and Middle Eastern nations, from Egypt and Saudi Arabia through to Rwanda and Uganda. Now we see the legacy of such stupidity as Zimbabwe disintegrates, its people suffer more distress and the Crocodile devours any lingering hopes of change.

Report on the ROHR peace walk – 27th July 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 01 August 2019 15:19

Zimbabwe is currently under a military dictatorship since the advent of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s second republic. Since the July 2018 general election, more than 20 innocent civilians have been shot dead from behind, execution style, while fleeing soldiers. The brutal army crackdown which followed the 14 January 2019 ‘national shutdown’ has engendered a climate of fear and ordinary citizens are now resigned to suffer in silence. 

The Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) International strongly believes that the exercise of civil liberties and political expressions should never never be about coercion, dictatorship, manipulation or blatant abuse of citizens. Rather, it should be about the people’s issues and fair play, transparency and accountability as underpinned by the rule of law, justice and peace.

This commitment to human rights and democracy prompted the organisation into a peace walk to help raise awareness and restore basic freedoms.

On 27 July 2019, twenty-one UK based human rights activists travelled long distances from across Britain, some as far away as Scotland and Middlesbrough, to walk for peace and human rights in Zimbabwe. By 8.30am, participants had gathered and by 9am, the peace walkers had started the 15 mile walk from Redbridge train station to Zimbabwe House, Charring Cross in London. Among the participants, were mothers with buggies and babies, and one lady was over 60 years, all for the love of their beloved Zimbabwe.

Despite the rain, participant morale remained high and the walk was punctuated by freedom songs and slogans all the way through. It was encouraging to note that the British public was very supportive in their comments and demeanour. “Keep fighting, Freedom will eventually come!’' were words recorded from one of the motorists; “Zimbabwe, we hear you and it will definitely make an impact”.

As we approached Victoria Park, the halfway point: the majority of the participants were tiring but with the able leadership and support of our leader, Ephraim Tapa, none gave up. Instead, all participants persevered, albeit at a slower pace, until arrival at the Strand street; where the Zimbabwe House is situated. At once, everybody felt re-energised as the walk broke into toyi-toyi. The chatting and singing became louder and the ululation rose to crescendo levels as walkers celebrated a job well done. This was a lap of victory by the participants in getting to Zimbabwe House, in defiance of all the odds staked against us. As we were being welcomed and congratulated by those at the Vigil some could not hide their tears of joy! The intrinsic value derived from walking to the final point in the fight for freedom would be invaluable, going forward.

Participant after participant, spoke of their determination to keep going as they felt emboldened to take the struggle for human rights to another level. At the end walkers agreed that next year’s effort needs to be bigger, well planned and executed to the greatest possible impact.

Recent declarations by Deputy Minister (Defence) Victor Matemadanda of Zanu PF that “We will release soldiers who are trained to kill if you demonstrate”, must be taken seriously and met with a more than equal measure of resolve, determination and self-sacrifice for the cause of human rights and people freedoms.

UK based human rights activists remain committed to bringing an end to the long suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. Truly, Zimbabwe deserves better.

All participants reached the finishing point (Zimbabwe House) with no incidents of casualties reported.

Thanks to the ROHR President, Ephraim Tapa for the vision, leadership and the support from start to finish and all those who participated!

Photos of the walk can be seen on this link:

Esther Munyira
Peace walk organiser

Walking for Human Rights under a Military Dictatorship in Zimbabwe PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 20 July 2019 16:13

Walking for Human Rights under a Military Dictatorship in Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe is currently under a military dictatorship where the military can freely use live ammunition against defenceless citizens to keep the restless nation under control. This follows the disputed 2018 election after which Emmerson Mnangagwa, former president Robert Mugabe’s enforcer, is now President. Suffice it to say when Mugabe’s 37-year reign ended in a military coup towards the end of 2017, many celebrated on the streets of Zimbabwe and abroad, hoping for a new beginning. Their hopes now lie in ruins as Zimbabwe is made to painfully watch civil liberties rolled back and democratic space shrunk. Under the dark clouds of fear, innocent civilians being shot dead from behind, tortured, raped, harassed and/or disappeared by the military government. Any civil action is brutally and swiftly put down by Zimbabwe’s national army. The people of Zimbabwe need your help in their struggle for their human rights, justice and greater freedoms.


The Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) International strongly condemns the military government’s high-handed and intolerant approach to the exercise of civil liberties and political expression in Zimbabwe. This should never be about coercion, dictatorship, manipulation or blatant abuse of citizens. Rather, it should be about the people’s issues and aspirations - within an environment of fair play, transparency, and accountability as underpinned by the rule of law, justice and peace.


To this end, ROHR International seeks to raise funds in support of human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe. There is need to bring about a new political mindset in the country that promotes tolerance and equality, shuns corruption and embraces a human rights culture. There is need to defend civil rights and dismantle the fear that threatens to choke the values of our freedoms and make a mockery of  hard fought independence. ROHR believes that your donation will go a long way in building the peace, leadership training, awareness workshops and re-establishing the voice of the voiceless as enshrined in the country’s constitution. Bringing about a culture of human rights, democracy and an end to the military rule is the most pressing challenge of today.


UK based human rights activists will therefore embark on a 15 miles walk for over 4 hours to the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on 27 July 2019 in effort to raise awareness and the necessary funds to support the human rights causes.


We therefore kindly appeal for your generous donations to help bring an end to the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe. We believe Zimbabwe deserves better!


Ephraim Tapa

Biti challenges Ramaphosa – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th June 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 June 2019 13:49

MDC Deputy National Chair Tendai Biti says President Ramaphosa has a key role to play in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe. And he warned: ‘If Zimbabwe implodes South Africa will suffer’.

Biti was speaking at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London at the launch of a book, Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa's Advantage, to which he contributed. He said Ramaphosa was in the same position as President Mbeki a decade ago when he helped put in place the Government of National Unity in which Biti served as Finance Minister. Ramaphosa must get talks going between President Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa – and London, Washington and Brussels must help ensure a ‘soft landing’.

Biti, sitting next to another contributor to the book, former president Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, said a very cynical landscape was developing in Southern Africa about elections in the light of what he called the prevailing power-retention agenda. The situation had been worsened by the military coup which brought Mnangagwa to power. There had been an expectation of genuine change but the opportunity for a transitional government had been missed and most people now believed that the situation was even worse than under Mugabe.

He described as ‘disastrous’ a recent IMF report on Zimbabwe which – as he put it – ‘painted lipstick on a crocodile’. In reality, conditions were now so bad that it was a daily struggle to survive. He spoke of state capture and said it was essential that cartels exploiting the situation were broken up. Biti added a warning to both Ramaphosa and Mnangagwa: the military coup that toppled Mugabe was now ‘copybook’ for the whole region.

The UK government has assured the Vigil that it will only support the readmission of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth if it complies with the values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. ‘We have been clear that the disproportionate use of force by security forces, as seen in January 2019, is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Charter’ it said in a letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (see:

The letter was in response to a Vigil petition which also demanded that the Zimbabwe government acknowledges the Gukurahundi genocide. The Foreign Office letter says ‘We welcomed President Mnangagwa’s signing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill in 2018. However, this needs to be enacted and form part of a more comprehensive plan of credible national dialogue and healing for Zimbabwe. The UK stands ready in friendship to support a Zimbabwe that fully embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform. We have been clear that international support will be based on genuine political and economic reforms.’   

The Vigil petition reads: Zimbabwe must reform: Zimbabwe wants to rejoin the Commonwealth. Although Mugabe has gone, his fascist Zanu PF party with the backing of the military remains firmly in power. Zimbabweans in exile urge the UK not to support readmission to the Commonwealth until the regime reforms and acknowledges the genocide of some 20,000 Ndebeles by the Zanu PF regime in the 1980s.

Other points

  • Vigil activists were startled at the sight of hundreds of nude cyclists riding along the Strand. They were part of an annual global protest against oil dependency and car culture and to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table today and put up the banners: Marvellous Chinguwa, Pamela Chirimuta, Beaulah Gore, Patrick Hale, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Tatenda Mandiki, Dambudzo Marimira, Patricia Masamba, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Margaret Munenge, Richard Munyama, Mary Muteyerwa, Evangelista Ndlovu, Casper Nyamakura, Hazvinei Saili, Sinkiwe Sigola, Ephraim Tapa and Bridget Zhakata. Thanks to Josephine for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei and Marvellous for handing out flyers, to Mary and Margaret for drumming and to Casper, Jonathan and Patricia for photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 24 signed the register.


  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 22nd June. Community outreach from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Broad Street, Reading. Awareness campaign on deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm: Venue: The RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806, Josh 07877246251.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 29th June from 6 pm till late. Venue: Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Simbarashe Jingo 07787870888, Pamela Chirimuta 07762737339, Sikhumbuzule Sibanda 07912210225, and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776.
  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 6th July from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR sponsored walk. Saturday 27th July. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776. More information as plans progress.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:
Letter to the Vigil from Foreign Office - May 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 18:31

Dear Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators,  

Thank you for your letter to the Prime Minister of 27 April enclosing your petition about Zimbabwe’s readmission to the Commonwealth. I am replying as a member of the Southern Africa Team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

It is not for the UK to decide if Zimbabwe is to rejoin the Commonwealth. The final decision is for all Commonwealth members. The UK would only support re-admission provided Zimbabwe meets the admission requirements, complying with the values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. We have been clear that the disproportionate use of force by security forces, as seen in January 2019, is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Charter.

The UK Government condemns the brutal suppression in Matabeleland in the early 1980s and supports the process of truth and reconciliation envisaged under the 2013 Constitution. This would allow the historical record to be established and victims of political and ethnic violence and their relatives to feel some justice has been served. We welcomed President Mnangagwa’s signing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill in 2018. However, this needs to be enacted and form part of a more comprehensive plan of credible national dialogue and healing for Zimbabwe.

The UK stands ready in friendship to support a Zimbabwe that fully embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform. We have been clear that international support will be based on genuine political and economic reforms.   
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