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Is Zimbabwe really opening up? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th March 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 21 March 2021 16:51

‘Zimbabwe has turned a corner.  And whilst across the world the past year has been focused on closing – from lockdowns to closed borders – Zimbabwe continues to focus on opening up its economy, democracy and media space.’ So claims self-satisfied Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.

 

According to Ncube’s article in New Europe: ‘For many in Europe, Zimbabwe is a faraway land, tarnished by years of mismanagement and a distinct absence of freedom.  But the last few years tell a truly different story.  A story of reform. A story of renewal.’ (See: https://www.neweurope.eu/article/zimbabwe-is-opening-up/.)

 

Many people in Zimbabwe would dispute Ncube’s rosy assertions including that the 2018 elections were ‘the freest, fairest and most credible and peaceful elections in Zimbabwe’s history’. Among them would be former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Vice President of MDC Alliance, who has been booted out of Parliament for campaigning for reform. Biti chaired Parliament’s public accounts committee, which, he said, was about to release damning reports of corruption in several state entities (see: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-03-18-zimbabwe-mdc-alliances-biti-says-he-has-been-kicked-out-of-parliament-to-avoid-exposing-massive-corruption/).

 

The party’s spokesman, Fadzayi Mahere said: ‘This rogue regime is employing all tactics including repressive 'patriotism' laws, dismembering parliament and arbitrary arrests to crush dissent.’ About half the party’s MPs have now been recalled and Mahere demanded that the government allow by-elections without delay. (See: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2021-03-18-zimbabwe-parliament-expels-six-lawmakers-as-opposition-infighting-escalates/.)

 

Mahere said: ‘MPs have been selected by the people and the continued disregard for this social contract constitutes the greatest betrayal of the people. It undermines the democratic process and further weakens an already frail electoral system. Zimbabweans must not be shaken. We know worse is coming.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/03/mdc-alliance-bullish-despite-parly-setback/.)

 

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is also critical. It says the judiciary has been ‘captured’ by the state: ‘We are disturbed by the fact that judicial capture has contributed significantly to the shrinking of the democratic space in Zimbabwe with the State using the courts to punish dissenting voices.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/03/crisis-coalition-disturbed-by-the-continued-weaponization-of-the-judiciary-to-persecute-activists/.)

 

Other Points:

  • The Crisis Coalition has expressed its dismay over SADC’s inaction at the Mozambiquan Islamist terrorist crisis. It appeals to the inert bloc to assist countries threatened by extremism (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/03/crisis-coalition-appalled-by-sadc-inaction-over-mozambican-crisis/).
  • This weekend sees the anniversary of the Vigil’s lockdown. Supporters have missed seeing each other outside the Embassy every Saturday. The campaign for a free Zimbabwe continues in the virtual Vigil and we hope to be able to meet in person soon.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. 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:

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 

 
Paranoid and malignant – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th March 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 14 March 2021 18:25

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51033078757/sizes/m/

 

A rant in the Herald on Friday against President Ramaphosa shows Zanu PF’s paranoia about South Africa and the party’s smug malignance. The article can only cast a shadow over already-strained bilateral relations.

 

The article virtually calls for the overthrow of Ramaphosa and asserts that the only future for South Africa is to follow in Zanu PF’s footsteps and appropriate white-controlled land without compensation etc.

 

With dazzling irrationality, the author concludes that, whatever happens, South Africa is doomed . ‘Zimbabwe (he says) is the only country in the region with the diversity of resources, endowment of skills, stability and hunger for investment to safeguard Western investment in the region.’ (See: https://www.herald.co.zw/why-west-is-changing-narrative-on-zim-sa/.)

 

For our part, the Vigil believes the Herald would be better off concentrating on its famous scoops like Thursday’s ‘Zim celebrates World Kidney Day’. Kid you not (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/zim-celebrates-world-kidney-day/).

 

A less rosy future for the country was painted by the President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Peter Mutasa, who said Zimbabwe is now a failed state. ‘It is expected that government will say there is no crisis, the abusers will see peace because they are benefitting but their victims will be saying they cannot breathe.’

 

He continued: ‘One thing that is central to this debacle is that they are not just defending political power, they are on steroids in terms of primitive accumulation, they are defending economic gains, their diamonds, gold claims, land; they are defending their ill-gotten wealth.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zanu-pf-ministers-only-interested-in-fattening-their-pockets-zctu/.)

 

Mutasa was speaking at a meeting organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition attended by the MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, as well as church and student leaders. Chamisa said that people should come together and force Mnangagwa to the negotiating table to collectively resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.

 

‘It is no longer time for us to be divided in our little silos. It is time for collective action and we are not going to be coming to these platforms as politicians, but as citizens . . . We remain optimistic and I also hope that finally Mr Mnangagwa will begin to see light and begin to understand that he has to feel for Zimbabweans. It is not a normal country when you wake up and see nothing is working, including workers who can’t even work. Nothing is working and nothing is functioning.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/03/chamisa-allies-push-for-dialogue/.)

 

Chamisa has refused to take part in the Political Actors’ Dialogue (POLAD), created by Mnangagwa, dismissing it as a charade. There has been an angry response from the Zanu PF national spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo, who accused Chamisa of trying to cause instability (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/03/zanu-pf-lobbies-for-chamisa-arrest/).

 

Meanwhile, it is reported that leaders of the fringe parties comprising POLAD are making extravagant demands such as diplomatic passports and farms for taking part in the initiative (see: https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2021/03/14/mnangagwas-polad-allies-greed-exposed/).

Other Points:

  • The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, has sacked the country’s military chiefs including the commanders of the army and the air force. No reason has been given but the military has failed to stop the insurgency in the mineral-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado. Islamist militants have been responsible for dozens of terror attacks, including the beheading of civilians, and more than half a million people are said to have been forced from their homes in the past year alone (see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-africa-47639452).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157718632659793. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Benjamin Molife who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Notices:

  • 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. 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:

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 
Zanu PF in fantasyland – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th March 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 07 March 2021 15:51

The fantasy world of Zanu PF is summed up by the luxurious mansion in Harare built by the Chinese for Vice President Chiwenga.

 

Embroiled in another ugly divorce case, General Chiwenga roped in the army to evict his latest wife, Marry, from their marital home in the capital’s luxurious Borrowdale Brooke area.

 

He said the house was of ‘sentimental value’ to him – but apparently not enough to want to move back in there, resorting instead to the nearby Golden Villa Peacock Hotel owned jointly by the Defence Ministry and a ‘Chinese investor’.

 

But his lavish new ‘white house,’ as its been dubbed, is now apparently ready for its ‘president’. Truckloads of goods and groceries have been delivered. Poor unMarry has gone to live with her parents (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/zimbabwe/vp-chiwenga-builds-new-luxurious-mansion/).

 

The hubris of Zanu PF can also be seen in the ravings of the party’s Director for Information and Publicity, Tafadzwa Mugwadi, who says Zimbabwe could soon become a one-party state which will regard any opposition as rebellion and retaliate (see: https://news.pindula.co.zw/2021/03/05/we-will-soon-make-zimbabwe-a-one-party-state-and-view-people-like-chamisa-as-rebel-leaders-zanu-pf-official/).

 

Every time Mugwadi opens his mouth he causes trouble. The sort of trouble that has now seen the national chair of the MDC Alliance Thabitha Khumalo attacked in her Bulawayo home by two men who broke in during the night. Khumalo was beaten with a knobkerrie and stabbed in the hand. She said she believed the attack was politically motivated (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mdc-alliance-top-politician-thabitha-khumalo-attacked/).

 

An article in Newsday by Paidamoyo Muzulu goes to the heart of the Zanu PF problem. ‘This is the age of making our own reality’, he says (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/03/mathema-masks-education-mediocrity/).

 

Muzulu points to the new standards created by Zanu PF for unemployment: not bound by international norms but pretending that Zimbabwe is among the top countries for employment.

 

‘Our unemployment level is below 10%, according to the national statistical agency. The irony of the low unemployment rate is that the government is busy saying it wants to create jobs, secure investment, build new industries. The question is: Who are the jobs being created for? It becomes clear that Zimbabwe has masked its unemployment figures in order to hide the rot, a comatose economy amid the plunder by political elites and their hangers-on.’

 

He continues: ‘The government says everyone who is economically active is employed. This includes vendors, those tending their fields and everyone else who in the preceding three months had some casual employment — they are all employed. This thinking is further projected in the hare-brained idea that Zimbabwe would be an upper-middle class economy by 2030. It is an administration hell bent on ticking the boxes — having quantitative growth at the expense of the living standards of its people.’

 

Other Points:

 

Notices:

  • 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. 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:

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 
Damning indictment of Mnangagwa – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th February 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 28 February 2021 13:51

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50986305762/sizes/m/

 

One of Zimbabwe’s most venerated musicians, Thomas Mapfumo, has appealed to the international community to act immediately to stop what he called an ‘ever-rising crisis’ in Zimbabwe.

 

Mapfumo, an icon of the liberation struggle, now based in the United States, said Zimbabweans had been ‘sold a dummy’ when Mnangagwa took over after the military coup ousted Mugabe.

 

Mapfumo said Mnangagwa had promised to end corruption within one hundred days, rebuild the economy and promote democracy. Instead his real interest was to acquire power and wealth. ‘His family members and close friends, including Cabinet members, are at the front of most of the corruption scandals that are milking the national coffers.’

 

He continued: ‘Daily, the headlines are about catch and release. This is a scheme to release all fraudsters, using government power. National assets like minerals are now being parcelled among the President, his close friends and family as they divide the wealth with China.’ But, while the US, the EU and the UK were supporting Zimbabweans with aid funds, China was doing ‘very little’.

 

Mapfumo said the police had become corrupt and the judiciary had been captured and were now issuing partisan judgements in favour of Zanu PF. ‘It has also become clear that President Mnangagwa plans to have a one party state in Zimbabwe. He has invested into a number of mechanisms to harass members of the opposition, to infiltrate them using state resources and to disempower and intimidate them.’

 

‘Free speech is now out of reach as many live in fear of being followed or abducted in the open. It is a very dangerous environment now if one tries to belong or to identify with the opposition.’

 

Mapfumo called for the international community to supervise free and fair elections. The appeal came in the form of a letter addressed to international organisations such as the United Nations, the African Union, SADC and the European Union as well as to organisations such as the ANC and the US Congressional Black Caucus (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mapfumo-calls-for-un-intervention-to-stop-zimbabwes-growing-crisis/).

 

Mapfumo’s intervention comes as the political opposition is being increasingly weakened by internal squabbles and defections to Zanu PF (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/cockpit-conflict-ravages-alliance-as-an-insider-says-we-are-now-a-twitter-party/).

 

Other Points:

  • Zimbabwean refugees in Botswana have petitioned the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to prevent their deportation back ‘to hell’. Some of the hundreds of refugees are army deserters who fled during the Zanu PF political violence in 2008. A statement said the refugees were ‘true enemies’ Zanu PF and would face persecution on their return home (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zim-army-deserters-fight-deportation-from-botswana/).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157718459806117. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Margaret Munenge who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Notices:

  • 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. 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:

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 
Different worlds – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th February 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 21 February 2021 13:41

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50965510762/sizes/m/

 

Despite the pandemic, Zimbabwe is poised for economic growth this year according to President Mnangagwa. He told the Politburo that the country was progressing from strength to strength.

 

Comrade Mnangagwa said the economy was expected to grow by 7.4%, driven by strong recovery in agriculture, mining, electricity generation, construction, transport and communications as well as finance and insurance.

 

He claimed the government had entrenched the rule of law and constitutionalism, and was attracting more supporters through its ‘consistent culture of hard honest work, transparency, accountability and stronger national institutions’. (See: https://www.herald.co.zw/zim-on-growth-path-president/.)

 

A rather different view of the situation in Zimbabwe was expressed by the European Union’s High Representative who said the country’s multi-faceted and prolonged crisis had further deepened in the past year. ‘The lack of substantial reforms has allowed the continued deterioration of the humanitarian, economic and social situation. Violations of human rights and limitations on the democratic space are also persisting.’

 

The diplomat continued: ‘The EU is especially concerned about a proliferation of arrests and prosecutions of journalists, opposition actors and individuals expressing dissenting views, and the use by high-level officials of speech that could be interpreted as incitement to violence.’

 

A statement added that the EU had decided to renew its arms embargo and maintain a targeted assets freeze against Zimbabwe Defence Industries. This did not affect the people and the EU would continue its development and humanitarian aid. The EU would closely follow developments, with particular attention to the human rights situation (see: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/02/19/zimbabwe-declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union/).

 

No doubt the wide differences between the contrasting views of the government and the EU will provide further ammunition to the satirists who are becoming increasingly popular in Zimbabwe.

 

Rashweat Mukundu, a media researcher for an NGO, said: ‘Art and comedy have taken a centre stage in political commentary in Zimbabwe. This is mostly due to the repression of the mainstream media. So, people resort to satire to express their frustrations and concerns in a way that makes it difficult for authorities to target them.’ (See: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/comedians-standing-up-to-repression-in-zimbabwe/2149424.)

 

Other Points:

  • MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has urged the international community to stop rubberstamping illegitimate election outcomes. In an article published in the influential UK paper the Guardian, he said that to recognise the outcome of unfair elections such as the one in Uganda last month serves only to entrench authoritarian regimes like the one in Zimbabwe (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/the-international-community-must-stop-legitimising-despots-regimes-in-africa/).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157718373994703 . Our virtual Vigil activists today were Deborah Harry and Shylette Chipangura who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Notices:

  • 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. 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:

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515
 
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