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Zimbabwe a source of concern – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th November 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 28 November 2021 12:59

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51709580699/sizes/m/

 

The British government says Zimbabwe remains a major source of concern because of human rights violations such as clamping down on protests against the government and the arrest of critics and journalists (see: https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/rest-of-africa/uk-raises-alarm-over-human-rights-violations-in-zimbabwe-3629650).

 

The Foreign Office statement came as the House of Lords discussed what was described as the deteriorating political and socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Members called for intervention by SADC, particularly South Africa.

 

Parliamentarians insisted that, before being able to return to the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe should meet certain conditions, including holding free and fair elections. President Mnangagwa is keen to rejoin the organisation from which Mugabe walked out.

 

A minister of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Ahmad said: ‘Within Zimbabwe, we must see rights restored, the constitution respected and human rights – w hich includes the rights of other political parties to participate fully in the democratic process – guaranteed.’ He added: ‘We regularly urge the Zimbabwean government to live up to their own Constitution by ensuring that the opposition, civil society and journalists are allowed to operate without harassment and that due legal process is respected.’

 

Ahmad also said the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had not had a ‘one-on-one’ meeting with Mnangagwa at the recent Glasgow climate change conference (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2021/11/uk-presses-govt-over-free-and-fair-polls.html and a video of the House of Lords debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ARbI5RdqwA).

 

The US has also dismissed claims that Mnangagwa had discussed the removal of sanctions at a meeting with President Biden at the conference. A US spokesperson said they had only met briefly at a reception.

 

The Zimbabwe Independent also reports that the South African government is very dismissive of Mnangagwa. A recent online discussion organised by the journalist Hopewell Chin’ono heard South African Head of Public Diplomacy Clayson Monyela say that the South African government had no kind words for their Zimbabwean counterparts. ‘Take my word for it, some of the language that is used when there are meetings behind closed doors, you would be shocked.’ (See: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2021/11/26/mnangagwa-suffers-yet-another-diplomatic-blow/.)

 

The Vigil was pleased to see that medical experts in the UK have been full of praise for their South African counterparts for the speed of their reporting of the new Covid variant, now named the Omicron variant. international flights to South Africa and Zimbabwe and other southern African countries have been halted but one leading British scientist says a new vaccine can quickly be produced to counter the variant (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1183-how-long-before-a-vaccine-protects-us-against-the-omicron-covid-variant-).

 

Other points

  • NewZimbabwe says that some Zimbabweans in the diaspora express fears for their security and that of their families for calling for the return of constitutionalism and the rule of law. They say that Zimbabwean security agents keep a list of people to be targeted. A Zimbabwean asylum lawyer working in the UK is alleged to be involved in this. On the list  are said to be a number of Vigil activists (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/rogue-diasporans-fret-over-safety-on-returning-to-home/).
  • Chinese mining firms have been accused of decimating delicate environments, along with attempts to displaced thousands of villagers from their ancestral lands. The Zimbabwe Independent reports that a petition has been launched calling for Chinese investors to be stopped from mining for chrome in Mutorashanga in Matabeleland West. Local residents fear it will damage the Green Pool scenic resort (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2021/11/26/tempers-flare-as-chinese-threaten-sacred-resort/).
  • Today was a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 4th December. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720235716615. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Joyce Mbairatsunga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Richard Munyama and Delice Gavazah who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 4th December from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
Heading for dictatorship – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th November 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 21 November 2021 13:17

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51693561138/sizes/m/

 

Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa is well on the way to becoming a full-blown dictatorship, according to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. It said in a report that the current administration is even worse than the Mugabe regime in governance, rule of law and human rights, among other things.

 

‘In as much as the "Second Republic" or "New Dispensation" came promising wide ranging reforms of the country's politics and governance mode, the evidence at hand point to more talk and less action,’ it observed.

 

In particular, Crisis Coalition noted a high level of systematic and escalating violations of human rights by the security forces, particularly targeting opposition members and civic actors such as journalists, student leaders and trade unionists (see: https://www.263chat.com/not-much-difference-between-first-and-second-republic/).

 

Crisis Coalition said that under Mnangagwa there had been a ‘heavy militarisation’ of businesses through the emergence of opaque security sector-run companies in ventures ranging from diamond and gold mining to farming, tourism and fuel industries.

 

‘At the heart of the Zimbabwe crisis lies a nationalistic military business and political class that has been growing its tentacles to all sectors of society since 2000.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/zim-morphing-towards-dictatorship/.)

 

Evidence of the government’s determination to override human rights and ensure it wins the 2023 elections came with the gazetting of the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill which will seriously curtail the activities of civic society organisations.

 

The legal think tank Veritas said the bill contravened the provisions of the declaration of rights in the constitution, was not clearly drafted and encouraged government officials to make unduly repressive interpretations and would stifle democracy and economic development (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/outcry-over-anti-ngos-bill/).

 

For its part, the MDC Alliance said the proposed law was unconstitutional, draconian and undemocratic. Party spokesperson Fadzai Mahere said: ‘The PVO Bill confirms that the regime is in panic mode and its solution to the bad governance and legitimacy crisis is to stifle democratic freedoms as we approach 2023.’ (See: https://thestandard.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/14/proposed-law-exposes-mnangagwa-panic/.)

 

Other points

  • The MDC Alliance says party leader Nelson Chamisa’s campaigning in rural areas was again disrupted by Zanu PF, this time in Nkayi, Matabeleland North. Deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba said the state ‘unleashed terror’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/nkayi-police-disrupt-chamisa-rally/).
  • The success of Mnangagwa’s recent trip to the UK can perhaps be judged by the dismissive response of the Archbishop of Canterbury to a delegation of clergymen included in Mnangagwa’s entourage. They asked the Archbishop’s help for the  removal of sanctions. He said he would ‘see how we can advocate for the poorest while ensuring that those who steal from the country what is not theirs, be themselves not the beneficiaries (and) don’t benefit from the relief of the sanctions.’ (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/sanctions-no-mercy-for-thieves-says-uk-cleric/.)
  • The Vigil was visited today by the Zimbabwean cricketer Francis Ncube who now lives in Bournemouth in Southern England.  He said how cheered he was to see us.
  • Today we met outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 4th December 2021. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. Thanks to those who came: Beverley Mutandiro, Casper Nyamakura, Charles Mararirakwenda, David Makuyana, Delice Gavazah, Jonathan Kariwo, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Margaret Munenge, Patricia Masamba, Philip Maponga, Richard Munyama and Rose Benton. Special thanks to Patricia Masambe for bringing the Vigil paraphernalia through the confusing mass of roadworks in London’s streets. Photos of today’s Vigil can be accessed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720161200459.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 4th December from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
Mnangagwa snubbed – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th November 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 14 November 2021 16:30

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51677076104/sizes/m/

 

President Mnangagwa came back from his expensive public relations trip to Glasgow as an even more insignificant figure than expected. He bumped into US President Joe Biden at the climate change conference in Scotland – probably in the lavatory – and the Zanu PF media immediately saw the encounter as a game-changing event, as Biden actually exchanged words with him.

 

He probably said something as banal as ‘How do you do?’ or ‘Your zip is undone’. Anyway, it turns out that the encounter has not prevented the US from excluding Zimbabwe from what has been described as an historic summit to discuss the challenges facing democracy. The two day virtual meeting next month is expected to include 100 leaders from around the globe including those of SADC countries except Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Eswatini.

 

No reason was given for their exclusion, but a research fellow at Witwatersrand University, Dr William Mpofu, said Zimbabwe was failing to uphold human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law which were basic requirements for democracy. ‘If you look at the diplomatic performance of Zimbabwe, all the attempts to re-engage and even join the Commonwealth, they have been Idi Amin in nature’, he said, adding that Mnangagwa should ‘do better than lying to the people’.

 

According to global human rights and democracy think tank Freedom House, Zimbabwe's status in the past two years had deteriorated from partly free to not free because of the authorities' intensifying persecution of opposition figures and civic activists (see: https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/us-president-joe-biden-excludes-zimbabwe-from-historic-democracy-summit-20211110).

 

In another development, the salaries of civil servants such as teachers and nurses have been cut by the government by as much as Zim$4,000 without announcement. Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers’ Union, described the move as cruel and said it had been done to make up for looting at the National Social Security Authority. Most civil servants have earned between Zim$24,000 and Zim$27,000 which was already below the poverty datum line for a family (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/govt-cuts-civil-servants-salaries/).

 

The government is resisting trade union demands that civil servants be paid in US dollars. The demand for US dollars is overwhelming the banking system in Zimbabwe. Newsday says: ‘A recent central bank report outlined shocking details about how a system that was rolled out to ameliorate a dire forex crisis, has been manipulated to enrich big shots behind leading corporations at the expense of millions. Eligible companies that have failed to access foreign currency have ended up scaling down or winding up operations. Big exporters with easy access to the auction forex have been bidding on behalf of third parties to circumvent the system.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/zim-banks-overwhelmed/.)

 

Other points

  • Newsday also reports that several school heads in Manicaland have been forced to attend induction training courses by Zanu PF. Obert Masaraure of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said the induction drills were illegal but were going on nationwide. ‘Our ruling party is once again wantonly violating the constitution it is expected to uphold,’ Masaraure said (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/school-heads-forced-to-attend-zanu-pf-induction/).
  • Vigil activists have long supported the work of Pastor Albert Chatindo who sadly died a month ago after many years of unstinting work for the poor in the Bulawayo area. He left a community bereft but his work is continuing, supported by the British charity Zimbabwe Victims’ Support Fund. They have just taken delivery of over 5 tonnes of special seed maize provided by Zimbabwean farmer Ben Freeth of the Mike Campbell Foundation. The maize is game-changing because future crops can be grown from the seed it produces. The seed is being delivered to over 1,000 families included a child-headed family.
  • Today was a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 20th November. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720140935326. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Philip Maponga and Joyce Mbairatsunga who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 20th November from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
Booze trip to Glasgow – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th November 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 07 November 2021 12:30

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51658610187/sizes/m/

 

Zimbabweans certainly made a mark at the world climate change conference in Glasgow. Not President ‘crocodile’ Mnangagwa, who kept his teeth below the surface: it was his supporters and opponents who made the news.

 

The Times newspaper observed: ‘While Boris Johnson struck a sombre note at the beginning of Cop26, saying the world is “one minute to midnight”, the Zimbabwean visitors to the conference were having a jollier time.’

 

The Times noted that the Zimbabwe government’s spokesman, Nick Mangwana, had posted a photograph on Twitter of two men buying trolley loads of supplies for a party to welcome Mnangagwa. They included 15 bottles of scotch as well as wine and beer etc.

 

Mangwana tweeted: ‘Tonight [Sunday] there is a massive welcome party held in honour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Glasgow is the place to be as Zimbabweans from all corners of the UK attend this shindig and welcome the president.’

 

The scene was described as ‘extremely embarrassing’ by Zimbabwean environmentalist Jessie Pineau. Pedzisai Ruhanya, former news editor of the Daily News, tweeted: ‘While millions wallow in a sea of poverty in Zimbabwe, varakashi [a slang term for the president’s supporters] enjoy whisky in Scotland. Rest assured they will be drunk and won’t know anything happening at the conference: it’s a boozing trip.’  (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1179-zimbabwes-boozy-cop26-party-doesnt-go-down-well-at-home.)

 

The Vigil used to come across Mangwana when he led Zanu PF in the UK. Sadly there have always been some Zanu PF supporters who deceitfully gained asylum in the UK on the grounds of Zanu PF misgovernance. But the majority of Zimbabweans here know the realities of life in Zanu PF Zimbabwe and they were in Glasgow to protest at Mnangagwa’s presence. Zanu PF might have guzzled the whisky but many Zimbabweans gathered outside the venue cold and sober to protest against Mnangagwa’s disregard for human rights and failure to deal with rampant corruption.

 

While Zambia’s new president Hakainde Hichilema arrived humbly on a commercial flight with a small delegation Mnangagwa hired a private plane from faraway Azerbaijan at a reported cost of US$415,000 for a one way trip from Harare to Glasgow. It appears that he feared that if he came on an Air Zimbabwe Boeing it might be impounded over debts (see: https://inews.co.uk/news/world/cop26-zimbabwe-president-uk-arrival-private-jet-supporters-celebrate-alcohol-1279965).

 

The trip would have been worth the money had it produced a good result but it appears that – contrary to the exalted reports in the Herald – there was no significant outcome.

 

Mnangagwa briefly met his host Boris Johnson as well as the UK’s heir apparent to the throne Prince Charles and his son William. Others included the UN Security Council Director-General Antonio Guterres and the European Council President Charles Mitchel.

 

His biggest fish was US President President Joe Biden. Mnangagwa excitedly said that Biden’s attitude to Zimbabwe was totally different from that of the US Embassy in Harare. The Vigil suspects Biden was merely being courteous. US policy on Zimbabwe is unlikely to change unless reforms are made by Harare (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/conduct-of-us-embassy-shocks-president/).

 

As for Mnangagwa’s big moment – his address at the summit – it fell flat as the auditorium was almost empty. To be fair we must explain that his slot was in the morning when most delegates, like Mnangagwa’s supporters, were sleeping off their hangovers (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/empty-chairs-as-ed-addresses-cop26/).

 

Other points

  • Mnangagwa was thrilled to have a meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Scotland, as he is keen on Zimbabwe rejoining the Commonwealth. Baroness Scotland said afterwards that Mnangagwa was ‘committed to our values and principals’. The Vigil doubts this and anyway Baroness Scotland is likely to be dumped soon as the Commonwealth is fed up with paying for the lavish refurbishments of her palatial residence in London (see: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3894586/Commonwealth-chief-Baroness-Scotland-s-338-622-renovation-Mayfair-apartment-included-new-bathroom-3-000-wallpaper-4-000-cupboard-taxpayer-expense.html).
  • The Vigil’s current petition expresses our view that Zimbabwe should not be welcomed back to the Commonwealth until it observes its own constitution and the rule of law: ‘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.’
  • Alex Magaisa, a lawyer who teaches at a UK university and MDC supporter, has written an insightful article on the conference. He dismisses Mnangagwa’s boasts about his triumphs with world leaders at Cop26 (see: https://bigsr.africa/bsr-behind-the-diplomatic-veil-dynamics-of-international-trips-and-conferences/).
  • We were interested to see that the lawyer accused of conning many fellow Zimbabweans out of money over asylum cases was in Glasgow to support Mnangagwa and the livelihood that he provides for dodgy lawyers in the asylum industry (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/733-zanu-pf-swaggers-in-uk--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-7th-november-2015 and https://fb.watch/91XQU637d3/).
  • Today we met outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 20th November 2021. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. Thanks to those who came: Ephraim Tapa, Kevin Wheeldon, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Jonathan Kariwo, Rose Benton, Mary Muteyerwa, Philip Maponga and Margaret Munenge. Photos of today’s Vigil can be accessed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720117037486.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 20th November from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Zimbabwe ‘burning’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd October 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 24 October 2021 16:11

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Amid violent attempts by Zanu PF to disrupt campaigning by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, there are growing demands for real freedom of expression in Zimbabwe. The American Bar Association Centre for Human Rights accused President Mnangagwa of ‘abusing the criminal justice system to persecute government critics’ and called for the repeal of repressive laws.

 

It urged the government to drop charges against the prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and generally stop prosecuting human rights defenders, in line with the constitutional provisions for freedom of expression and association. Chin’ono has received numerous threats from suspected state agents and been arrested and jailed many times. He is currently facing three separate criminal proceedings (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/stop-persecuting-journos-activists-ed-told/).

 

Human Rights Watch says an outspoken street preacher and critic of the government, Apostle Talent Chiwenga, has fled his home because of increased surveillance by people in unmarked vehicles. He said he believed the authorities wanted to kill him for his activities.

 

Chiwenga has campaigned in street sermons in Harare and on social media against human rights abuses and last year Home Affairs Minister Kasembe Kasembe accused him of being part of an ‘illegal and subversive bandwagon under the control of certain diplomatic missions’ (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/critic-of-zimbabwes-government-fears-for-his-life/).

 

The question of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe was discussed by Zimbabwean author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga, who has now been honoured by the German Book Trade with its Peace Prize. In an interview with the German media company Deutsche Welle, she said every day in Zimbabwe it is such a grind to find the basis for survival that this itself limits freedom of expression (see: https://www.dw.com/en/tsitsi-dangarembga-there-is-no-freedom-of-expression-in-zimbabwe/a-59423526).

 

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network says the electoral environment has already been rigged in favour of Zanu PF ahead of the 2023 elections. Its monitoring and observation manager, Ian Goredema, said Zimbabwe had reverted to politically motivated violence. In a reference to the troubled tour by Chamisa he said there were tell-tale signs that 2023 would see a very different election.

 

‘You can clearly see that the space for the opposition to be able to connect with their own base is already being shut using Covid-19 regulations, where you see Zanu PF is the only party allowed to hold meetings and rallies. We saw many videos of legislators meeting huge crowds at a time when people were being restricted to 50 persons at a gathering yet they were in the hundreds.’ (See: https://allafrica.com/stories/202110200439.html.)

 

The MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti called on the international community to examine the recent attacks on the party’s supporters and Chamisa, claiming that there was a plot to assassinate the party’s leaders. ‘I want to send a message to the international community in particular SADC that Zimbabwe is burning’. He said the only thing that could create a soft landing was a genuine dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF.

 

Biti said no one was safe from attacks by security forces and Zanu PF agents. ‘There are massive attacks on the people of Zimbabwe . . . As I am talking to you right now Makomborero Haruzivishe has been languishing at Chikurubi Maximum prison for months. Vendors, activists, no-one is safe but it’s not just physical violent attacks, it’s also economic attacks. As I am talking to you right now the parallel exchange rate is almost 200 to the US dollar and there is no question before the end of November 2021 it would have reached 400.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/10/mdc-alliances-tendai-biti-calls-for-sadc-mediation-in-zimbabwe/.)

 

Other points

  • We were happy to be joined at the Vigil by the Washington Times journalist and author Geoff Hill, a long-time friend of the Vigil and determined campaigner for Zimbabwe. Geoff, who has written several recommended books on Zimbabwe, endears himself to our activists by his fluent Shona.
  • Today we met outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 7th November 2021. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages.
  • Thanks to those who came early today to help set up: Anna Chikoti, Delice Gavazah, Babula Gwatiringa, Chido Makawa, Jacob Mandipira, Dambudzo Marimira, Amina Matewele, Margaret Munenge, Esther  Munyira, Casper Nyamakura and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to those who handed out flyers: Cynthia Chibanda, Babula, Chido,  Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Amina and Gladys Muduve.  Thanks to Margaret Delice and Chido for drumming, to Casper and Patricia for phots and to Chido for refreshments. Photos of today’s Vigil can be accessed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720062698193.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

For the record: 18 signed the register.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 7th November from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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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How can you help?

The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.

Polls

Do you think Mugabe will still be in power in a year?