Nowadays Zimbabwe gets little news coverage abroad – understandable, given that most stories from Zimbabwe are about poverty, unemployment and fractious politics. This is hardly hot news.
Every now and again a Zimbabwe story strikes a rich chord abroad, the shooting of Cecil the lion being a good example. However, the death of Cecil didn’t really say much about Zimbabwe as he was well past his prime anyway.
Now a Zimbabwe website News24Zim has come up with a story that says something important about Zimbabwe (and neighbouring countries). It has been given splash treatment in the mass circulation Daily Mail here in the UK.
The story taps into one of the few thriving industries in Zimbabwe – the prosperity prophet phenomenon. The prophet involved this time is Malawi-born Shepherd Bushiri who claims to have a private jet so private that nobody can see it and to be able to walk on air (presumably when he is not using his private jet).
The Zimbabwe website’s video about the miraculous ‘walking in the air’ has gone viral after being uploaded to Youtube, to the delight of Bushiri’s devoted followers. But the Mail, along with others, points to the unexplained shadow of someone apparently helping to support the floating prophet (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3256188/Zimbabwe-prophet-s-attempt-prove-walk-air-falls-flat.html).
It’s easy to laugh at the hoax, reminiscent of the famous ‘diesel from the rocks’ incident a decade ago, but the Vigil believes it helps explain the superstitious support for false prophet Mugabe and his creed of ‘believe in me: I can perform miracles’.
Mugabe certainly has a faithful disciple in his nephew Indigenisation Minister Patrick Zhuwao. At a time when Finance Minister Chinamamsa is desperately trying to raise money abroad, Zhuwao says Zimbabwe doesn’t need foreign direct investment: Mugabe is enough. Zanu PF’s election manifesto must be implemented in full, he said. There must be no change in the indigenisation law and furthermore no job cuts.
Like Bushiri’s credulous followers, Zhuwao believes his prophet is infallible and will lead us to the promised land, whatever the evidence to the contrary.
· We were pleased that supporters turned up in force at the Vigil. Many said how shocked they were to read about the attempted disruption last week and they came to express their support.
· A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil heard that our sister organization the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe had now, with the addition of Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North, set up structures in all ten provinces (see: http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/launch-rohr-matabeleland-south-province-1st-october-2015/ and http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/launch-rohr-matabeleland-north-province-2nd-october-2015/). The meeting decided to prepare a new petition expressing alarm at the increased talk of violence in Zimbabwe. The petition will be launched on 10th October to coincide with the 13th anniversary of the Vigil.
· The Vigil has been asked by our supporter Joseph Chivayo to draw attention to worries about the immigration bill now before the UK Parliament. It is to be debated on 13th October and Joseph suggests that people who want to comment on it should contact their MP (see: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:C3fMzjDKxLQJ:cityofsanctuary.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Second-Reading-Briefing-29-Sept.docx+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk).
· Thanks to Rashiwe Bayisayi, Virginia Mutyambizi, Humphrey Dube, Benjamin Chigamba, Collin Chitekwe and Fungayi Mabhunu for arriving early to help set up. Happy birthday to drummer Tanatswa Moyo who turned three last week.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
FOR THE RECORD: 45 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Zimbabwe Vigil’s 13th Anniversary and monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 10th October from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark seven months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
· ROHR Slough branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 10th October. Outreach from 10 am – 12 pm followed by general meeting from 12.30 – 2.30 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW. For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803.
· ROHR Reading branch general meeting. Saturday 17th October 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below. Contact: Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792.
· 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.
· Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th October from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a ten minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and an optician. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
· Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 17th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 7th November at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.
· Facebook pages:
· SW Radio Africa’s website and sound archive is being hosted on www.archive.org. Go to the site and type in swradioafrica which will link you to snapshots of their site over the years and at the top of that page a link to their website where, under podcasts, you will find the audio.