The turning point? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th August 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 August 2020 10:22

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50231979057/sizes/z/

 

When Nelson Mandela made his last official visit to London the Vigil threatened to campaign against his refusal to speak out against Mugabe. We were gratified when he then spoke of problems of governance in Zimbabwe and were able to join in the warm welcome for the hugely popular South African liberation hero.

 

But ties between his ANC and Mugabe’s Zanu PF remained strong and only now, with his favoured successor Cyril Ramaphosa at last coming to power, are there real signs of a fracture between the two liberation movements, spurred by the influential Economic Freedom fighter leader Julius Malema, a supporter of Mugabe, who has turned against President Mnangagwa.

 

Ramaphosa on Monday sent special envoys to Harare. They had a meeting with Mnangagwa but returned home on Tuesday, cancelling a planned meeting with the MDC, leading to speculation that there had been no progress.

 

Darren Bergman, the opposition Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister of International Development and Co-operation, said the Zimbabwean government had denied the envoys an opportunity to meet relevant stakeholders and get a balanced picture of the situation. Mnangagwa had told the envoys that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe and hence no need to meet the opposition or civil society.

 

Bergman said: ‘Mr Mnangagwa’s government has unleashed a reign of terror on defenceless citizens, arresting journalists and activists on trumped up charges. For him to claim that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe and ask the envoys sent by the AU Chair Ramaphosa to turn around and go back without meeting the opposition is a poor attempt at covering up the actions of his murderous regime.’

 

He said Ramaphosa will have to choose whether to stand with the people of Zimbabwe against the tyranny of Zanu PF or continue with the policy of ‘quiet diplomacy’. (See: https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/zimbabwean-tea-summit-a-total-failure-ramaphosa-himself-must-go-press-release-2020-08-11?mod=mw_more_headlines&tesla=y).

 

Meanwhile the Chair of the ANC’s International Relations Committee, Lindiwe Zulu, said it was time to be frank about the unrest in Zimbabwe. ‘in the ANC’s view, yes there is a political crisis in Zimbabwe’, she said. (See: https://www.enca.com/news/zulu-there-political-crisis-zimbabwe.)

 

The AU has also expressed concern at what it described as the disproportionate use of force by the security forces, urging restraint in the government’s response to peaceful process and calling on Zanu PF to uphold the rule of law. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/au-speaks-on-zimbabwe-crisis-orders-mnangagwa-to-respect-rule-of-law/.)

 

Former Botswana President Ian Khama criticised SADC and the AU for failing to deal with the Zimbabwe crisis and said they should prioritise the plight of the Zimbabwe people. He said: ‘People fought for freedom not to replace one oppressor by another’. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/ian-khama-slams-toothless-sadc-au-over-zim-crisis/).

 

Other Points:

  • Annual inflation in Zimbabwe has now reached nearly 840% and the banks have been unable to pay out the US dollar allowances promised to civil servants.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. 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. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715505104521). Our virtual Vigil activist today was Deborah Harry who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Events and Notices:

  • ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August. A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station IG4 5DQ at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
  • 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

 
#ZimbabweanLivesMatter – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th August 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 August 2020 13:53

You would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at President Mnangagwa assuring the people that everything is on course for Zimbabwe to be a middle-income country within 10 years.

 

In his latest state of the nation address he blamed people’s suffering on ‘illegal’ sanctions, the weather, the Covid-19 pandemic and western attempts to undermine his government.

 

He was particularly annoyed with what he called ‘destructive terrorist opposition groupings’ whom he accused of working with foreign detractors who, he said, fear the ‘inevitable imminent success of our reforms’.

 

Nevertheless, these ‘dark forces’ would be overcome and progress would continue and corruption ended. ‘Now is the time to look forward, as one people – a united people. Let us press on with vigour and hope; hand-in-hand, in unity and love nothing is impossible. Forward ever, backward never.’ (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1091-president-mnangagwas-address-to-the-nation-.)

 

In the light of the President’s criticism of the West it was somewhat surprising that they featured at the top of a list of donors to help Zimbabwe deal with the pandemic. Finance Minister Ncube said more than $200 million had been received - $45 million from the UK alone.

 

One of the ‘dark forces’ mentioned by Mnangagwa was no doubt the anti-government grassroots campaign #ZimbabweanLivesMatter. Novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, out on bail after being arrested for taking part in a street protest on 31st July, said: ‘I was in the holding cells with two men who had been tortured. One has severe kidney damage . . . I am just grateful the world has taken the [#ZimbabweanLivesMatter] message seriously. Things seem to be coming to such a head now that it is impossible to look away.’

 

The hashtag campaign appears to have unnerved the regime. The journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu told the BBC in a phone interview from the hiding place in which he took refuge after being told the police were looking for him, that his nephew was subsequently abducted and dumped on the roadside with extensive bruising, huge sub-cutaneous tissue damage and acute kidney injuries.

 

Mathuthu said: ‘Instead of listening to the legitimate concerns raised by so many Zimbabweans, President Mnangagwa has . . . discarded the last veneer of a reformist,’ He added: ‘His shock troops have their marching orders and we should brace for a brutal campaign against those demanding change.’ (See: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-53665900.)

 

Other Points:

  • Zanu PF is particularly vicious to defectors. The journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who supported Mnangagwa when he took over from Mugabe but later wrote articles exposing government corruption, has now been removed from remand to Chikarubi maximum security prison awaiting trial for inciting violence.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. 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.

 

Events and Notices:

  • ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August. A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station IG4 5DQ at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
  • 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:
 
‘After hope has departed . . .’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st August 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 August 2020 18:36

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50176829523/sizes/z/

 

With police and soldiers patrolling the streets and the government warning that any demonstrations would be regarded as insurrection, the protests against corruption and poverty planned for 31st July passed comparatively quietly.

 

Perhaps this says more about the situation than anything else – except for the arrest of the novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga who, along with another protester, was bundled into a police lorry for carrying anti-government placards.

 

Dangarembga said the day before that the demonstrations were necessary because of the situation the country was in: ‘Every sector is disintegrating. Health, education, the economy. I am concerned for my safety. It would be naïve not to be because we have a very repressive regime.’

 

Her latest novel ‘This Mournable Body’ has been nominated for the highly-rated Booker Prize, whose organisers said: It ‘channels the hope and potential of one young girl and a fledgling nation to lead us on a journey to where lives go after hope has departed’. (See: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-53587651?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cdnpj5jvgzgt/booker-prize&link_location=live-reporting-story).

 

The prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was arrested earlier, said in a letter from prison that he refused to be part of the ‘stay positive’ brigade. ‘That nonsense of being asked to stay positive when there is nothing to be positive about is what made this country the absolute Shit Hole it is today!’ he wrote.

 

‘We have no clean running water, no electric power, no jobs, no money, no political will to Reform from Emmerson Mnangagwa, no fuel, we have CORRUPTION galore, no health care, nepotism and mismanagement of State institutions continues, looting of State and national resources also continues unabated, fraud by the political elites remains standard.

 

‘I have chosen to be on the right side of history . . . to be with the people . . . when I could have been with the tormentors making millions like what the Regime Associates do daily . . . I know the price for speaking against a gangster State, but more importantly, I also know the huge price for keeping quiet.’ (See: https://zwnews.com/hopewell-chinonos-letter-from-prison-full-text/).

 

Other Points:

  • Zanu PF’s spokesman Patrick Chinamasa called the United States Ambassador a ‘thug’ and accused him of funding the opposition protests with the aim of overthrowing the government (see: https://apnews.com/adf94a220f153e1ba8b1163d20a1b5fa).
  • With medical staff on strike because of bad pay and poor working conditions, seven babies were stillborn in a single night at the main hospital in Harare. Only one of the eight mothers in the ward left with her baby alive.
  • The leading MDC MP Tendai Biti has dismissed as a fraud the government’s offer of US $3.5 billion to compensate white farmers thrown off their land. He asked where the money would come from and said it was probable the West would be asked to finance it.
  • The MDC in the UK held a well-attended protest outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on 31st July in sympathy with the protests in Zimbabwe. Vigil activists attended. For photos check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715321482308.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. 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 (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715321715876). Our virtual Vigil activists today were Chido Makawa, Simbarashe Jingo and Cynthia Chibanda who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Events and Notices:

  • ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August . A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
  • 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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