Latest sensation: President virtually pregnant – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th October 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 October 2020 14:40

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50528167481/sizes/m/

 

As the year draws on thoughts are turning to the wonder of Christmas. We know President Mnangagwa is capable of anything. But the news from the Zimbabwe Mail suggested a miracle. Alas, as so often, the paper’s story is nothing but hot air. Referring to the President’s state of the nation address, it declared Mnangagwa was ‘pregnant with the message of how Zimbabwe has achieved economic stability’.

 

Parliament was virtually there for the President’s virtual delivery of the good news that virtually everything is getting better and better. The Mail with its worshipful report on the sacred words of the anointed leader, said they were ‘warmly received by parliamentarians from across the political divide for clearly setting the path to achieve an upper middle-income economy by the year 2030’.

 

The grovelling Mail scribe continued ‘the President was spot on in terms of the successful implementation of the economic reform agenda which has brought about development and economic stability’. The paper concluded ‘the opposition concurred that national development will be in vain if we sow seeds of hatred and division’.

 

‘We are very supportive of the President’s directive to show oneness in the manner we conduct ourselves for the purpose of building our country,’ said Elias Mudzuri of the government-supported version of the MDC. For his part, the Acting Secretary General of the faction, Douglas Mwonzora, said ‘we acknowledge the gains that have been made so far but let’s now build on them to ensure that our citizens can also benefit’. What could Mwonzora have meant by saying ‘citizens can also benefit’? What a revolutionary idea! (See: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/parliament-parliament/zimbabwean-legislators-across-the-political-divide-welcome-sona/.)

 

One benefit announced  this week has been met with scorn by civil servants, who were told the government would pay the equivalent of US $500 towards their funeral expenses. Civil servants said they wanted a salary of that much a month rather than waiting until they were in a coffin. As it is, most civil servants earn less than US $50 a month. Many teachers, doctors and nurses are on strike for more pay (see: https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/zimbabwe-slammed-over-plans-to-pay-500-toward-civil-servants-funerals-7025106a-4d60-5c45-9923-8b89719b7970).

 

In his state of the nation address, Mnangagwa repeated his demand for an end of sanctions. But US Ambassador Brian Nichols said that the government must first implement reforms before America would lift targeted sanctions imposed on some Zanu PF members over corruption and human rights violations. He continued: ‘The SADC anti-sanctions campaign, orchestrated by the government of Zimbabwe, is really an effort to distract the people of Zimbabwe from the real causes of Zimbabwe’s profound problems’. (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2020/10/zimbabwe-govt-should-implement-reforms-not-stage-anti-sanctions-galas-u-s-ambassador-nichols/.)

 

Other Points:

  • A report by The NewsHawks says research shows that the late President Mugabe was one of the country’s top land barons with 24 farms, in violation of his regime’s one-man-one-farm policy. It said: ‘Beneath the rhetorical veneer of a noble cause of to correct historical land ownership imbalances, there was a greedy accumulation agenda for Zanu PF elites and their cronies who amassed land but mainly failed to utilise it, spawning food insecurity and shortages’. (See: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/headlines/mugabe-family-amassed-24-prime-farms/
  • 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/72157716607005896. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Rudo Takiya and Miriam Gasho 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.

 

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
 
Kangaroo courts for a gangster regime – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th October 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 October 2020 11:41

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50498762011/sizes/m/

 

Zanu PF has never quite got the hang of the rule of law. It believes the law is what the party says it is: after all, the party is the ruler. This is not surprising. It is a widely-held view in many countries. Certainly it’s a guiding principle of nominal communist governments, even when, like China and Russia, they emerge from the communist egg as rapacious capitalists.

 

Recent developments in Zimbabwe feed into this narrative. Take for instance Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who several months ago ordered judges to submit all written judgments to him for approval before delivery in court. The order was swiftly withdrawn after outraged criticism from the legal profession.

 

But Malaba’s determination to place Zanu PF at the centre of the judicial system has not diminished. Now he has suspended High Court Judge Erica Ndewere who had the temerity to grant bail recently to MDC Alliance Vice Chair Job Sikhala for allegedly inciting public violence. Justice Ndewere is said to have refused to accept Malaba’s order not to grant bail. She said the constitution does not allow him this authority over her work (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/10/get-off-my-back-judge-tells-malaba/).

 

It has been clear for some time that the courts are increasingly being politicised. Anyone charged with opposing the government is likely to be denied bail and held in jail for extended periods, with hearings repeatedly postponed.

 

The case of student leader, 22 year-old Takudzwa Ngadziore, who has been detained for the past month, has now grabbed international attention. He was arrested protesting outside a car hire company one of whose vehicles was used in the abduction and torture of another student activist Tawanda Muchehiwa.

 

Human rights lawyer David Coltart of the MDC Alliance said the incarceration of Ngadziore was illegal and vindictive. His alleged crime ‘was to protest against a crime against humanity committed by the regime’. (See: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/16/pressure-grows-on-zimbabwe-to-free-detained-student-leader.)

 

President Mnangagwa has dismissed criticism of the government’s human rights record, speaking of ‘hostile propaganda by our detractors both inside and outside the country’. He said the government was tracking the daily movements of opponents and critics through their electronic gadgets. ‘We know at this minute you were at this place and who did you make a phone call to’, he said. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mnangagwa-admits-stalking-opponents-critics/.)

 

The government’s mouthpiece the Herald predictably offered strong support to the government. The paper quotes Vice-President Chiwenga as saying: ‘the opening of political space by President Mnangagwa since coming to power in 2017 has resulted in an unprecedented flourish of people’s liberties’. (See: https://www.herald.co.zw/liberties-flourish-under-president/.)

 

Other Points:

  • An organisation representing Namibian youths has petitioned the Zimbabwe Ambassador there over rights abuses. It called on the government to uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights. ‘The government of Zimbabwe must stop criminalisation of civic society work and persecution of opposition activists’, it said (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/namibian-youths-confront-zim-ambassador-over-state-rights-abuses/).
  • 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/72157716509005767. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Simbarashe Jingo 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.

 

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

 
Living for the moment – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th October 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 October 2020 18:37

It’s been a problem for at least 20 years. Despite all the efforts of successive presidents, some Zimbabweans are still apparently dissatisfied. They just don’t know what’s good for them.

 

One hesitates to call them greedy but as Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube pointed out this week: how can someone given US $3.68 to feed their family for a month be poor? As he put it, the cushion extended by government to vulnerable groups had made an ‘instant impact’ and thus eliminated poverty. ‘When you are given your mealie meal you are no longer extremely poor in that moment.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/10/ncube-scoffs-at-poverty-reports/.)

 

Ncube was responding to a World Bank report showing growing poverty in Zimbabwe. The UN estimates about 60% of the population will not have enough food by December. The population of Zimbabwe is about 17 million so if everyone could receive US $3.68, according to Ncube’s reckoning, the country would be released from extreme poverty ‘in that moment’. (Never mind the other moments in the month!) The bill would be some US $65 million but perhaps Mnangagwa could contribute this from his private resources acquired after 40 years of hard graft . .

 

This would show that the departing Ghanaian Ambassador, Eric Odious Anim, was not as gullible as he seemed when he declared that Zimbabwe was on the right path: ‘Zimbabwe under the leadership of President Mnangagwa is on the road to recovery. What matters is to get all the people of Zimbabwe to buy into the vision of the leadership so that you make progress.’ (See: https://www.herald.co.zw/zim-on-the-right-path-says-ghanaian-envoy/.)

 

To help people ‘buy into that vision’ Zanu PF proposes to bring in a new law called the Patriot Act under which ‘conduct such as private correspondence with foreign governments or any officer or agent thereof will be prohibited, including false statements influencing foreign governments, or any other such conduct aimed at undermining the country.’ (See: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/zimbabwe/new-law-zimbabwe-ban-criticism-of-government-why/.)

 

‘Patriots’ are already at risk of arrest if they criticise the government. Witness the treatment of 22-year-old Bulawayo student Tawanda Muchehiwa, kidnapped by state thugs, members of the notorious Ferrets, and tortured and sexually abused over three days on suspicion of helping organise an anti-government protest (see: https://news.sky.com/story/zimbabwe-student-thought-he-was-going-to-die-after-abduction-by-state-security-services-12099212).

 

The Patriot Act would certainly endanger Catholic Bishop Mupandasekwa of Chinhoyi who has called on people to pray to God (surely a ‘foreign government’) to soften the hearts of Zimbabwe’s leaders. He said the ‘so-called liberation party’ had brought independence but now was refusing the masses freedom. ‘Our children are not going to school, except the few lucky ones. Our sick are not being treated in our hospitals. And yet our leadership see their policies as right and good. What blindness is this?’ (See: https://zwnews.com/catholic-bishop-attacks-mnangagwas-tyrant-leadership/.)

 

Other Points:

  • Coincidentally, there has been a farm invasion in Chinhoyi. This time the dispossessed owner is ironically a Zanu PF MP. Some 150 settlers have moved onto his farm. They say they want to plant crops. Is that unpatriotic? (See: https://www.herald.co.zw/150-settlers-invade-chiyangwa-farm/.)
  • Chinese insurance firms are refusing to underwrite infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe because of the Zimbabwe government’s failure to co-operate. Apparently the construction of the US $68 million Kunsvi Dam has stalled because the government has not come up with a US $10 million commitment fee. The dam is seen as a solution to Harare’s water supply problem (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2020/10/top-chinese-firms-dump-projects-in-zim.html).
  • On 12th October it will be 18 years since the Vigil started. 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.
  • Thanks to those who raised sponsorship money for the ROHR and Vigil Fundraising Walk of 29th August: Jacob Mandipira £50, Joyce Mbairatsunga £48 and Molly Ngavaimbe £50.
  • 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

 
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