Rule by Grace – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st April 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 April 2017 15:19

People who settled on Arnold farm in Mazowe back in 2000 thought they were protected by the rule of law when Grace Mugabe started sniffing around the land she coveted to expand her business empire.

When armed police arrived with officials from the Land Ministry and started demolishing their homes they took recourse to the High Court, where a judge granted an application to prevent their eviction. Vindicated, they went back to the farm with the court order – only for the police to brush it aside, saying they took their orders only from their superiors. In other words, the court order counted for nothing.

Residents were forced onto trucks and dumped some 40 kilometres away, without food or water, their crops and livestock abandoned and far from their children’s schools.

The dispossessed residents went on to appeal for intervention by the Southern African Development Community, meeting in Swaziland under the chairmanship of King Mswati, asking it to compel the Zimbabwean government to respect the rule of law.

The Vigil is sorry for these poor people. Sorry because they have been badly treated. Sorry because there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe when it comes to the interests of the elite. Sorry because Mswati is an acolyte of Mugabe. And even sorrier because SADC is an irredeemable joke. A joke at which no one laughs.

Other points

  • At the regular forum after the Vigil, supporters were reminded to be vigilant against elements seeking to undermine the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe. They try to mimic us for their own purposes and have set up various bogus websites and exploit social media pages, undermining our struggle against Mugabe. Supporters should look to our weekly diary for reliable information on meetings etc and rely only on information from people they trust. The bogus websites hijack pictures of the Vigil and if you appear in one you have a right to demand it is removed from the website. Apart from shadowy political reasons, the purpose of these groups is to exploit asylum seekers. Beware of being fleeced by them and the dodgy Zimbabwean lawyers that they recommend.
  • The Vigil notes that the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, has come under fierce criticism in the government press for questioning the handling of the biometric vote issue. It described her remarks as reckless and unsubstantiated. We believe that Ms Laing has every justification for expressing doubts on this key issue affecting the legitimacy of next year’s elections. If Mugabe doesn’t like it why doesn’t he kick her out and tell the British to take their ‘filthy’ aid with them?
  • Zimbabwe was raised in Parliament on Tuesday when MPs asked questions about whether the Zimbabwean elections could be free and fair. The first questions were put by our friend Kate Hoey, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe. We were able to provide her with evidence that rigging is already underway. To listen check: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08kzd0r/house-of-commons-live-foreign-and-commonwealth-office-questions (first six minutes).
  • ROHR Central London branch had a successful fundraising day by providing delicious sadza nemazondo and by raffling hampers of wine and soft drinks. Thanks to those who provided the food: Daizy Fabian Etines Kapiya, Cephas Maswoswa, Portiah Tobaiwa, Nyarai Masango and Lucia Mudzimu. Thanks also to Patience Muyeye for providing the raffle prizes and to Michael Sirewu, Delline Mutendi and Etines Kapiya for contributing to the cost. Tarisai Matambanadzo and Ben Semwayo were the lucky winners.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up:  Rashiwe Bayisayi, Patrick Chatukuta, Abigail Chidavayenzi, Benjamin Chigamba, Patricia Chinyoka, Deborah Harry, Jean Kawara, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Theodora Mandishaya, Patricia Masamba, Cephas Maswoswa, Sharon Moyo, Rudo Moyo, Michael Moyo, Eletha Mpofu, Lloyd Mudzengerere, Roseline Mukucha, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Clemence Munyukwi, Fungisai Mupandira, Simbarashe Mutero, Sally Mutseyami, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Sipho Ndlovu, Sibusiso Ngwenya, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Maxmus Savanhu, Benjamin Semwayo, Farai Tanyanyiwa and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Roseline, Patience and Esther for looking after the front table, to Chipo, Deborah and Abigail for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Mduduzi, Maxmus, Deborah, Abigail, Lloyd, Sipho and Theodora for putting up the banners and tarpaulin.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 55 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Fundraising Dinner. Saturday 8th April from 6 pm to midnight. Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Tickets: adults – £25, children under 12 – £5, Children 12-17 – £10. To book tickets contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • ROHR Nottingham meeting: Saturday 15th April from 2.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, The Sycamore Centre, 33a Hungerhill Road, Nottingham NG3 4NB.
  • 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 15th April from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 15th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 22nd April from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: 4th floor, Blue Side, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th May from 11 am. Venue:  The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Neither up nor down – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th March 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 March 2017 14:53
Photo caption: French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Richard Boidin 
 
Like the Grand Old Duke of York, Morgan Tsvangirai marched his men up to the top of the hill on Wednesday. And, as goes the English nursery rhyme, he promptly marched them down again.
 
‘Circumstances dictate the situation and today is not the day to stage street protests’, he told supporters in Harare campaigning for electoral reforms. But, the Vigil asks, if not now, when? Yes, the police had predictably placed last minute obstacles in the way of the protest. Can anyone see the day coming when they won’t?

Seen from afar, it looks like the protestors simply bottled out. But what right do those of us safely in the diaspora have to criticise activists at home? After all, according to the French Ambassador in Harare, we are just helping to spread a negative portrayal of Zimbabwe.

Ambassador Richard Boidin has been in Zimbabwe for a couple of months so he thinks he knows what’s what. He reportedly told the Herald ‘the reality of Zimbabwe is very different from what you have when you are outside’. The Ambassador was speaking after paying a courtesy call on Senate President Comrade Edna Madzongwe with members of a French parliamentary Zimbabwe friendship association.

Boidin continued: ‘For example, the two members of the association have been here since yesterday and what they have seen here they have not seen in the media outside’ (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/envoy-slams-medias-negative-portrayal-of-zim/).

Pretty smart, the French. Barely a day in Harare and the delegation has concluded that the Zimbabwean independent media and the international press are producing ‘fake news’ about the situation.

Envoys like Boidin call into question why about a dozen European Union countries have embassies in Zimbabwe and another half dozen are represented by consulates. To crown it all there is even an embassy of the European Union itself.

What can they possibly be doing, apart from enjoying the sunshine? The Vigil thinks they need to break free from the incestuous Harare diplomatic cocktail round and get out a bit more and see how Zimbabweans not belonging to the Zanu PF metropolitan elite are suffering under the repressive and corrupt Mugabe dictatorship.

It’s not the media that’s fake, Mr Boidin. It’s self-satisfied, time-serving, patronising functionaries who are ‘neither up nor down’.

Other points

  • The Vigil’s condolences were expressed for Jonathan Kariwo (ROHR Treasurer) who lost his brother this week. A collection was made for Jonathan. Thanks to Isabell Gwatidzo for collecting the money.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Zodwa Bhebhe, Vimbayi Chambara, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Etines Kapiya, Alice Majola, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Rosemary Maponga, Cephas Maswoswa, Hildah Mudzinganyama, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Margaret Munenge, Arthur Muponda, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Benjamin Semwayo, Ephraim Tapa and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Roseline, and Alice for looking after the front table, to Rosemary and Rumbidzayi for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Alfredy, Cephas, Mduduzi, Arthur and Vimbayi for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Lucia Mudzimu who brought savoury snacks for the Vigil to share. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 38 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st April from 6.30 pm. Venue: 4th Floor, Green Side, The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st April from10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 1st April 2017 from 11 am. Venue: Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
    EndFragmentROHR Fundraising Dinner. Saturday 8th April from 6 pm to midnight. Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Tickets: adults – £25, children under 12 – £5, Children 12-17 – £10. To book tickets contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • ROHR Nottingham meeting: Saturday 15th April from 2.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, The Sycamore Centre, 33a Hungerhill Road, Nottingham NG3 4NB.
  • 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 Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Fake news – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th March 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 March 2017 14:58

Donald Trump won the US presidency partly because he persuaded ordinary Americans that there was an alternative truth to that being presented to them by the mainstream media. Anything he didn’t like he dismissed as ‘fake news’. 

This is not a new phenomenon, as Zimbabweans must know well. Cathy Buckle talks about much the same thing in her latest letter from Zimbabwe. She says one of the largest drains on Zimbabwe’s foreign exchange is the cost of subscription television services from abroad because people don’t believe ZBC and are bored out of their minds by it anyway (see: http://www.cabuckle.com/index.php?id=227).

The government controlled press is also adept at fake news. Take Friday’s report in the Herald about the UN Human Rights Council’s meeting in Geneva. It begins: ‘Zimbabwe scored big here when the United Nations adopted its November 2016 Universal Periodic Report highlighting the human rights situation in the country, as member-states applauded Government efforts and commitment at ensuring enjoyment of various rights by citizens.’

Talk about alternative reality! The real picture is rather different. If you look into the composition of the Council you will find that it is packed with serial human rights abusers such as North Korea, China, Iran,  Belarus, Turkey, Venezuela and Cuba. There are many African member countries as well but they vote in shameless solidarity with brother Africans.

These countries predictably ignored a submission by human rights organisations expressing concern that human rights defenders in Zimbabwe ‘continue to face harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture for exercising their freedoms to assemble and of expression’ (see: https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2017/03/18/un-review-exposed-zimbabwes-poor-human-rights-record/). 

Also dwelling in an alternative world is former Vice President ‘Dr’ Joice Mujuru whose failings were forensically examined by Stephen Sackur of the BBC Hardtalk programme (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08hz4fw/hardtalk-joice-mujuru-vice-president-of-zimbabwe-20042014).

‘What a plump chicken I see before me’, he might well have thought as he plucked another feather from Mugabe’s long-time bag carrier.

What emerged from the interview was a woman whose husband had been murdered by her boss but who nevertheless chose to hang onto her job. The ancient Greeks would have seen this as a subject for a tragedy. For Zimbabweans it is just life. Joice showed herself to be lying and self-serving.  She bleated: ‘I could do nothing. I was not guilty. I was only Vice President. I knew nothing. I spent my 30+ years in government only doing good for people etc.’

By the end of the interview the chicken feathers were knee deep in the BBC studio. The Vigil thinks that any group allying itself with her is taking a big risk with its credibility.  And that’s not fake news. 

Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Isaac Chawasarira, Mavis Chisvo, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Rosemary Maponga, Nyarai Masvosva, Cephas Maswoswa, Tinotenda Mrewa, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Arthur Muponda, Beverley Mutandiro, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Casper Nyamakura, Maxmus Savanhu and Michael Sirewu. Thanks to Roseline, and Patience for looking after the front table, to Rosemary, Mavis, Isaac and Nancy for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Cephas, Maxmus, Isaac and Casper for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Lucia Mudzimu who brought savoury snacks for the Vigil to share.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 42 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 25th March  from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Fundraising Dinner. Saturday 8th April from 6 pm to midnight. Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Tickets: adults – £15, children under 12 – £5, Children 12-17 – £10. To book tickets contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
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