Open letter to Finance Minister Ncube – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 23 September 2018 16:46

You may remember the ever-popular Hollywood film Groundhog Day. (It seems to shown every day!) The film tells the story of a man who had to repeatedly relive the previous day until he finally learnt to live it properly. We fear you face the same predicament.

You must have learnt a lot in the few short weeks you have been in office – for instance that it is not as easy as you thought to ditch the odious bond money. And that the Herald’s daily reports of mega-billions of dollars about to pour into the country are Groundhog news.

In fact, as you must be aware by now, things are getting worse by the day. The economy continues to deteriorate, prices rise inexorably and the difficulty of getting foreign exchange is ever more acute.

Reports of your visit to New York with President Mnangagwa say you favour a ‘big bang’ fiscal shock to spur a programme of economic reform, but fear being constrained by politics. Your fear is justified. The International Monetary Fund seems (every day!) to have offered to help Zimbabwe but Zanu PF (every day!) spits out the medicine it prescribes.

Next month sees the 16th anniversary of the weekly Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. During this time we have recorded in our diaries what has been going on in Zimbabwe. The diaries have been published in our book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’. Since you have not been in Zimbabwe for much of this time we are sending you a copy of this book so you can see what happened in your absence.

You will read, week by week, of the madness of Zanu PF in plunging the country into violence and destitution. Our view is that until the Zanu PF philosophy of smash and grab is expunged Zimbabweans in general will be unable to realise the riches endowed on our country.

If you glance through the book you will read of one disastrous mistake after another, from the chaotic land reforms to Murambatsvina, from the 2008 cholera epidemic and the collapse of the health system to the 2010 indigenisation law and Mugabe’s bland statement in March 2016 that $15 billion had been looted from the diamond mines.

The lesson is that nothing changes under Zanu PF. Welcome to Groundhog Day.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Linda Dodzo, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Michelle Makoni, Raymond Mashamba, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Pearl Shambare, Soneni Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Pearl, Soneni and Margaret for looking after the front table, to Michelle, Chido, Abigail and Heather for handing out flyers, to Heather for photos and to Ephraim, Esther and Raymond 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.

FOR THE RECORD: 16 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th October from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 20th October from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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.
  • Mike Campbell Foundation – Zimbabwe: rising from the ruins? Tuesday 9th October from 7 – 9 pm (doors open at 6 .30 pm). Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Speakers include: Kate Hoey MP (Chair), Ben Freeth MBE, Fergal Keane OBE, Archbishop Sentamu, Chief Felix Ndiweni and Gift Konjana. To book, visit: https://event.bookitbee.com/18402/my-first-event-1347?preview=y
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years 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 for £10. All proceeds will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Skiing uphill – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 September 2018 15:18

https://twitter.com/Team_Chamisa/status/988070171158941697

Some commentators have been scornful of new finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s twitter resort to crowdfunding to help deal with the cholera epidemic. They are surely wrong to be so dismissive so early.

Ncube is a man of some pedigree and is apparently not even a member of Zanu PF. He has left his home in Switzerland to try to ski uphill in Zimbabwe. Quite a task.

As a comparative outsider, he faces an enormous challenge dealing with the vested interests embedded after 38 years of piratical government. Where do you start, given a bankrupt, corrupt, dilapidated economy?

As people have pointed out, you don’t start by dishing out luxury cars to legislators or hiring a private plane to curry favour with the Mugabes. But Ncube was not responsible for this. He hasn’t even had a chance yet to explore the minibar in his office.

Ncube has a doctorate in mathematical finance. This is important as it suggests he can add up – an ability not seen in a Zimbabwean finance minister since the days of Tendai Biti.

The Vigil believes we should reserve judgment on Ncube until we see whether he can persuade the government to make the unpalatable reforms essential if the economy is to be turned around. 

Reports that China has rejected Zimbabwe’s request for a $2 billion bailout, apparently because it doesn’t believe the money will be repaid, underline the need for reforms. But, as they have repeatedly shown, the Zanu PF elite care only about their own pockets.

So perhaps a crowdfunding begging bowl is the only option left to Zimbabwe.

Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Jonathan Kariwo, Marian Machekanyanga, Patricia Masamba, Nyarai Masvosva and Peter Sidindi. Thanks also to Patricia, Marian and Nyarai for looking after the front table.

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: 13 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th October from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 20th October from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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.
  • Mike Campbell Foundation – Zimbabwe: rising from the ruins? Tuesday 9th October from 7 – 9 pm (doors open at 6 .30 pm). Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Speakers include: Kate Hoey MP (Chair), Ben Freeth MBE, Fergal Keane OBE, Archbishop Sentamu, Chief Felix Ndiweni and Gift Konjana. To book, visit: https://event.bookitbee.com/18402/my-first-event-1347?preview=y
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years 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 for £10. All proceeds will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Charity begins at home – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 September 2018 13:50

What compassionate people they are, President Mnangagwa and General Chiwenga. A millionairess in Singapore wants to return home to Zimbabwe because her mother has died. So they charter a plane to to go and pick her up. ‘It was a beautiful plane (she said) a brand new Gulfstream 650 from Qatar.’

Not many presidents would do that. Especially if she had tried to poison you and you had been forced to flee your country hotly pursued by a hit squad with orders to kill you.

And especially if the country concerned is bankrupt and the beneficiary is probably its richest woman, with multiple properties at home and abroad. And who thinks nothing of paying a million dollars for a diamond ring and buying her children Bentleys to play with and giving them so much pocket money they can wash $20,000 wristwatches in fine champagne.

Come to think of it, it’s surprising that old man Mugabe didn’t dip into his capacious pockets for at least an economy air ticket home. He can’t be broke, what with his own property empire. And his late lamented mother-in-law certainly wouldn’t have complained at spending a few more days in the mortuary.

The government’s generosity apparently even ran to paying the funeral expenses. It had its rewards: Grace gushed her thanks: Mnangagwa’s leadership was God-given, she said. Even the old man, fearing the prospect of maybe losing many of his illegal farms, said he had now decided that Mnangagwa was indeed the legitimate president.

The Mnangagwa government has been less compassionate to another Zimbabwean lady. She is not asking for charity but has arguably done more for her country – the respected journalist and friend of the Vigil Violet Gonda.

Violet took the opportunity of the new ‘freedom’ proclaimed by Mnangagwa to return to Zimbabwe to report on the elections. Having been based in the UK and the USA for many years, she took the opportunity to apply for a passport as a born Zimbabwean citizen, untainted even by being Malawian, Mozambiquan or white. She was turned down. So much for the new regime. Open for business but not for citizens. But charitable to the rich.

Other points

  • While the Vigil welcomes the exclusion of many failed and corrupt ministers of the old guard, we noted that President Mnangagwa’s new cabinet retained the generals in key positions.
  • The new government takes office as the economic collapse gathers momentum and cholera reappears. For an overview of the situation on the ground see Cathy Buckle’s latest newsletter ‘Giving away the essence of Zimbabwe’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/963-giving-away-the-essence-of-zimbabwe).
  • One of the regular readers of the diary is Valerie Pixley who grew up in Zimbabwe but has lived in Mozambique for many years. She writes: ‘Perhaps there are some Zimbabweans in the U.K. who may be interested in reading a book I wrote about our experiences here in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.  It is titled "Monkeys in my Garden and can be obtained from Amazon as an ebook or paperback.  It can also be read for free at https://www.scribd.com/book/228424005/Monkeys-in-my-Garden-Unbelievable-but-true-stories-of-my-life-in-Mozambique via Troubador Publishing.’
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Ephraim Tapa, Jonathan Kariwo and Josephine Jombe. Thanks also to Josephine, Joyce Mbairatsunga and Grace Nyaumwe for looking after the front table, to Joyce for handing out flyers and to Grace for taking photos.

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: 10 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 15th September from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 15th September. Community outreach from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Broad Street, Reading. Awareness campaign on deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm: Venue: The RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS.Contact Sihle (Vice Chair) 07985712749, Josephine (Vice Organising Secretary) 07455166668, Shylette (Vice Secretary) 07828929806.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th October from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • 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.
  • Mike Campbell Foundation – Zimbabwe: rising from the ruins? Tuesday 9th October from 7 – 9 pm (doors open at 6 .30 pm). Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Speakers include: Kate Hoey MP (Chair), Ben Freeth MBE, Fergal Keane OBE, Archbishop Sentamu, Chief Felix Ndiweni and Gift Konjana. To book, visit: https://event.bookitbee.com/18402/my-first-event-1347?preview=y
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years 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 for £10. All proceeds will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
 
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