Magic an unreliable partner – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th January 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 January 2020 11:29

Dozens of African leaders are attending the UK-Africa Investment Summit hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London this week. It is bringing together businesses, governments and international institutions to ‘showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa’.

The British government hopes the Summit ‘will mobilise new and substantial investment to create jobs and boost mutual prosperity’ – just what Zimbabwe needs.

The leaders of Africa’s economic power houses such as South Africa’s Ramaphosa, Nigeria’s Buhari and Kenya’s Kenyatta will be there, along with Egypt’s Sisi – but President Mnangagwa has not been invited.

His spokesman George Charamba snorted: ‘Methinks the UK uses false diplomacy to steady nerves arising from Brexit’. He continued in full rhetorical mode: ‘The UK is no longer an investing global power; it long ceased to be thus’.

Apparently playing one of Shakespeare’s fools, he further declaimed that the Commonwealth was ‘not a veritable economic grouping but just an emotional get-together’, completely forgetting the last scene in this play in which Zimbabwe declared that it wanted nothing more than to rejoin this apparently moribund old boys’ club.

The UK may perhaps be only the fifth or sixth biggest economy in the world but it aims to be the biggest G7 investor in Africa by 2022. Abracadabra Charamba should come clean on why Zimbabwe was not invited. The Vigil suggests it was because Zanu PF has not met its promises on reform, on dialogue, on tackling corruption . . .(see: https://www.zimlive.com/2020/01/14/zimbabwe-plays-down-snub-at-uk-africa-summit-claims-uk-economically-diminished/).

The Chinese can confirm this: Foreign Minister Wang Yi made it clear on his recent visit to Harare that China would finance infrastructural projects but would not give the government any budgetary support. The message was, according to the Zimbabwe Independent, that ‘Harare needed to roll out a comprehensive economic reform agenda and tackle rampant corruption’. (See: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2020/01/17/no-bailout-china-tells-zim-govt/.)

This message was underlined by the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen, who said corruption and mismanagement of the agricultural sector were mainly responsible for food shortages. ‘Large areas are lying fallow’, he observed (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/01/corruption-fuels-zim-hunger/).

For its part, the African Development Bank complains that Zimbabwe is ‘very behind’ in clearing its $700 million arrears to the bank. The local manager in Zimbabwe said tactfully ‘maybe this is something that the government needs to improve on (see: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/world/africa/2020-01-12-zimbabwe-far-behind-in-repaying-debt-says-african-development-bank/) 

What a good idea. But perhaps he hasn’t noticed that the government doesn’t believe in paying its bills. It has other ways of conducting business – as Vice President General Dr Chiwenga’s divorce case has revealed, unveiling a world of juju, witchcraft and spells (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/01/chiwenga-divorce-opens-can-of-worms/).

Watch out China. We gather you are given to this sort of thing yourselves . . .

Other points

  • Despite the state of the economy the elite in Zimbabwe seem to be living in another world. A relative of Chiwenga’s wife, Genius Kadungure (also known as Ginimbi) is suing the revenue authority which seized his brand new Bentley Continental GT which he is accused of importing without paying duty.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Marvellous Chinguwa, Rosemary Maponga, Washington Mugari, Tapiwa Muskwe, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon. Thanks to Rosemary and Marvellous for looking after the front table, to Kevin for handing out flyers, to Mary Muteyerwa for drumming, to Kevin and Esther for photos and to Rosemary who brought hot drinks and cakes.
  • Thanks to further generous activists who have contributed to ROHR’s Mtoko Irrigation Project: Rangarirai Chivaviro and Esther Munyira.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                       

FOR THE RECORD: 17 signed the register 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 25th January from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Esther Munyira 07492058107.
  • ROHR Valentine’s fundraising dinner dance. Saturday 15th February from 7 pm till late. Venue: to be advised.
  • 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
 
Guns before food – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 11th January 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 January 2020 06:42

With millions of Zimbabweans facing starvation, hospitals and schools collapsing in the rubble of the economy and civil servants rejecting a 98% pay rise as inadequate, President Mnangagwa is reported to be going ahead with a plan to buy fighter aircraft from Russia in exchange for minerals.

It is not clear what threat the planes are supposed to protect us from. Perhaps it is the Zimbabwe Council of Churches which has warned the government of ‘all out chaos’ if things continue as they are. ‘Instability will grow and the state will need to use heavy repression to quell dissent due to the painful economic experiences’ it predicted. It said dialogue in the country was the only viable option (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/churches-warn-of-civil-unrest-if-govt-does-not-address-economic-challenges/). 

More likely the arms purchase from Russia reflects the government’s increasing reliance on anti-Western autocratic regimes. This was seen in the recent vote at the United Nations on a resolution seeking to protect Rohingya Muslims from army atrocities in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya had to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh after their villages were burnt down by soldiers, accompanied by rapes and arbitrary arrests, tortures and deaths in detention. Perhaps Zanu PF identified themselves with Myanmar’s military government given President Mnangagwa’s role at the centre of the Gukurahundi genocide. Zimbabwe was one of only nine countries to vote against the resolution, which was passed with an overwhelming majority. 

‘Shameful’, said MDC Secretary for Education Fadzayi Mahere. ‘Ours is a government that has no moral or legal difficulty with soldiers killing civilians’. Exiled former minister Jonathan Moyo said: ‘The lie of a new dispensation in Zimbabwe is exposed. Zimbabwe did not vote at the UN with its SADC neighbours, not with its African Union comrades and not with the Commonwealth it is so desperate to rejoin.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/politicians-rights-defenders-express-shock-over-zims-support-of-rohingya-muslims-suppression/).

Mnangagwas is now on three weeks’ leave – perhaps it’s so he can spend time on his farm calming down his wife Auxillia, who has fallen out with the Herald’s former acting editor Tichaona Zindoga, who accused her of being publicity-hungry, demanding to be followed everywhere by a dedicated media team from the Herald and the ZBC to report on her do-goodings.

Zindoga, who was fired by the Herald last October, said: ‘It makes one uplifted when you can no longer be associated with such garbage (see: https://www.zimlive.com/2020/01/08/publicity-hungry-auxillia-mnangagwa-branded-herald-editor-snake-in-the-carpet/).

Other points

  • The Italian football authority La Liga says it is ’extremely disappointed’ that more than 1,000 footballs it donated for the development of grassroots football in Zimbabwe appear to have been misappropriate by ZIFA’s former chief Philip Chiyanga (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/01/la-liga-angry-over-missing-donated-balls/).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Patience Chimba, Yvonne Jacobs, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Charles Mararirakwenda, Patricia Masamba, Lucia Mudzimu, Washington Mugari, Margaret Munenge, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon. Thanks to Josephine, Margaret and Patricia for looking after the front table, to Yvonne, Kevin, Bigboy Sibanda, Simon Nyanhi and Beverley Mutandiro for handing out flyers, to Jonathan, Delice Gavazah, Mary Muteyerwa and Chido Makawa for drumming, to Lucia for leading the singing, to Jonathan for photos and to Rosemary Maponga who, on her birthday, brought hot drinks and cakes.
  • Thanks to those generous activists who have contributed to ROHR’s Mtoko Irrigation Project: Patience Chimba, Pamela Chirimuta, Simbarashe Jingo, Dambudzo Marimira, Margaret Munenge, Molly Ngavaimbe, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                              

FOR THE RECORD: 32 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 25th January from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Esther Munyira 07492058107.
  • ROHR Valentine’s fundraising dinner dance. Saturday 15th February from 7 pm till late. Venue: to be advised.
  • 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
 
Fringe parties bought off – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 4th January 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 January 2020 06:43

With people desperate and starving, the government has agreed to opposition demands smoothing the way to meeting its promise that Zimbabwe will be ‘a middle-income country’ by the end of this decade.

The sticking point was, as ever, money. The fringe parties taking part in the theatrically-named Political Actors’ Dialogue (Polad) may only have gained 2% of the vote in the 2018 elections but it was an important 2% because it meant that Mnangagwa could pretend to the outside world that he was engaged in a real dialogue with the opposition when all he was doing was fishing. Then the combined forces of 2% of the opposition came out with their demands for expenses to attend these vitally unimportant discussions when they were shown around Mnangagwa’s farm and how generously he feeds his fish.

Mnangagwa has magnanimously recognized their legitimate demands: cars, housing, wives, immunity from prosecution – all the accoutrements of signing up with Zanu PF. After all, it would help meet his promise about producing a ‘middle-income country’ – even if it is only for Zanu PF bigwigs and their acolytes.

Chamisa, who has refused to take part in the charade, has welcomed the intervention by former South African President Thabo Mbeki to try and resolve the dispute between him and Mnangagwa. But has he missed the boat? Mbeki we mean. He said he would be back in Zimbabwe by the end of the year . . . Perhaps he has been told that Mnangagwa would be too busy feeding his fish to meet him – or perhaps he realizes the boat is the Titanic.                            

Other points

  • The EU has withdrawn its offer of 16 million euros in aid for the development of infrastructure to protect wildlife in the Save Valley Conservancy over the government’s reluctance to end land invasions and protect property rights. Some properties in the Conservancy are owned by investors from EU countries. The government has turned a blind eye to bilateral agreements protecting these properties.
  • The British Times newspaper reports that ‘Africa’s richest woman’, the daughter of Angola’s former president dos Santos, has had her assets frozen by the new president. She is said to have corruptly amassed a fortune of more than $2 billion.
  • Another article in the Times says Mugabe’s friend President Obiang, ‘the world’s longest serving president’, is now also in a pickle. His family has run through Equatorial Guinea’s oil  wealth and now wants a $283 million loan from the International Monetary Fund after a fall in oil prices. The Times says ‘the value of the IMF package equates to what Teodorin Obiang, the Vice-President, one of the President’s 42 children, spent between 2000 and 2011’.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Rosemary Maponga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Dambudzo Marimira, Benjamin Molife, Esther Munyira, Molly Ngavaimbe, Hazvinei Saili, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin.Wheeldon. Thanks to Rosemary and Hazvinei for looking after the front table, to Kevin, Molly, Rosemary and Deborah Harry for handing out flyers, to Delice for drumming and to Hazvinei for photos. Thanks also to those who brought refreshments: to Rosemary for bringing a thermos flask of hot water with milk for tea and coffee and to Molly for cakes.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                            

FOR THE RECORD: 14 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 11th January from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Esther Munyira 07492058109.
  • ROHR Valentine’s fundraising dinner dance. Saturday 15th February from 7 pm till late. Venue: to be advised.
  • 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:
 
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