Freedom or oppression – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th March 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:30

 

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Two former British Prime Ministers, Gordon Brown and John Major, have called for an international tribunal to investigate what the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as the vicious and barbaric attack by Russian President Putin on neighbouring Ukraine. Johnson said it was a turning point for the world: a choice between freedom and oppression.

 

Well, it’s not a turning point in Africa according to a survey by the US news agency Associated Press, which notes that 25 of the 54 African nations abstained or didn’t record a vote on the recent UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion.

 

The brave resistance of the people of Ukraine in the face of overwhelming Russian military force bombing civilian targets doesn’t seem to have registered much with many African governments. Instead they – like Zimbabwe – remember Russian support during the anti-colonial struggle. The AP news agency recalls that only three years ago 43 African nations attended a summit meeting with Russia – ‘the dominant exporter of weapons to sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute’.

 

While another former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is on the road driving a lorry for a charity taking aid to Ukraine, the son of Ugandan President Museveni, Lt-General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, declared that most Africans ‘support Russia’s stand in Ukraine and Putin is absolutely right’.

 

South African President Ramaphosa was ambivalent – not knowing what side to take – saying he believes Russia feels ’a national existential threat’ from NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation comprising most Western European countries, the United States and Canada.

 

In Zimbabwe Zanu PF seems to feel under siege as its Russian patron Putin is exposed as a fratricidal maniac prepared to spark off a world war. Even Zanu PF’s patron in chief China appears to have qualms about the Russian invasion (see: https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-united-nations-general-assembly-business-moscow-united-nations-f8ae1493bb680218695cf13abbc75554).

 

Like Putin, President Mnangagwa has been accused of perpetuating a culture of violence. NewZimbabwe said this came out during interviews with NGO leaders at the premier of a documentary ‘Untold Truths in Zimbabwe: Stories of Injustice Through the Eyes of Survivors’.

 

Musa Kika, director of the Human Rights NGO Forum, said that in the runup to next Saturday’s by-elections many acts of violence had been committed but not a single person had been convicted (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/government-not-willing-to-end-violence-ngos/).

 

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has been accused of manipulating the by-elections in favour of Zanu PF. The charges came from the thinktank Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, together with the election watchdogs, Election Resource Centre and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/electoral-process-manipulated/),

 

Other points

·       The acting Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Regina Chinamasa, says corruption is threatening to sink the economy (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/corruption-will-collapse-economy-zimra-boss/#comment-1291345). The suspended chairman of the PetroTrade board, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, says massive looting of the state-owned entity had prejudiced it of nearly US$120 million (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/us120m-looted-from-parastatal/).

·       The Vigil is happy to say that we will be resuming our usual meetings outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 2nd April from 2 – 5 pm after the long absence caused by the Covid pandemic. We welcome you back.

·       Our virtual Vigil activist today was Richard Munyama who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297472999 for today’s photos.

·       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:

·        10th Anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation. Wednesday 30th March 2022 from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Scheduled speakers include: Nelson Chamisa, Fadzayi Mahere, Baroness Kate Hoey and Ben Freeth. Tickets £15. For tickets, check: https://event.bookitbee.com/38180/mike-campbell-foundation and for information flyer, check: https://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/_files/ugd/02876c_f762aa1e6ae64863913b91e9ed33d4db.pdf.

·       Resumption of Vigil meetings outside the Embassy. Saturday 2nd April from 2 – 5 pm. We will continue meeting on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

·       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.

·       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 

 
Government versus the people – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th March 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:24

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Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has appealed to the Southern African Development Community to intervene in what it describes as the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe. It said ‘Zimbabwe has over the course of the last two years, seen a concerted effort by the government of Zimbabwe to severely limit and close out civic and democratic space.’

 

Crisis said the security situation was worsening as the country headed towards the 26th March by-elections and the 2023 general elections. It spoke of attacks by machete-wielding gangs on opposition party supporters and the leniency of the police toward the attackers as well as the use of hate speech.

 

The Coalition, which represents 350 civic groups, said economic conditions had also worsened because of state-sanctioned corruption. ‘Crony capitalism has taken root, and we have witnessed a few politically connected and exposed persons clinch the majority of state tenders.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/csos-call-for-sadc-intervention-in-zimbabwe/.)

 

For its part, the Zimbabwe Peace Project accused the Zanu PF government of doling out food aid and agricultural inputs at its campaign rallies while denying food aid to villagers aligned to the opposition. Joy Mabenge of ActionAid Zimbabwe pleaded with the police to carry out their constitutional duties and bring to book all perpetrators of political violence (see:

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/rights-groups-fret-over-political-violence/).

 

The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network said some people were now scared to wear yellow clothes because it was identified with Nelson Chamisa’s new Citizens’ Coalition for Change party which has been attracting large numbers to its rallies. Supporters in their party regalia have complained of coming under attack or being refused access to public goods and services (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/zim-political-violence-poses-risk-to-region/).

 

In the UK Parliament a government minister Lord Courtown urged President Mnangagwa to ensure that all political parties were allowed to operate without harassment, He was responding to reports that a CCC supporter, Mboneni Ncube, had been killed by alleged Zanu PF thugs at a rally in Kweke.

 

The question was raised in the House of Lords by the Co-Chair off the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, Lord Oates, who said: ‘Is the Minister aware that, at a ZANU-PF rally on 26 February, Vice President Chiwenga said to the opposition CCC, ‘you see how we crush lice… You put it in a flat stone then flatten it to the extent that even flies will not make a meal out of it. That is what we are going to do to CCC. The following day, a CCC rally was attacked with iron bars, machetes and spears. One opposition supporter was killed and many more were hospitalised.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/uk-parly-demands-justice-for-slain-chamisa-supporter/.)

 

The Vigil is fully behind Lord Oates who we were happy to meet at one of our protests outside the Embassy in London.

 

Other points

  • Nelson Chamisa is scheduled to address a meeting in London on 30th March to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation which aims to restore the rule of law, justice, human rights and property rights for all in Zimbabwe. See ‘Events and Notices’ for further details.
  • Many Zimbabweans turned up for a party to mark the 60th birthday of Ephraim Tapa, leader of the Vigil and ROHR. For photos, check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297318275.
  • Church leaders in Zimbabwe have urged the government to ensure free, fair and peaceful by- elections on 26th March. They say at the general elections next year they will have observers at every polling station (see: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/africa/news/2022-02/zimbabwe-s-church-leaders-issue-statement-on-the-elections-we-w.html).
  • Zimbabwean economist Godfrey Kanyenze says government mismanagement not sanctions is to be blamed for the state of the economy. His book ‘Leaving so many behind - the Link between Politics and the Economy of Zimbabwe’ has just been published. He says that by the time sanctions were imposed Zimbabwe was already in a serious economic crisis which began in the late 1990s. The book argues that the unprecedented economic rebound during the GNU period, even in the midst of continued existence of sanctions and restrictive measures contradicts the sanctions blame game (see: https://allafrica.com/stories/202203100330.html).
  • Our virtual Vigil activist today was Gladys Muduve who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297303666 for today’s photos.

 

Events and Notices:

  • 10th Anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation. Wednesday 30th March 2022 from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Scheduled speakers include: Nelson Chamisa, Fadzayi Mahere, Baroness Kate Hoey and Ben Freeth. Tickets £15. For tickets, check: https://event.bookitbee.com/38180/mike-campbell-foundation and for information flyer, check: https://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/_files/ugd/02876c_f762aa1e6ae64863913b91e9ed33d4db.pdf
  • 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.
  • 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

 
Zimbabwe condones massacre – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th March 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:15

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Sadly it came as no surprise that the Zanu PF government has refused to criticise Russia for its unprovoked and brutal invasion of neighbouring Ukraine – a close relative and historic friend.

 

In a vote at the United Nations most of the world condemned the suppression of Ukrainian independence (141 out of 193 UN members). Zimbabwe was among those who abstained while the Russian army was demolishing Ukraine simply because it wanted democracy. It was as if the Zimbabwean military was attacking Zambia because it had elected a progressive president.

 

Admittedly, South Africa and a number of other African countries beholden to Russian and Chinese patronage and careless of democracy took the same self-serving line (see: https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/un-vote-on-russia-complicates-things-zimbabwe-20220303).

 

Of course China itself refused to condemn Russia. After all, the Russians had agreed to its request not to steal the headlines while the winter Olympics were being held in China! Together with Russia China is a great partner of Zanu PF, sharing its totalitarian instincts. Worried by domestic criticism of its savage and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, Russian President Putin has threatened a prison sentence of up to 15 years for anyone who criticises him (The Times, Friday 4th March 2022).

 

President Mnangagwa is doing little less than this in his Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill which seeks to regulate the operations of non-government organisations (NGOs). Civil society organisations say this is an attack on democracy. Apart from anything else, it is estimated that it will cost about 18,000 jobs in the NGO sector and jeopardise NGO contributions to the country of about US $800 million a year (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zimbabweans-to-pay-dearly-for-draconian-pvo-bill/).

 

The Bill has been criticised by the UN which said it would gravely affect civic space. And last month the European Union, renewing sanctions against Zimbabwe, said it was one of the oppressive pieces of legislation which showed that Zimbabwe was not improving its democratic principles (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/ngo-bill-to-cut-18-000-jobs/).

 

Government Information Secretary Mangwana said the Bill was aimed at curtailing money laundering. But Musa Kika of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said: ‘Mangwana’s statement betrays insincerity. These are statements that pretend to be ignorant of the government’s real intention, which is to bring civil society organisations under undue and excessive governmental control.’

 

Obert Masaraure. spokesperson for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said there was no need to introduce new money-laundering laws when there were already sufficient laws to deal with it.

 

Commentator Rashweat Mukundu said: ‘The PVO Bill has nothing to do with money-laundering and has nothing to do with interference in politics by civil societies or NGOs. Money-laundering laws can be developed without restricting the functions of voluntary organisations.’

 

Residents Associations Coalition for Electoral Reforms spokesperson Marvelous Khumalo said: ‘We have seen senior government officials and businesspeople who are connected to the ruling party laundering huge sums of money and surely this is not contained in the PVO Bill.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/pvo-bill-has-nothing-to-do-with-money-laundering/.)

 

Other points

  • The Daily Maverick says the launch of Nelson Mandela’s Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) has seen an escalation of state-sponsored violence. It says Zanu PF is back to its old tricks because it is scared of democracy. Daily Maverick says: ‘On 18th February police were filmed beating up screaming CCC members whom they had arrested in Harare CBD allegedly for holding a car rally. In another video, police and a man in civilian clothing who was holding a sjambok were filmed forcing CCC supporters to crawl on all fours. The CCC’s spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, confirmed that police had arrested 13 CCC members and were holding them at the Harare Central police station. A day later, the 13 were taken to court handcuffed to each other. The way the police paraded them in front of the media in their handcuffs was clearly a message to everyone that if you dare support the CCC you will be arrested and tortured. Before they had a chance to apply for bail, the magistrate who was assigned their case, Yeukai Nzuda, said she was tired and would not be able to hear the matter. It was a long weekend, which meant the 13 would be in jail until Tuesday.’ (See: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-02-28-zimbabwes-new-political-party-citizens-coalition-for-change-sparks-fear-and-violence-from-zanu-pf/.)
  • Our virtual Vigil activist today was Joyce Mbairatsunga who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297140385 for today’s photos.

 

Events and Notices:

  • 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.
  • 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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