Something stinks – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 September 2018 14:30

Riot police with batons and water cannon patrolling the streets. Disease spreading. Zimbabwe is open for business they say.

The most vibrant sector of the economy disagrees. Reports say harassed street vendors are piling up stones at night to fight off attempts to shut down their activities in city centres (see: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/09/27/zim-on-edge-as-vendors-fight-back).

With formal unemployment estimated at 90%, street trading has been the mainspring of the economy for at least the last 20 years. Born of desperation, it is for many people the only way of scraping a living.

Now they are blamed for the failure of the state and accused of spreading cholera when decades of corruption and negligence have allowed the collapse of infrastructure and the pollution of urban water sources.

The comrades of Zanu PF have sadly neglected the poor in their bold strides towards self-enrichment. Easy enough: just don’t go to the high density suburbs to be reminded of reality.

Zimbabwe’s street vendors, who include university graduates, have been an innovative resource, selling almost anything. But they may have been outpaced by Zambian vendors who have found a market for crap ours hadn’t thought of.

Fearing the import of cholera, our Zambian neighbours imposed a regime requiring Zimbabweans to demonstrate they were not carrying the disease. They were offered a lavatory where officials would check their stools for cholera. Laxatives were available. The easy way out was to buy Zambian stools instead.

‘I paid $5 to buy a teaspoon full of stool and it was tested and I passed through’, said one cross-border trader (see: https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-09-28-poo-sold-at-zim-border-to-avoid-cholera-testing/),

Latest news however is that the bottom has fallen out of the stool market. The Zambian authorities have apparently turned their nose up at it, saying the whole business stinks. Zimbabweans will be unable to afford it soon anyway  because President Mnangagwa says he’s going to introduce a programme of austerity to help revive the economy. Zimbabweans are well prepared for it.

Other points

  • Mnangagwa was not asked to take a stool test when he went to New York for the UN General Assembly. Perhaps he should have taken a lie detector test instead. The MDC has accused him of spewing lies to whoever would listen (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/09/shameless-ed-in-un-trip-of-lies/).
  • The Vigil would add another of his lies: his demand for an end to ‘illegal’ sanctions. He neglects to mention that Mugabe wasted a fortune in legal costs in a failed attempt to get EU sanctions declared illegal.
  • Ethiopia is sending a team to Harare to learn from ZEC how to run elections. While they are in Zimbabwe they would be better advised to consult the former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who advised Mugabe how to rig elections. He was given asylum in Zimbabwe which has refused Ethiopian requests to extradite him for trial.   
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Miriam Gasho, Jonathan Kariwo, Patricia Masamba, Raymond Mashamba and Minienhle Sibanda. Thanks also to Patricia, Minienhle and Jonathan for looking after the front table and to Miriam for handing out flyers.
  • 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:

  • 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
  • Zimbabwe Vigil’s 16th anniversary. Saturday 13th October from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. Please join us to mark the Vigil’s anniversary.
  • Relaunch of Reading MDC branch. Saturday13th October from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: Risk, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. For more information call: Deborah Harry 07578894896, Model Pamire 07737485777.
  • 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.
  • 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:
 
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:
 
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