In and out of the news – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th April 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 April 2019 20:53

Cyclone Idai drew world attention to our region at the sharp end of climate change with generous international aid pouring in to help the victims. Zimbabwe was again in the news.

There were many heart-warming and heartbreaking stories to be told. But the outside world should pay attention as well to other stories from Zimbabwe which offer an insight into a more complex problem than the consequences of the cyclone.

It appears to us at the Vigil that there has been a marked improvement in the quality of Zimbabwean journalism in the past decade. Of course, the state still controls the national television and radio services but many new online outlets have sprung up offering an alternative view.

Widespread access to the internet and social media through cell phones have eroded the government’s control of information, enabling people even in remote rural areas to get a different picture to that offered by government propaganda.

They will read breath-taking stories of corruption at, for instance, the Zimbabwe national roads administration (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/04/parly-turns-heat-on-zinara-board-management/) and the civil aviation authority (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/03/caaz-boss-chawota-suspended/).

In another publication they will find the Minister of Mines allegedly implicated in shady dealings at the state-owned Hwange Colliery (https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/hwange-rotten-to-the-core-audit/).

It’s no surprise that the government is getting uneasy at news like this getting out. Police raided the offices of the news website 263 Chat after one of its journalists filmed them removing street vendors in Harare. Amnesty International described it as ‘a blatant assault on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom and demanded that the authorities end its attack on the media.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Marvellous Chinguwa, Piyo Choga, Thomas Mahasoh, Alice Majola, Patricia Masamba, Collen Mupazviriho, Chipo Musodza and Maramura Nyirenda. Thanks to Alice, Chipo, Philip Maponga and Pamela Chirimuta for looking after the front table, to Marvellous, Thomas, Maramura, Pamela, Getrude Mudede, Chido Makawa and Tawanda Chitate for handing out flyers and to Patricia and Heather Makawa for 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: 22 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th April from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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 for £10. 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:
 
Bums to the wind – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th March 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 31 March 2019 13:25

The Zimbabwean economist Tony Hawkins has urged President Mnangagwa to hold talks with the MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on the way forward for the country 

Hawkins said: ‘Ultimately the solution to Zimbabwe’s problems is political.  You can fiddle around with the economy as much as you like but you are not going to get a lasting solution without some form of political and social consensus.’

Mnangagwa has so far rejected bilateral discussion with Chamisa, insisting that the MDC should join in the joint talks he is having with other opposition parties. But Professor Hawkins, speaking at a meeting of the Institute of Directors, said there was no point in the MDC being grouped with people who got less than 0.5% of the vote last year whereas the MDC, he said, took something like 44%.

Hawkins said an agreement between Zanu PF and MDC had become inevitable because of the deteriorating economic situation and predicted an economic collapse if Mnangagwa government failed to build national consensus.

‘We have a very serious issue. We have an extremely fractured and polarised society. We have a rural electorate which supports government and we have younger and urban voters demanding change. How this plays out no one can tell. All we can say is I think the social and political climate will probably worsen as unemployment rises and it will, as poverty increases and it will.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/economic-analysis/solution-to-zimbabwes-problems-is-political/.)

Everyone at the Vigil, even if their families at home are not in danger, has been anxiously following news of the cyclone disaster, which has been given wide coverage here. We have been inspired by those who have rushed to help the victims and the generosity of so many others. 

Some Zimbabweans who are now living in Mozambique have kept in touch with the Vigil over the years and we have been worried about their horse sanctuary in Vilanculos near Beira. They report: ‘Thankfully for us and the horses we were totally unaffected but Pat had survived the cyclone in 2007 and during the 250 knot winds he had to untether the horses and let them go. Interestingly enough they made their own plan they moved to higher ground and formed a V formation with their bums and withstood the wind.’ Their website is http://www.mozambiquehorsesafari.com/.

Other points

FOR THE RECORD: 25 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th April from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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.
  • MDC London Branch meeting. Saturday 6th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Netsai Makarichi 07592619201 and Flemming Diza 07960838847.
  • 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 for £10. 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:
 
Sofa not so good – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd March 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 March 2019 20:03

The cyclone that devastated eastern Zimbabwe was predictable. What was also predictable was the failure of the government to prepare for it. Everyone knew it was coming but nothing was done about it and it was not until it arrived that President Mnangagwa cut short yet another foreign trip for a brief visit home.

To make matters worse, the disaster victims in Chimanimani – one of the worst hit areas – desperate for aid, had to make do at first with Mnangagwa’s sofa. It gave them little comfort to see presidential guards unloading furniture from a helicopter instead of emergency supplies.

Of course, it is only right that the President – no doubt exhausted by his tireless travels – should have the comfort of his sofa when he consoled the bereaved and assured them that everything possible was being done for them. The question is, by whom? Aid distribution is said to have been put on hold until the President arrived and could hand it out – prompting fears that it is being politicized as usual.

The entire budget allocation for this year for the Civil Protection Unit amounted to a meagre $3 million. it could have got more had it not been for government profligacy in hiring expensive planes to take Mnangagwa on his manic travels – 28 trips abroad in the 15 months since he came to power. After announcing two days of mourning, he immediately departed for Angola to mark the anniversary of the Southern African Liberation Day – which most regional heads of state didn’t bother to attend.

Whatever the failures of the government, there can be no doubting the open-hearted response of the people of Zimbabwe to the disaster. People abroad have also responded generously. The British Ambassador Ms Melanie Robinson told the President that the UK had already committed $23 million to assist victims of cyclone Idai. ‘Here in Zimbabwe we have prepositioned equipment in Mutare so we have been able to respond very quickly and that is health equipment, medical supplies and some hygiene equipment and making sure that it gets to the people who really need it.’ Pity the Zimbabwean government didn’t do the same.

Other points.

  • Central London was packed with people attending a rally in Parliament Square demanding a new referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union.
  • The Vigil mourns the loss of our good friend Arnold Magwanyata. He was a faithful supporter of the Vigil and ROHR. We made a collection for his family.  A gofundme page has been opened for those who wish to donate to Arnold’s repatriation, check: https://www.gofundme.com/help-repatriate-arnold-magwanyata-to-zimbabwe&rcid=r01-155346313999-af1335f3a2034edb&pc=wa_co_campmgmt_m.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Patrick Hale, Jonathan Kariwo, Thomas Mahasoh, Patricia Masamba, Bianca Mpawaenda, Agnes Mukumba, Margaret Munenge, Richard Munyama, Tapiwa Muskwe and Casper Nyamakura. Thanks to Patricia, Margaret, Agnes and Lucia Mungwari for looking after the front table, to Bianca, Agnes, Bigboy Sibanda, Tinotenda Chihope and Netsayi Makarichi for handing out flyers and to Jonathan, Casper and Heather Makawa for 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: 23 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th April from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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.
  • MDC London Branch meeting. Saturday 6th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Netsai Makarichi 07592619201 and Flemming Diza 07960838847.
  • 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 for £10. 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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