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:
 
The land issue won’t go away – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 September 2018 15:23

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/43422157915/sizes/m/
Photo caption: Rose and Dennis with Rose and Dennis and Mum Etines

Fears of a land grab in South Africa have spooked investors. The ailing rand took another tumble when President Trump said his administration was closely watching the proposed seizure of land from white farmers.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, on her whirlwind visit to Africa, was forced to comment on the matter after meeting President Ramaphosa in Cape Town. She conceded that the acquisition of white-owned land might be ok – provided it didn’t turn into a policy of ‘smash and grab’.

It’s a delicate line which has eluded Zanu PF since Mugabe encouraged land invasions at the turn of the century, sending the Zimbabwean economy into a sharp downward spiral from which it has been unable to escape.

President Mnangagwa insists he is no Mugabe but he will have trouble convincing the outside world of this unless he moves quickly with reforms. He could start by dealing with the unresolved issue of Mugabe’s rapacious greed. Despite Mugabe’s insistence that no one should own more than one farm, he himself is said to own fifteen. He must be stripped of fourteen of them. 

The big problem is that everyone in the government or holding senior public positions seems to be in a similar situation. If you want to speak to a Zanu PF leader you might have to go and see them on their ‘farm’, really their country retreat as little serious agriculture seems to go on – hardly surprising when the workers often go unpaid.

There have been new calls for a land audit but this exercise has already been carried out and the outcome kept secret. The extent of the problem is seen by revelations that seven of the nine constitutional court judges who heard the MDC’s election case have a tainted history of benefitting from land invasions (see: https://twitter.com/PacheduZW/status/1035474681716002816).

Other points

  • The Vigil urges the MDC to prioritise the provision of a vote for the diaspora. This week Botswana showed how it could be done, announcing that Batswana residents in the UK were being asked to register to vote in the country’s general election next year.
  • The Vigil marked the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, remembering in particular our friend Itai Dzamara who was abducted in March 2015. The new regime must disclose what it knows about the outrage.
  • Our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe arranged an outing to the seaside at Frinton on Monday. It was a lovely warm day and most of the 20 or so people who came ventured into the water after a braaivleis. Vigil co-ordinators Rose and Dennis were particularly glad to be joined by the twins named after them, now a year old.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Daizy Fabian, Josephine Jombe, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Tarisai Matambanadzo, Esther Munyira, Jennifer Senzere and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Josephine for looking after the front table and to Heather for extra 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: 20 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 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • 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 Trek – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th August 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 August 2018 17:15

To boldly go where we have gone before: that is the trajectory we appear to be on for the next five years of Zanu PF rule. Bon voyage! 

The Vigil is, of course, sorry at the failure of the MDC’s court challenge to the presidential election. We are convinced it had a good case but believe the result was sadly predictable. The Vigil has already expressed our disquiet that the MDC went into the elections without getting the reforms it had been insisting on.

Some respected voices suggest that a corner has been turned since Mugabe was overthrown and that the new regime is somehow more democratically inclined. The Vigil is skeptical. It’s still a Zanu PF government, whether or not the military is in charge.

It will now no doubt explain that the shootings in Harare were really by unknown, probably opposition elements and try to persuade the West that really all is well.

Judging by the statement by Britain’s Africa Minister Harriett Baldwin after the constitutional court hearing, London will go along with that (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-on-the-zimbabwean-elections).

Some observations by the Zimbabwean wildlife painter Larry Norton.  

In the midst of the confusion there are things I am certain of:

  • That when hundreds of thousands of people marched in November 2017 it was not in support of Mnangagwa or Chiwenga or ZANU or Chamisa or MDC. It was to rid the country of the despotic Mugabe. It was with a deep hunger for relief from tyranny, corruption and economic hell.
  • That when soldiers opened up it was an attempt to bring back the fear that lurks beneath the sunlit skin of the country. A vicious and desperate attempt at reminding us that there are consequences for daring to believe that this country can be free of the people and things we have come to despise.

There are a few things I wonder about:

  • If someone wins a national election, even with a narrow margin, how is it that there is barely a sign of celebration or cars hooting in the streets of the entire country? Personally, I saw nothing. The day after the midnight announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s Chairperson Chigumba, of a Mnangagwa victory, a dark depression seemed to pervade the land.
  • How does the opposition get blamed for what happened with the unrest in Harare and no one is publicly charged, as yet, for instructing the army to open fire with live rounds on unarmed civilians? The elephant in the room remains. Who ordered this?
  • How is it, that since the events of November and promises of uprooting of corruption in 100 days, we have had a cabinet which includes the ex-minister of mines Obert Mpofu, who was interrogated by parliament over the disappearance of $15 billion of diamonds, (a figure confirmed by Mugabe’s own admission) who is now acting minister of Home Affairs. How does a minister of mines not know where $15 billion of diamond revenue went? How has the same minister been able to acquire so many properties, reported to be in his name, in Victoria Falls and Bulawayo? This would be an incredible fiscal achievement on a ministerial salary.
  • Why was it so difficult for Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, if they were balanced, to provide full information before the election, on the voters roll and polling stations. Why was this of so little importance to observers?
  • Why does Chigumba, the ZEC Chairperson, assume that we will simply believe what she says without full evidence of the results including all V11 forms?
  • What prompted the circus, when the MDC Alliance were about to address to the world’s press at the Bronte Hotel and the occasion was shattered by the sudden appearance of Riot Police in full gear. It broke up in panicked disarray . . . only for the participants then to be reassembled and told its all fine, carry on?

Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners and the tarpaulin in the rain: Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Selina Kudita, Marian Machekanyanga, Rosemary Maponga, Margaret Munenge and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Josephine, Margaret, Deborah and Rosemary for looking after the front table, to Marian for handing out flyers and to Selina and Nyarai Masvosva for taking pictures and Beverley, Sipho and Chido for drumming and leading the singing. It was good to joined by Jean-Francois Mercier, one of the founders of the Vigil who now lives in south Africa.

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: 17 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR beach barbecue. Monday, 27th August. Venue: Frinton Beach CO13 9DN. Food and transport provided. Bring your own drinks. Tickets: £20 adults, £5 children. For more information, contact: Daizy 07708653640, Max 07397809056 and Esther 07492058107.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 1st September from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • 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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