Fake news – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th March 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 March 2017 14:58

Donald Trump won the US presidency partly because he persuaded ordinary Americans that there was an alternative truth to that being presented to them by the mainstream media. Anything he didn’t like he dismissed as ‘fake news’. 

This is not a new phenomenon, as Zimbabweans must know well. Cathy Buckle talks about much the same thing in her latest letter from Zimbabwe. She says one of the largest drains on Zimbabwe’s foreign exchange is the cost of subscription television services from abroad because people don’t believe ZBC and are bored out of their minds by it anyway (see: http://www.cabuckle.com/index.php?id=227).

The government controlled press is also adept at fake news. Take Friday’s report in the Herald about the UN Human Rights Council’s meeting in Geneva. It begins: ‘Zimbabwe scored big here when the United Nations adopted its November 2016 Universal Periodic Report highlighting the human rights situation in the country, as member-states applauded Government efforts and commitment at ensuring enjoyment of various rights by citizens.’

Talk about alternative reality! The real picture is rather different. If you look into the composition of the Council you will find that it is packed with serial human rights abusers such as North Korea, China, Iran,  Belarus, Turkey, Venezuela and Cuba. There are many African member countries as well but they vote in shameless solidarity with brother Africans.

These countries predictably ignored a submission by human rights organisations expressing concern that human rights defenders in Zimbabwe ‘continue to face harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture for exercising their freedoms to assemble and of expression’ (see: https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2017/03/18/un-review-exposed-zimbabwes-poor-human-rights-record/). 

Also dwelling in an alternative world is former Vice President ‘Dr’ Joice Mujuru whose failings were forensically examined by Stephen Sackur of the BBC Hardtalk programme (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08hz4fw/hardtalk-joice-mujuru-vice-president-of-zimbabwe-20042014).

‘What a plump chicken I see before me’, he might well have thought as he plucked another feather from Mugabe’s long-time bag carrier.

What emerged from the interview was a woman whose husband had been murdered by her boss but who nevertheless chose to hang onto her job. The ancient Greeks would have seen this as a subject for a tragedy. For Zimbabweans it is just life. Joice showed herself to be lying and self-serving.  She bleated: ‘I could do nothing. I was not guilty. I was only Vice President. I knew nothing. I spent my 30+ years in government only doing good for people etc.’

By the end of the interview the chicken feathers were knee deep in the BBC studio. The Vigil thinks that any group allying itself with her is taking a big risk with its credibility.  And that’s not fake news. 

Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Isaac Chawasarira, Mavis Chisvo, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Rosemary Maponga, Nyarai Masvosva, Cephas Maswoswa, Tinotenda Mrewa, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Arthur Muponda, Beverley Mutandiro, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Casper Nyamakura, Maxmus Savanhu and Michael Sirewu. Thanks to Roseline, and Patience for looking after the front table, to Rosemary, Mavis, Isaac and Nancy for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Cephas, Maxmus, Isaac and Casper for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Lucia Mudzimu who brought savoury snacks for the Vigil to share.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 42 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 25th March  from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Fundraising Dinner. Saturday 8th April from 6 pm to midnight. Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Tickets: adults – £15, children under 12 – £5, Children 12-17 – £10. To book tickets contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) 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.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
What should the West do? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 11th March 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 March 2017 17:46

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/33343767026/sizes/m/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/33227775212/sizes/m/

With scarcely 15 months to go before Zimbabwe’s next elections, it seems that the Western world has no strategy to avert continued Zanu PF misrule. What’s new, you may ask, and why are we singling out the Western world?

Well, it’s because the other power blocks do have a strategy: it is to support Zanu PF. Our ‘all-weather’ friends China, Russia, the Middle East etc have no interest in promoting democracy in Zimbabwe. Neither does the South African government or Africa in general.

Witness Mugabe’s zombie trip to Ghana for their 60th independence anniversary celebrations. Zimbabwe had no working planes so Mugabe hired one in Bahrain to take his usual ‘$5 million a time’ retinue on a trip through which he slept most of the time. The Herald says the Ghanaians couldn’t get enough of him – despite the disparaging comments he has made about their country.

What of the UN, can’t they help? Does anyone seriously expect anything from this sclerotic talk shop? They will tut tut but tolerate Mugabe for ever as long as his violence doesn’t get out of control (and his regular harangues to the General Assembly don’t last too long). Anyway, getting the Security Council to do anything about Zimbabwe is impossible. It will always be vetoed by China or Russia.

So those hoping for change are looking to the West. But the outlook here is poor as well. Western countries must know that the next elections are going to be rigged. After all, most of them have embassies in Harare and their envoys can’t spend all their time attending each other’s national day festivities. 

The opposition, civil society – and even expelled former Zanu PF leaders – have all explained how the elections will be stolen. The way it always has been. Morgan Tsvangirai spelt it out in detail this week (see: https://www.zimeye.net/mugabe-out-tsvangirai-speaks-on-election-participation/).

Well, says the West, we will be stern and tell Mugabe to change his ways . . . And if Zanu PF steals the elections we will bleat loudly. But we won’t break off diplomatic relations, stop aid money which props up the regime or even impose any more of those problematic sanctions.

So it will be business as usual, probably with Tsvangirai roped in again to do what the MDC have already shown they can do: revive the rapidly collapsing economy so that Zanu PF can get rid of them again.

As the French say, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Other points

  • Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask and snoozing away at the Vigil to represent Mugabe's visit to Ghana.
  • On the closest Saturday to 9th March we remembered our friend Itai Dzamara who was seized on that day two years ago by intelligence agents and hasn't been seen since.
  • Thanks to those who came early to hep set up: Zodwa Bhebhe, Vimbayi Chambara, Mavis Chisvo, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Joshua Kahari, Etines Kapiya, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Emmanuel Magarira, Phillip Mahlahla, Nyarai Masango, Nyarai Masvosva, Cephas Maswoswa, Shiela Matiza, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Margaret Munenge, Fungisai Mupandira, Sally Mutseyami, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Anna Mwanza, Nontokozo Ncube, Edward Ndlovu, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Rumbidzayi Sambana and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Roseline, Patience and Nontokozo for looking after the front table, to Rumbidzayi, Edward and Zodwa for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Emmanuel, Anna and Nyaria Maswoswa for putting up the banners. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 45 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 18th March. 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 Sibanda 07985712749 (Deputy Chairperson), Shylette Chipangura 07828929806 (Deputy Secretary), 07964731721 (Organising Secretary).
  • ROHR Leicester branch awareness campaign and general meeting. Saturday 18th March. Awareness campaign from 2 – 3 pm. Meet at Iceland, Narborough Road. General meeting from 3 – 5 pm: Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 18th March from 12 noon – 1 pm for committee meeting and from 1 – 3 pm for general members meeting. Venue: Eastleigh Library, Swan Shopping and Leisure Centre, Swan Centre, Eastleigh SO50 5SF. Contact: Ben Semwayo (Chair) 07401611932, Grace Rukure (Secretary) 07462103397 and Reuben Waretza (Publicity and Advocacy) 07946607617.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th March from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Fundraising Dinner. Saturday 8th April from 6 pm to midnight. Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Tickets: adults – £15, children under 12 – £5, Children 12-17 – £10. To book tickets contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) 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.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Fears of election rigging – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 4th March 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 05 March 2017 12:07

There are growing fears that Zanu PF is already busy preparing to steal next year’s elections. Suspicions have been heightened by the government’s move to seize control of the new biometric voter registration process. 

It had been agreed that the process would be handled by the United Nations Development Programme but the bankrupt Zanu PF government suddenly announced it would itself pay for it. That Zanu PF is prepared to fork out $17 million instead of accepting UN funding is taken as clear sign that it intends to nobble the whole process.

The legal adviser to the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) Douglas Mwonzora has expressed outrage at the move, which he said would help the government manipulate the elections.

The move comes amid complaints that traditional leaders are again being coerced to support Zanu PF and that voters are being warned that the biometric system will enable Zanu PF to see how they vote.

The Vigil has now submitted its petition to the UN calling for intervention to ensure a level playing field in the Zimbabwe elections. Here is our letter to the UN Secretary General, António Guterres:

‘We respectfully submit a petition calling on the United Nations to intervene in Zimbabwe. The petition reads: With mounting unrest in Zimbabwe, we urge you to appoint a Special Representative to prepare the ground for a UN Transitional Authority to take over from the failed Mugabe regime. We look to the Special Representative to initiate comprehensive negotiations so that the UN Transitional Authority can assume control of Zimbabwe’s administrative structures – foreign affairs, defence, security, finance and communications – to ensure a level playing field conducive for credible national elections.

‘The petition has been signed by thousands of people who have passed by the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London since 2002 in support of free and fair elections. In addition, many more have endorsed it online.

‘93 year old President Robert Mugabe insists on clinging to office until death. His wife Dr Grace Mugabe even insists that he can continue to rule from the grave.

‘Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has been in power since independence 37 years ago and has reduced Zimbabweans to poverty and starvation. Polls have been blatantly rigged and, with no electoral reforms in sight, it is certain that the 2018 elections will again be stolen by a combination of rigging, bribery, intimidation and violence.

‘In the past the bogus polls have been routinely endorsed by the Southern African Development Community and the African Union despite all the evidence of malpractice. We fear that if it happens again there will be an explosion of anger by people driven to desperation and this will have serious consequences for the region as a whole.’

Other points

  • Civil rights activist and ROHR supporter Linda Masarira was convicted by a Mbare magistrate on Friday of obstructing traffic during last year’s anti-government protests. Magistrate Stanford Mambanje said she was a notorious activist and social media agitator. She is to be sentenced on Monday. Linda described the charges as trumped up offences for which she had already been detained for 87 days with 13 days in solitary confinement in Chikurubi.
  • Vigil supporters staged a demonstration outside South Africa House on Wednesday 1st March against the renewed xenophobia in South Africa. They handed a petition to the Deputy High Commissioner Golden Neswiswi. They also went around to the Zimbabwe Embassy to hand out information there. The protesters were: Martin Chinyanga, Rose Maponga, Rumbi Sambana and Gift Moyo.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Flemming Diza, Daizy Fabian, Ruvimbo Gwenzi, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Etines Kapiya, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Alice Majola, Nancy Makurira, Benjamin Molife, Tinotenda Mrewa, Lloyd Mudzengerere, Virginia Mutyambizi, Patience Muyeye, Edward Ndlovu, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Tawanda Rusape, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Farai Tanyanyiwa and Douglas Tavengwa. Thanks to Daizy, Alice and Patience for looking after the front table, to Nancy, Rumbidzayi, Maureen Tavengwa, Newman Richard, Chipo Parirenyatwa and Simbarashe Mutero for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Tawanda, Benjamin, Mduduzi, Tinotenda, Newman, Tapera Chabata, Phillip Mahlahla and David Makuyana for putting up and taking down 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. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 50 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 11th March from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark two years since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents. Amnesty International this week gave Dzamara a lifetime achievement award.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 11th March from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 18th March. Community outreach from 11.30am – 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 Sibanda 07985712749 (Deputy Chairperson), Shylette Chipangura 07828929806 (Deputy Secretary), 07964731721 (Organising Secretary).
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th March from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) 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.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
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