Doctors’ breaking point – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 December 2018 16:18

A Vigil supporter who works for the needy in Zimbabwe says her job is becoming increasingly difficult. She sent us the following message from a desperate doctor. 

‘I have tried my best not to do this; ranting about my job in the public domain and writing about my personal struggle but I have since discovered that the hymen has already been breached. I have come across quite a number of posts (mostly lengthy in keeping with the severity of the situation) by doctors lampooning the government over it's inadequacies, arrogance and irrefutable disregard for the welfare of its citizens. In short I have reached breaking point, I simply cannot go on.

‘Every single day I dedicate every second fighting against death; both my own (from exhaustion or work-related hazards) and my patients. The government has now repeatedly raped me into submission. The ridiculous court challenge and sanction was the last straw, the final penetration.

‘I have lost countless patients because of lack of resources required to save them. For example, when a road traffic accident occurs all casualties are rushed to the nearest hospital for 'treatment'. I happen to work at a hospital situated along a major highway so such cases are not far from the norm on any given day. When they come in all we are able to do is measure their blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature. That's it! Nothing else!! There are no drugs to manage the pain, no plaster casts to manage the fractures, no functional X-ray machine, no suture material to stitch up the patient, no chest drains to save the lungs, no corsets or neck collars to stabilize spinal cord injuries, nothing nothing nothing. So why then should I even bother going to work? To do what? Just to watch people die and getting blamed by angry relatives?

‘I can go on and on giving details of how gory our working conditions are but I'm sure most people have already stopped reading this. I know for a fact that at this very moment in time a sizeable portion of my colleagues are already suffering from one mental health problem or the other induced by the gross ill-treatment the government has so callously dished out to us. At some point we were bound to reach breaking point. Most of us have. It is better for us to just stop going to work altogether than to attend to patients in this frame of mind. An unstable doctor is far much worse than an absent doctor. Returning to work as things stand is NOT AN OPTION. They can keep their lousy salary and I will keep my sanity and dignity.’

Zimbabweans were, of course, not the only people to have endured a miserable Christmas. But the country which mirrors the plight of Zimbabweans best is oil-rich Venezuela. Only a decade or so ago it was one of the richest countries in South America. Its decline, driven by ideology and corruption, has been spectacular. 

Its current situation will ring a bell with Zimbabweans: inflation exceeds 1,000,000%, public services have collapsed, running water is a luxury. The minimum wage is about $7 a month and apparently this is what doctors and teachers get. One in ten Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015.

The rulers of both countries share the same quasi-Marxist pretensions and the elite in Venezuela would be easily recognized in Zimbabwe. Often driving late model cars with no number plates, they are the untouchables, dining in expensive restaurants and shopping in ‘dollar stores’ – no doubt, like the Mugabe children washing their expensive watches in champagne. 

The London Times reports that last month, during court testimony in Miami, there was a glimpse of how much wealth had been pillaged from the country: ‘Alejandro Andrade, who in 2007-11 served as national treasurer to President Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chávez, admitted receiving $1 billion in bribes for selling access to the government’s controlled exchange rate, whereby dollars can be bought for a fraction of their real value. Andrade, who started his career as Mr Chávez’s bodyguard, had developed a weakness for property, showjumping horses and luxury cars in Florida. “I made some very bad choices when I was treasurer,” he told the court.’

We’ve been there. Done that. What next? The Vigil wishes people at home a better 2019 (and our suffering brothers in Venezuela too).

Other points

  • The doctors’ strike appears to be unsettling General Chiwenga (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEfwSO6fRD4).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Patricia Masamba, Nyarai Masvosva, Fungisai Mupandira and Tryness Ncube. Thanks to Tryness and Nyarai for looking after the front table, to Nyarai and Joyce Mbairatsunga for handing out flyers and to Fungasai for her energetic drumming.
  • 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: 12 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • MDC Reading Branch meeting. Saturday 5th January from 12 – 2 pm. Venue Royal Festival Hall. Contact Charles Mararirakwenda 07588275745, Josephine Jombe 07455166668, Deborah Harry 07478894896.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January 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:
    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
 
Hypocrisy and self-delusion – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 December 2018 20:17

Happy Christmas? After a seamless transition from Mugabe’s hypocrisy to Mnangagwa’s self-delusion, most people will have little to celebrate. Food, fuel, fares, medicines and school fees are a perpetual struggle thanks to an unreformed Zanu PF.

The government talks about Zimbabwe becoming a ‘middle income country’ ruled from a spanking new capital at Mount Hamden. (Probably served by bullet trains from Harare.) Hot air! 

Zanu PF scoffs at the South African Constitutional Court declaring illegal the disbanding of the SADC Tribunal. And complains that the South African demand for Grace Mugabe to stand trial for assault is ‘harassment’. That sums up Zanu PF: complaining about assault by the privileged is harassment.

The commission investigating the army shootings after the election dismissed Zanu PF’s claim that the shots were fired by opposition supporters. The lies told by Mnangagwa and the army were exposed by the commission’s report. Nevertheless the government promotes the officer in charge.

As political commentator Alex Magaisa puts it: ‘You set up a commission to investigate violence. The commission categorically says the soldiers you command and deployed shot and killed civilians and injured 35. But not a single word of apology or acknowledgement to the victims, survivors, and relatives.’

So as inflation rises above 30% because of Zanu PF’s financial ineptitude and corruption, it appears there has been no change to Mugabe’s master plan to keep Zanu PF in power and Zimbabweans in slavery.

It may be futile for the diaspora to wish our family and friends in Zimbabwe a happy Christmas, but you can be sure that we will be thinking of you.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Jonathan Kariwo, Philip Maponga, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Nyarai Masvosva, Bianca Mpawaenda and Fungisai Mupandira. Thanks to Bianca and Rosemary for looking after the front table, to Nyarai and Bianca for handing out flyers and to Fungasai for her energetic drumming.
  • 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: 12 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January 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:
 
Asylum panic in UK diaspora – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 December 2018 11:45

Zimbabweans without settled status in the UK have been alarmed by a report in a daily newspaper here, the Independent, that Britain is working with officials from the Zimbabwe Embassy to send them back home, where they say they fear persecution.

The Independent says that at least seven Zimbabweans, some of whom have lived in Britain for more than a decade, were last week ordered to attend meetings at a Home Office (ministry of internal affairs) building in Sheffield where they were questioned by an Embassy official. The same process was said to have taken place in other parts of the country. (see: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/asylum-seekers-home-office-zimbabwe-immigration-embassy-political-persecution-africa-a8675571.html).

The newspaper interviewed Marian Machekanyanga who said she had been a trade union activist and had fled to the UK 16 years ago. She said she was invited to attend a Home Office meeting and was surprised when she saw a Zimbabwean official in the room. ‘The man had my file on the table. He started speaking to me in my native language. I asked him if I could call my solicitor and he said ‘no’. He said the Home Office had asked him to interview us. I was really frightened. Why is the Home Office giving my details to the government I ran away from? I know they will still be after me. Anyone who has claimed asylum in England is an enemy to the government.’

Another failed asylum seeker, who said he came to the UK on a student visa in 2003, and has since posted anti-government blogs, said he was highly suspicious when he saw a Zimbabwean official. ‘He was asking for more information about myself to confirm my identity. He wanted to know about my parents and relatives in Zimbabwe. I refused to give him information about myself. I was afraid. If they confirmed it was me, what would they do with that information? He wasn’t even concerned about whether I was an asylum seeker.’

The man, whose asylum claim had been rejected by the Home Office, said he would ‘surely be a target’ if he were removed. ‘I know why they want to help the UK remove asylum seekers. They want to legitimise the current government and be readmitted to the Commonwealth and get foreign investment. They’ve been approached by the British government and have promised to help them’, he said.

The UK’s relations with Zimbabwe have improved since the overthrow of Mugabe and the Independent says the latest British move is part of an agreement with Zimbabwe under which the UK would repatriate 2.500 people.

The Vigil understands it is British policy when seeking to deport failed asylum seekers to engage their country of origin to ensure they are not refused entry. Some asylum seekers either don’t have or have destroyed their identity documents and some countries routinely refuse to take them back.

Social media has been alive with scare stories following the Independent’s article so the Vigil approached the Home Office for more information. All they would offer us was a one sentence statement which had already appeared in the Independent: ‘A routine redocumentation interview event took place in Sheffield on Tuesday 4 December’.

We think this is inadequate and that the Home Office should be more open about the matter (see: https://www.facebook.com/taffi.nyawanza/posts/2365431770151213).

In Zimbabwe, the Secretary for Information, Nick Mangwana, who used to lead Zanu PF in the UK, said Harare welcomed back its sons and daughters regardless of the circumstances under which they left the country (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/feel-free-to-come-home-diasporans-told/).

The Vigil thinks it would be a good idea if Zimbabwe offered further reassurances about the treatment of people returned to the country and suggest that the UK’s massive foreign aid budget could be used to support some independent agency – perhaps the International Organisation for Migration – to monitor their treatment.

The Vigil’s own policy is clear: we do not accept the legitimacy of the Mnangagwa government and are not sure that it is safe to send back known anti-government activists such as the people who campaign with us week after week, year after year in rain and snow. But we can only speak for them.

Other points

  • China has intensified it's grip, control and access to Zimbabwe's mineral wealth by reportedly demanding diamonds and oil drilling rights from President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government, as payment for printing and backing a new Zimbabwe currency, and the building of an opulent new capital city in Mount Hampden, Spotlight Zimbabwe has reported.’ (See: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-151633.html).
  • Despite the lack of court action against corrupt Zanu PF bigwigs, President Mnangagwa is said to have complained of rampant corruption at the party’s central committee meeting in Harare on Wednesday  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #0433ff; -webkit-text-stroke: #0433ff} span.s1 {font-kerning: none; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #000000} span.s2 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #0433ff}

    (see: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/12/14/ed-fumes-over-r5-million-bribe).

  • The South African Constitutional Court has ruled that former President Zuma acted unlawfully in shutting down the tribunal of the Southern African Development Community. This means that the South African government could be held liable for losses suffered by Zimbabwe’s farmers whose land was seized by Mugabe’s government, which was declared illegal by the tribunal (see:  https://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/concourt-judgment-on-zuma-and-sadc-tribunal-welcom).
  • On a cold, gloomy and unrelentingly wet day a valiant eight people (with 2 children) attended a curtailed Vigil. Others may well have been prevented from getting to us by ice and snow in other parts of the country. Thanks particularly to: Miriam Gasho, Simbarashe Jingo, Patricia Masamba, Margaret Munenge, Tapiwa Muskwe, and Collins Tutani. Special thanks to Co-ordinator Patricia Masamba who struggled through heavy traffic to pick up the Vigil paraphernalia so she can run the Vigil next week.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January 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:
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #0433ff; -webkit-text-stroke: #0433ff} span.s1 {font-kerning: none; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #000000} span.s2 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #0433ff}
 
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