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No to another stolen election – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th June 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 June 2018 14:44

 

 

The London Vigil has presented a petition to the Prime Minister’s official residence warning the UK government not to trust President Mnangagwa’s military regime until it is satisfied that the upcoming elections have been free and fair.

The petition was launched soon after the overthrow of Mugabe last November and has been signed by people from all over the world passing down the Strand outside the Zimbabwe Embassy over the past 6 months.

Six Vigil activists were allowed into 10 Downing Street to present the petition, which was accompanied by the following letter:

To the UK’s Africa Minister Harriett Baldwin via 10 Downing Street

Dear Ms Baldwin

We respectfully submit a petition urging the UK government to exercise the utmost caution about the elections in Zimbabwe on 30th July.

The petition notes that the euphoria over the removal of the Mugabes last November gave way to the realisation that little else had changed.

The petition urges the UK government to wait until the elections are judged free and fair before offering support to President Mnangagwa.

We are glad that Western election observers have been allowed into Zimbabwe but disappointed that the diaspora vote, affecting millions of people, was dismissed out of hand for no reason persuasive to us.

Many electoral reforms have yet to be implemented and there is little confidence in the Zanu PF-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Indeed there are suggestions of a new attempt at ballot rigging.

In addition the broadcast media is still a tool of the Zanu PF military regime and there are reports that the military are active in the rural areas to intimidate voters. 

The petition has been signed by people passing the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London for 16 years in support of free and fair elections. We want to see that the people’s will is respected and we are confident that you share this hope. 

Other points

  • Thanks to the six petitioners: Daizy Fabian, Rosemary Maponga, Margaret Munenge, Esther  Munyira, Patience Muyeye and Sipho Ndlovu.
  • Among allegations of Zanu PF vote rigging is a detailed account by (totally reliable!) former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo now in exile (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/prof-moyo-speaks-on-zanu-pf-rigging/).
  • Social media is carrying an account of rigging said to be by a serving officer in the Zimbabwean army (see: https://www.facebook.com/groups/369631229870862/permalink/1020305371470108/).
  • Social media has noted angrily that so-called vendors’ leader and selfie activist Stendrick Zvorwadza has been pictured with Mnangagwa. The Zimbabwe Vigil has been warning people about the nefarious activities of Stendrick Zvorwadza for years (check: https://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/839-restoration-of-human-rights-in-zimbabwe-important-message). In our diary of 6th August 2016 we said: 'Supporters might have seen an article on the dodgy Zimeye website in which the Vigil was criticised for not allowing Stendrick Zvorwadza to address us last week (see: http://www.zimeye.net/zvorwadza-flies-to-uk-blocked-by-rose-benton/ ). Our refusal to give a hearing to this charlatan was because he still pretends to be the leader of ROHR and has yet to account for £2,000 we entrusted to him in 2008 to hand over to an orphanage we were supporting in Zimbabwe, as well as computers, phones and cameras for the ROHR office in Harare.'
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up by putting up the banners and posters: Daizy Fabian, Jonathan Kariwo, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Rosemary Maponga, Eunice Mapunde, Nyarai Masvosva, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Sipho Ndlovu and EphraimTapa. Thanks to Patience, Rosemary and Nyarai for looking after the front table and to Esther, Farai, Heather and Chido for handing out flyers. A special thanks to Jonathan Kariwo and Faith Ndlovu who stayed behind to look after the Vigil when everyone else went to Downing Street.

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: 26 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st July 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Facebook pages:
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Walking the talk – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 9th June 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 June 2018 19:32

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/28823974808/sizes/m/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/27842387617/sizes/m/ 

Encouraged by the popular support for change shown by the MDC demonstration in Harare on Tuesday, a group of exuberant Zimbabwe human rights activists arrived at the Vigil after a 15 mile walk to raise funds for the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP) which seeks to raise awareness and safeguard voters during next month’s elections. 

The walkers – members of the Vigil’s sister organization Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) wearing yellow tshirts – were embraced by colleagues at the Vigil. They included Margaret Munenge with her nearly 3-year-old son Ethan fast asleep in a buggy. She said he had run much of the way.

A ROHR statement said: ‘Since the announcement of the elections, the military government has reportedly deployed 5000 soldiers in rural areas to instill fear. Traditional leaders are threatening voters with eviction from their homes if they do not surrender their voter registration certificates. Zanu PF campaigns are characterised by vote buying using food, money, farm inputs etc. Voters are being intimidated into feigning illiteracy or blindness so their leaders can vote on their behalf. The list is endless.

‘On the other hand, the heavily militarised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is refusing to disclose the supplier of the ballot paper, or allow its inspection or audit prior to the vote. This remains a contentious area given past experiences of vote rigging in Zimbabwe facilitated by the Israeli company, Nikuv.’

The Southern African Director of Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavinga, was also skeptical. He said Zimbabwe risks having another sham election unless President Mnangagwa implements genuine electoral reform. ‘A key step would be whether state media gives equal coverage to all political parties without bias or favour’.

Human Rights Watch says its research in May found security forces involved in the electoral process and said violence and intimidation by Zanu PF contributed to an environment  that was not conducive to free and fair elections (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/hrw-zimbabwe-risks-another-sham-poll-without-electoral-reform/). 

Two international observer groups have submitted a pre-election report to ZEC also calling for the urgent implementation of outstanding electoral reforms. They said that the military should publicly commit to recognise the winning presidential candidate whatever his political affiliation and called on ZEC to allow all political parties to observe the procurement, printing and storage of ballots (https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/06/zim-not-ready-for-free-elections-observers/).

Other points

  • One of the walkers was ROHR President Ephraim Tapa who paid tribute to Daizy Fabian who organised it and the 9 others who joined them. He said they had ‘walked through pain with determination and courage’ to help Zimbabwe’s struggle for democracy. Some had travelled long distances whilst some were coming from night shifts just to take part. Thanks to all the valiant walkers: Tawanda Chitate, Daizy Fabian, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Patricia Masamba, Margaret (and Ethan) Munenge, Esther Munyira, Jenatry, Chihota, Patience Muyeye, Ephraim Tapa and Ben Tsikwa.
  • The Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Siphosami Malunga, says there are six make-or-break issues that will determine whether the elections will be free, fair and credible: the integrity of the voters’ roll; the integrity of the ballot paper and the vote; the integrity of ZEC itself; the creation of a conducive environment by repealing restrictive laws; the assurance that the military and other security institutions will play no role in the election and ensuring equal and fair access by all political parties to public broadcast media. Mr Malunga says ‘there is still time—albeit very little—to remedy these flaws before they deliver fatal blows and irredeemably taint the transparency and credibility of the very crucial 2018 elections. The window for fixing them is shutting—fast!’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/elections-six-make-or-break-issues/).
  • We are planning to hand in our petition urging the UK government to insist on free and fair elections in Zimbabwe before the UK offers support to Mnangagwa to 10 Downing Street at 4 pm on 16th June. Check ‘Events and Notices’ for full details. We are still waiting for confirmation that we can go ahead from the Downing Street police and will keep everyone informed on this.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up:  Junior Madzimure, Michelle Makoni, Barnie Mandimika, Rosemary Maponga, Nyarai Masvosva, Faith Ndhlovu and Caroline Witts. Thanks to Rosemary and Nyarai for looking after the front table, to Faith and Junior for handing out flyers and to Barnie, Nyarai, Junior and Rosemary for putting up the banners. Thanks to Nyarai and Michelle 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: 25 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Save the Zimbabwe elephants protest. Friday 15th June from 1 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. One of our activists Nomusa Dube is organising a protest about the export of baby elephants from Zimbabwe to China. She asks Vigil activists to join her at this protest. 
  • Vigil petition presentation to 10 Downing Street. Saturday 16th June at 4 pm. We will hopefully be handing in our petition urging the UK government to insist on free and fair elections in Zimbabwe before the UK offers support to Mnangagwa. We will leave the Vigil at 3.15 pm and walk to 10 Downing Street where 6 petitioners will be allowed in to hand in the petition (subject to confirmation by the Downing Street police).
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th June 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Facebook pages:
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‘Barking puppies’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd June 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 03 June 2018 13:41

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/42519831751/sizes/m/

Nelson Chamisa has threatened that his MDC party will ‘not allow’ the elections on 30th July unless electoral reforms are made. The party has called for a demonstration in Harare on Tuesday to insist that reforms are implemented.

MDC T wants to know who is printing the ballot papers, who will have custody of them and how many have been printed, as well as their chemical composition. It also wants the scrapping of polling stations it says were illegally gazetted, and protested that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had hindered access to the new biometric voters’ roll.

MDC T spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo said it appeared that the voters’ roll still had a suspicious number of centenarians on it. She said the party had been forced into a corner by President Mnangagwa’s ‘intransigence and goal-shifting’.

Mnangagwa has promised free and fair elections but there is widespread suspicion in opposition ranks that Zanu PF will once again rig the poll, following its refusal to allow the diaspora a vote. For his part, Mnangagwa has dismissed the opposition as ‘barking puppies’.

In another development, the corruption watchdog Transparency International Zimbabwe says that, despite Mnangagwa’s promises, the government seemed to lack the political will to effectively tackle corruption. It estimates that between 30% and 50% of the country’s gross domestic product is misappropriated, especially in the public sector (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/06/01/zim-lacks-political-will-fight-corruption/).

The Daily News reports that most of the officials arrested on graft allegations have been released on ‘relaxed bail conditions’, with some having their passports returned. They include permanent secretaries accused of corruption. The paper quotes Professor Stephen Chan of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies as saying ‘In Zimbabwe, the ruling elite is a tight group, bound by party ties, kinship ties, and liberation ties. Everyone knows how to steal and everyone knows someone who will know how to turn the heat down if they are caught.’ (See: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/05/30/mnangagwa-s-anti-graft-blitz-loses-steam?src=ilaw).

As users of social media may have noticed, top Zanu PF leaders including Mnangagwa and Vice-President General Chiwenga appear high on a list of 25 people alleged to be the most corrupt public figures in Zimbabwe (see: https://www.facebook.com/Mafirakurewa1/posts/1021859761313412).

Suspicion that there has been little real change since the ‘new’ regime took over seems to have been confirmed by the fiasco of the dodgy secondhand Boeing airliners bought by the government from Malaysia. The first one arrived in Zimbabwe last month for the bogus new Zimbabwe airline created because Air Zimbabwe is bankrupt. But the plane has already been returned to Malaysia without making a single commercial flight – perhaps because there were no Zimbabwean pilots trained to fly it or ground crews to service it . . . (see: https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/zims-new-big-boeing-fails-to-get-off-ground-15261033).

Other points

  • The Vigil draws your attention to a peace initiative in Zimbabwe to counter voter intimidation and election violence. Calling themselves ‘We the people of Zimbabwe’, they have provided telephone numbers to which voters can report any concerns. Their control room is now live. For their information and advice, please check: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/942-we-the-people-of-zimbabwe-anything-to-report-in-your-community-.
  • We were happy to welcome Vigil activist Sipho Ndlovu at the end of his 219-mile cycle ride in aid of the Human Rights Defenders’ Project of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Sipho cycled through 6 cities: Luton, Cambridge, Colchester, Chelmsford, Southend-on-Sea and back to London. To donate, and for videos of Sipho’s progress, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovuhdrproject/updates/.
  • A reminder of the ROHR fundraising walk taking place on Saturday 9th June, starting at Redbridge Station at 9 am and ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go towards the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform’s (ZimPAP) programme to safeguard voters and raise awareness for free and fair elections. If you wish to participate or contribute, please check full details in our ‘Events and Notices’ section.
  • It was good to welcome Vigil activist Sister Beverley Mutandiro to the Vigil for the first time since the birth of her baby. Little David charmed everyone.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up:  Jonathan Kariwo, Alice Majola, Netsayi Makarichi, Nyarai Masvosva, Patience Muyeye, Tryness Ncube, Sipho Ndlovu and Casper Nyamakura. Thanks to Alice, Patience and Nyarai for looking after the front table, to Faith and Esther Munyira for handing out flyers and to Netsayi, Patience, Tryness, Sipho, Casper and Jonathan 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.

FOR THE RECORD: 25 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • MDC UK protest for electoral reforms. Tuesday 5th June from 11 am to 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is in support of the demonstration of the MDC in Zimbabwe to insist that electoral reforms are implemented.
  • ROHR fundraising walk. Saturday 9th June. This will be a 15-mile sponsored fundraising walk starting at 9 am at Redbridge Station on the Central Line (IG4 5 DQ) and ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go towards the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform’s (ZimPAP) programme to safeguard voters and raise awareness for free and fair elections. If you wish to take part or contribute, contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Esther Munyira 07492058107, Chido Makawa 07413024807 and Heather Makawa Chitate 07716391800.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th June from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daisy 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.
  • Save the Zimbabwe elephants protest. Friday 15th June from 1 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. One of our activists Nomusa Dube is organising a protest about the export of baby elephants from Zimbabwe to China. She asks Vigil activists to join her at this protest. 
  • 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
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Questions over Britain’s new relationship with Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th May 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 May 2018 15:40

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/27347152287/sizes/m/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/42217513551/sizes/m/ 

The revelation that the British government is to support a loan to Zimbabwe ahead of the elections has alarmed those opposed to Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF government.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said foreign governments should not back such loans until credible elections have taken place. ‘The elections are only a few months away’, he pointed out. ‘Let’s see the quality of this election first’.

The opposition sees the move as further unbalancing the electoral playing field, arguing that it will give international credibility to the military regime, which has promised reforms but so far delivered little.

The British move was reported by London’s influential Financial Times newspaper, which said this will be the first time the British government has been directly involved in a commercial loan to Zimbabwe’s private sector for more than 20 years.

The amount involved is $100 million and will come from the Standard Chartered Bank with backing from the CDC Group, the government’s development finance institution owned by the Department for International Development. They will share the default risk on the loan facility, said to be intended to provide desperately-needed foreign exchange to struggling businesses.

CDC’s chief executive Nick O’Donohoe, insisted that the move did not represent an endorsement of the Zimbabwean government. But sceptics say that, following the overthrow of Mugabe, the UK seems to be taking a pragmatic ‘realpolitik’ approach to Zimbabwe. This would confirm fears expressed by MDC President Nelson Chamisa during his recent visit to Britain that the British government was focusing on political stability and trade and commerce at the expense of democracy.

Other points

  • The Vigil demonstrated today in support of electoral reforms. A banner strung above the front table read: ‘Free & fair credible elections in Zimbabwe’. A big thank you to Patience Muyeye who organised the protest and generously paid for the new banner and a large number of placards such as ‘Electoral reforms first in Zimbabwe’ and ‘End corruption and state looting’.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Isaac Chawasarira, Isabell Gwatidzo, Jonathan Kariwo, Tozonziani Musanhi, Patience Muyeye, Tryness Ncube and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Tryness, Patience and Daizy Fabian for looking after the front table, to Isaac for handing out flyers and to Jonathan, Isaac, Tozonziani,  Patience, Isabell, Tryness and Ephraim for putting up the banners. A special thank you to Heather Makawa for printing flyers to hand out to the public at the Vigil.

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: 18 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Demonstration for voters’ rights and voter safety in Zimbabwe. Saturday 26th May from 2 – 5 outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Join us to demonstrate for voter safety in Zimbabwe – no violence, no threats, no bribes, all parties able to campaign freely. For more information, contact the organiser: Esther Munyira 07492058107. This ties in with the walk to fundraise for voter education. See below.
  • ROHR Reading Fifth Anniversary celebration. Saturday 26th May from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading West RG1 3PA. There will be food, drinks, music, games, prizes and raffle and ROHR Reading will be presenting food donations to local food banks. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806 and Deborah 07578894896.
  • ROHR fundraising walk. Saturday 9th June. This will be a sponsored fundraising walk ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go to pre-election voter education by the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP). More information as plans develop. If you wish to take part or contribute, contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th June from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daisy 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.
  • Cycle ride for the Human Rights Defenders’ Project. Vigil activist Sipho Ndlovu will be cycling 219 miles from 28th May – 2nd June to raise funds for the Human Rights Defenders’ Project of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Sipho will cycle through 6 cities: Luton, Cambridge, Colchester, Chelmsford, Southend-on-Sea and back to London. To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovuhdrproject
  • MDC London branch meeting. Saturday 2nd June from 12 noon to 2 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. For more information, contact: Sharon Moyo 07877224113 and Clemence Munyukwi 07889667686.
  • Save the Zimbabwe elephants protest. Friday 15th June from 1 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. One of our activists Nomusa Dube is organising a protest about the export of baby elephants from Zimbabwe to China. She asks Vigil activists to join her at this protest. 
  • 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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Open for deceit – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th May 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 13 May 2018 15:50

Just what sort of ‘open for business’ does President Mnangagwa have in mind for his new Zimbabwe? Transport Minister Joram Gumbo seems to think it means telling lies in the national interest.

Talking about the can of worms that is the new national carrier Zimbabwe Airways, Gumbo said the government had decided to mislead people about the ownership of the airline to avoid attachment of its planes by creditors of bankrupt Air Zimbabwe.

‘That is when we also came up with the story that the diasporans were buying the ($70million) aircraft . . . Otherwise we could have lost the money as the country and government.’ (See: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/05/12/zim-airways-circus-continues).

It is not only the government that is given to ‘flights of fancy’. Nelson Chamisa’s HARDtalk interview this week with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur was uncomfortable for MDC wellwishers. Some lessons need to be learned from this if the party is to win confidence abroad.

Agitated comments on social media accuse Sackur of bias. This is nonsense. He is certainly challenging: this is what the programme is about. Anyone who agrees to take part had better be prepared. Chamisa was not.

If you are in the public spotlight you must be expected to be asked about a blue moon promise you made in Bindura of a bullet train from Harare to Bulawayo, or claims that Donald Trump had promised $15 billion in aid if you won the elections. And suggestions you would be able to fix the country’s liquidity problems in two weeks is certain to attract skepticism . . .

Mr Chamisa made a good impression on many people during his trip to the UK but the party leadership would be advised to ensure that he is properly briefed before giving interviews like the HARDtalk one. He has much to say that people in Zimbabwe and abroad are keen to hear. Speaking on several occasions during his visit, he addressed the question of electoral reforms, but they hardly got a look in the HARDtalk interview. You can’t blame this on Sackur.

At the Foreign Affairs Institute at Chatham House, Chamisa cautioned against what he perceived to be ‘a bit of a shift on the part of the British government in terms of focusing more on political stability and trade and commerce at the expense of democracy’.

He went on: ‘For a long time, the British government has been emphasising norms, values – let those norms and values of free and fair elections be respected. That is all we want – we’re not asking for money. We’re asking for the solidarity of a global coalition for free and fair elections’. (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/05/zim-needs-democracy-not-managed-stability-chamisa/). That’s more like it.

Mr Chamisa ought to have been aware that the bullet train idea was put forward by Zanu PF a few years ago. He certainly should have been alert enough to point out the fantasy of Zanu PF’s new manifesto promise of building 1.5 million houses in the next 5 years . . . like the millions of jobs they promised last time around.

Other points

  • Mr Chamisa was accompanied on the trip by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti and the former Education Minister David Coltart, who said they had pointed out there was a gulf between the rhetoric of the Mnangagwa administration and action on the ground. ‘We explained that for all the statements of commitment to a "free, fair and credible election" the reality is that less than 3 months from the election ZEC remains a biased, militarised institution; the opaque process for the printing of the ballots using the same tricks as 2013, the deployment of troops in rural areas, subtly intimidating the electorate and the ongoing use of the ZBC, Herald and Chronicle as propaganda vehicles (in brazen defiance of clear constitutional obligations) all show that this regime is not committed to a fair election. We stated that a fair election cannot solely consist of an election which is relatively violence free.’
  • Upcoming events at the Vigil: Saturday 19th May – demonstration for electoral reforms in Zimbabwe and Saturday 9th June – fundraising walk: proceeds to go towards voter education. For more information, check ‘Events and Notices’.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the Vigil: Deborah Harry, Jonathan Kariwo, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Cephas Maswoswa, Esther Munyira, Patience Muyeye and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Patricia and Rosemary for looking after the front table, to Rosemary and Heather for handing out flyers and to Jonathan, Cephas, Rosemary, Deborah, Patience, Esther, Patricia and Ephraim for putting up the banners and tarpaulin on a very damp day.

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: 18 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Demonstration for electoral reforms and good governance in Zimbabwe. Saturday 19th May from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Join us to demonstrate for free and fair elections and the diaspora vote. For more information, contact the organiser: Patience Muyeye 07512383391.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th May from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading Fifth Anniversary celebration. Saturday 26th May from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading West RG1 3PA. There will be food, drinks, music, games, prizes and raffle and ROHR Reading will be presenting food donations to local food banks. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806 and Deborah 07578894896.
  • ROHR fundraising walk. Saturday 9th June. This will be a sponsored fundraising walk ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go to voter education before the elections by the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP). More information as plans develop. If you wish to take part or contribute, contact: Daizy Fabian, 07708653640.
  • 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.
  • Save the Zimbabwe elephants protest. Friday 15th June from 1 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. One of our activists Nomusa Dube is organising a protest about the export of baby elephants from Zimbabwe to China. She asks Vigil activists to join her at this protest. 
  • 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:
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The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.