Charity begins at home – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
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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:
  • 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 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: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 10 signed the register.


  • 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 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:
  • 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.
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