From Marxist to Thatcherite – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th November 2018 Print
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Sunday, 18 November 2018 20:21

The most reviled / revered British Prime Minister of the past half century has been championed in the pages of the influential London newspaper the Financial Times by none other than Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In the face of fierce opposition, Mrs Thatcher forced through sweeping changes which paved the way for strong economic growth. President Mnangagwa obviously sees himself in the same light. ‘Like Thatcher we are not afraid of taking tough and at times painful decisions’, he writes. ‘As she used to put it, there is no alternative.’

Mnangagwa spoke of the need for spending cuts, new taxes and a drive against corruption. ‘The national budget must be balanced and spending reined in. The government wage bill is unsustainable.’

Like Thatcher, who was in power when Zimbabwe gained independence, Mnangagwa promised privatisation of state-owned enterprises. ‘A large and inefficient public sector cannot be allowed to hold back private enterprise.’ (See:

That the government needs to make drastic reforms is undisputed. The American economist Steve Hanke, who has closely followed Zimbabwean affairs, says the outcome for the economy was disastrous under what he called the Marxist regime of Mugabe and his Zanu PF accomplices like Mnangagwa. Hanke said that, according to the IMF, Zimbabwe was one of the poorest countries in the world. ‘Measured by real gross domestic product per capita, living standards are now only 78% of what they were when Mugabe assumed power in 1980 . . . Since the land reforms of 2000, the value of farm production has shrunk by 45%.’ (See:

Mnangagwa may no longer be the Marxist ideologue suggested by Professor Hanke and economic reform is not the only problem he faces. The sight of two generals brazenly denying that the army was responsible for the deaths of civilians on the streets of Harare on 1st August has been greeted with derision by the outside world, eroding faith in the commission of enquiry into the shootings.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Enniah Dube, Daizy Fabian, Marian Machekanyanga, Linton Magume, Rosemary Maponga, Nyarai Masvosva, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Bianca Mpawaenda, Esther Munyira, Fungisai Mupandira, Tapiwa Muskwe, Pearl Shambare, Minienhle Sibanda and Soneni Sibanda. Thanks to Bianca and Rosemary for looking after the front table, to Tapiwa, Bigboy Sibanda and Simbarashe Jingo for handing out flyers and to Jonathan for taking photos.
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FOR THE RECORD: 28 signed the register.


  • ROHR Reading Christmas party fundraiser. Saturday 24th November from 7:30pm until 11:00pm. Venue: The Spice Oven Buffet Restaurant, 2 – 4 Church Street, Reading RG4 8AT. ROHR. Tickets: £20 per adult, free entry for children under 5 years. For more information, contact: Deborah Harry (07578894896), Charles Mararirakwenda (07588275745), Joshua Kahari (07877246251), Sihle (07985712749).
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 15th December 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 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.
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