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Who needs wheels? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th June 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 18 June 2017 15:15

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When it comes to straight talking Zimbabweans don’t have to look much further than the Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandi Chimene, who welcomed Mugabe to Mutare for a Zanu PF Youth Rally.

‘Some of you think I have taken weed’, she said. ‘Do I look like someone who took weed today?’ Mugabe said nothing. You could say he sat stoned-faced. Vice President Mnangagwa however, who was sitting next to him, must have had difficulty suppressing a smile.

Chimene, speaking as it were from on high, urged Mugabe to end the divisions in the party over the presidential succession. ‘We end up seeing crocodile smiles because of the divisions,’ she snorted.

Chimene proceeded to demonstrate that she was in full possession of her senses by accusing ministers in the province of looting large tracts of land, among other things. She went on: ‘If it means going down with you, we will fall together Comrade President’.

Mugabe, who is quite capable of falling down by himself, made no response to this offer. But he would hardly have been reassured by Chimene’s undertaking the previous week to Zanu PF Youth leaders preparing for the rally. She promised them they would have no trouble with police road blocks. ‘You said some vehicles do not have wheels, but I will make sure you will not be harassed.’

Who needs wheels when you have mbanje power.

Other points

 FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.

 EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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Book about the Vigil – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th June 2017 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 11 June 2017 15:37

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Supporters from the Zimbabwe Vigil’s earliest days, now scattered far and wide, were invited to join us to be photographed for the back cover of a book to be published soon about our protest.

The book’s introduction begins: ‘In the fifteenth year of the weekly Vigil under the windows of Zimbabwe House in London, we produce this journal in the hope that real change is in sight and the country can embrace a future free of the malignant Mugabe influence.’

The book, titled ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’, is based on the Vigil’s diaries which over the years have recorded how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. The diaries chronicle the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved.

The introduction cautions people of the dangers of further co-operation with Zanu PF’s divisive legacy. It says: ‘They say the leopard never changes its spots. Our fear is that, with the departure of Mugabe, the people of Zimbabwe may again have the Zanu PF leopard foisted on them in some form or other. For the likely results be warned by these pages.‘

All proceeds from the book will go to help the Vigil finance its work in Zimbabwe, which ranges from humanitarian aid to voter education. Much of this is carried out by the sister organisation the Vigil set up at home, the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe.

ROHR’s latest project is to help the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP) which aims to train 100,000 civilian peacekeepers to overcome fear and intimidation, particularly in the rural areas, during next year’s elections.

On Friday about 150 ROHR supporters staged a peace march in the centre of Chitungwiza in defiance of an unconstitutional police attempt to stop them. ROHR President Ephraim Tapa told us that the police later raided the homes of several of the organisers and ordered them to report to the police on Monday. Legal representation is being obtained.

Ephraim said the police had earlier refused to allow a peace march planned in Harare at the end of May. He said ‘this is against the constitution which stipulates that people only have to notify the police about a demonstration, not get permission. It is the police who are being lawless and we must challenge this.’

Other points

  • Ephraim encouraged people to help raise sponsorship for a  walk on Saturday 1st July organised by Daizy Fabian to raise funds for ZimPAP.  The walkers  will cover 15 miles from Ilford planning to reach the Vigil by 2 pm.
  • A proof copy of the book was passed around at the the Vigil and aroused much interest – though not perhaps as much as the annual parade of more  than a hundred naked and semi-naked cyclists down the Strand past the Embassy. Fortunately for them the weather was bright and sunny this year.
  •  We managed to catch a picture of Mugabe next to the Ambassador’s car. He looked horrified at the cyclists.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Mavis Chisvo, Enock Dzonga, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Netsayi Makarichi, Rosemary Maponga, Margaret Munenge, Charles Mupawose, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Edmore Pedzisai, Rumbidzayi Sambana and Michael Sirewu. Thanks to Mavis, Catherine Musa and Netsayi for looking after the front table, to Rosemary, Enock and Rumbidzayi for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Mduduzi, Rumbidzayi, Fungayi, Jonathan, Edmore, Charles and Netsayi for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Nyarai Masvosva for the extra photos and to Fungayi for wearing our Mugabe mask. 

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: 29 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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Best educated idiots? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd June 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 June 2017 13:51

Zimbabweans love myths. One of the proofs is the popularity of the suave, sharply-dressed salesmen promising them everything they pray for. Like Mugabe. 

Here we bump into one of the great myths of our age: ‘Zimbabweans are the best-educated people in Africa’. If this was ever true it is surely impossible to claim this today with our run-down schools and malnourished pupils and our premier university’s two-month doctorate for Grace Mugabe.

This is not to say our people are stupid. Far from it.  Zanu PF is proof of this. Their well-oiled 2018 election strategy is already underway. It is felt everywhere. Mbare for instance is out of bounds to the MDC. Not that there is anything new in the strategy, but they have the intelligence to just go on repeating what works.

This is shown in the experience of our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe which was given the old run-around when they applied to the police for clearance for their constitutional right to stage a peaceful demonstration in Harare at the end of May. For weeks they were made to report to Harare Central to receive clearance only to be turned down at the last minute and threatened with arrest.

Activist Linda Masarira, a member of ROHR, has posted a facebook article titled ‘The election manual: how to rig an election in an Idiocracy’. It begins: ‘Have you noticed that the ruling party is not concerned about the 2018 election? Do you often wonder why? The answer is simple, they have the election bagged!' (See: https://www.facebook.com/lindatsungiriraimasarira/posts/712376948964776.)

The Vigil thinks the best hope for Zimbabwe is the ousting of Mugabe’s disciple President Zuma. His blatant corruption has eroded support for the ANC which may be forced to sack him. This would clear the way for a reformist South African president who would probably have little patience for genocidal geriatrics like Mugabe, whose latest anti-White rants about South Africa can only help this process (see: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/2017/06/03/mugabe-speaks-out-against-white-capital-in-sa-and-zimbabwe_a_22123777/).

Vigil Co-ordinator Fungayi Mabhunu agrees with Linda Masarira’s conclusion that the answer to election rigging lies with the people. He said they must be empowered to overcome the fear instilled by Zanu PF. But he has little trust in opposition politicians who he believes only want to rejoin the gravy train. ‘The way forward must be a transitional authority to take over from Zanu PF, for which the Vigil is asking for UN support,’ he said.

Other points

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: 46 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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Rotten to the core – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th May 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 28 May 2017 13:26

Figures are important, particularly for Zimbabwe where they simply don’t add up. Let’s start with Mugabe’s trip to the Mexican resort of Cancun less than a week after he returned from seeing his doctors in Singapore. 

Mugabe travelled by chartered airliner with an entourage of three dozen people.  All of them received a daily allowance of at least $1,000. Some would have got considerably more, among them three cabinet ministers who would be obliged by the dignity of their office to stay in the best suites in the most expensive hotels. That will prove to Mugabe’s opponents that Zimbabwe is doing alright, won’t it?

Why were they in Mexico? One wonders if it was just for the expenses. The routine UN meeting on ‘disaster risk reduction’ was attended by only the odd head of state like Mugabe who, this time, was apparently denied his usual grand-standing opportunity. Mugabe is said to have left Mexico ‘not too pleased’ before the conference ended. His entourage was presumably ‘not too pleased’ at losing some per diems out of the millions of dollars in cash that Mugabe takes with him every time he moves (or is this cache only for his own expenses?).

Some more figures: last year Mugabe made more than 20 trips abroad, spending $36 million in ten months according to the finance ministry. This year has seen no slowdown.

Herald scribe Mabasa Sasa, who was one of the $1,000 a day fellow travellers, came up with a scoop: President Mugabe told the media on arrival home that ‘natural and manmade disasters that Zimbabwe has experienced in recent years have made Government wiser to the need to prepare for such exigencies’ – such as not building homes in waterways. He went on to report: ‘President Mugabe was welcomed at Harare International Airport by Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet ministers and other senior Government officials, and service chiefs.’ (See: http://www.herald.co.zw/zim-ups-disaster-mitigation-drive/.)

Vice-President Mnangagwa will no doubt have given Mugabe the happy news that the government had exceeded Zanu PF’s election promise of creating 2.2 million jobs. This is indeed news to the 90%+ of the population who are looking for work.

MDC T legislator Eddie Cross, in an article on corruption in Zimbabwe, says ‘I can think of 4 Ministers in Government whom I am prepared to say are honest and not involved in any material corruption – but the rest, 30 of them, are rotten to the core and do not miss an opportunity to make a margin on anything over which they have control.’

He continues: ‘The evidence of corruption on a massive and pervasive scale is everywhere – estates of homes that would look good on a Hollywood Boulevard. Ministers, earning a few thousand dollars a month, accumulating tens of millions of dollars of property, luxury cars with wives and girl friends swimming in luxuries of every kind. Even Mr Mugabe, who earns a very modest salary, has luxury homes in Harare, Zvimba, South Africa, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The Head of a Medical Aid Society that provides medical cover to the Civil Service; steals US$35 million in three years, is fired and no further action is taken.’

Perhaps it’s time Mr Mugabe gave up his travels and paid some attention to what is going on at home.

Other points

  • The Vigil did not forget Africa Day. We remembered by ending the Vigil by singing ‘Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica’ with special fervour.
  • We were joined by members of the MDC who asked us to publicise a protest about the diaspora vote on Wednesday 14th June. More details of this later.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Vimbayi Chambara, Joseph Chivayo, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Etines Kapiya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Theodora Mandishaya, Roseline Mukucha, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Charles Mupawose, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Casper Nyamakura, Emilia Nyamhandu, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Pearl Shambare and Rufaro Zondesa, Thanks to Roseline, Tsitsi and Pearl for looking after the front table, to Esther, Cephas, Faith Ndhlovu and Flemming Diza for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Charles, Daizy, Margaret, Vimbayi and Isabell for putting up the banners. A special thank you to Nyarai Masvosva who brought sadza and stew to sell to raise funds for ROHR’s ZimPAP project and to Daizy and Margaret for selling and serving the food. Thanks also to Bev Mutandiro for bringing savoury snacks, bananas and fruit juice for us 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: 38 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 3rd June 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 3rd June from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 10th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • MDC demonstration on the Diaspora Vote. Wednesday 14th June outside the Zimbabwe Embassy London. Further details when we have them.
  • 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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The wet road to freedom – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th May 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 21 May 2017 19:53

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The Zimbabwean diaspora gave ROHR activist Sipho Ndlovu a hero’s welcome when he arrived at the Vigil after a marathon seven-day bike ride through England to raise money to stop political violence in Zimbabwe and teach people in the rural areas what their voting rights are.

Sipho braved roads flooded by heavy rain on his 324 mile ride from Nottingham to London, which took in six other towns. He said some of the roads were like rivers. The weather took a toll on his bike and also his phone, which he was relying on for navigation.

Fortunately members of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe were waiting to meet him at the end of each day and they arranged to have the bike fixed and lent him a phone, as well as organising food, dry clothes, a hot bath and a place to sleep.

Sipho’s toughest day was on the long stretch from Oxford to Southampton when he was lashed by rain all day. ROHR supporters were following his progress closely and, when he was still 20 miles from Southampton, ROHR President Ephraim Tapa sent encouragement: ‘Go on soldier. We are with you all the way.’ On the next leg to Reading ROHR women waited for six hours in the drizzle to welcome Sipho.

Sipho’s welcome at the Vigil began with a prayer of thanks for his safe return led by Sister Bev Mutandiro. Daizy Fabian, Chair of ROHR Central London branch, said how important his contribution to the peace project was. She said ROHR and the Vigil must continue to support efforts for peace, justice and freedom in Zimbabwe. Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton praised Sipho for his determination in completing his challenge through a very tough week.  The way ROHR and the Vigil had rallied around to support Sipho showed that there was a strong family feeling in the group.

The money raised by the bike ride will support the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP), which aims to train 100,000 civilian peacekeepers and overcome fear and intimidation during next year’s elections. To sponsor Sipho, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovu.

In one of the latest reports of pre-election violence. the MDC T Vice-President Thokozani Khupe said police officers fired teargas when she was attending a voter registration campaign meeting at a supporter’s home in Lupane Ward 9. ‘It was during that meeting that police attacked us unprovoked,’ she said.

MDC T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said the unwarranted crackdown justified calls for outside intervention in the 2018 elections. He said the attack on Khupe and party supporters was evidence that Zanu PF, aided by a partisan police force, was not ready for a free and fair election.  ‘This is a harbinger of what awaits us. As we go towards 2018, Zanu PF will use all methods to push the country to a pre-determined electoral outcome and without SADC, the African Union and the United Nations we are never going to have free and fair polls,’ he said (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/05/20/police-attack-khupe/).

The discovery of more graves in Gokwe dating from the 2008 election violence underlines the importance of action to support peaceful elections this time. Midlands MDC T Senator Morgan Komichi told the Senate that he had just been shown the newly-discovered graves in various locations and local people were fearful because they associated elections with violence. He said violence was structural because it was ingrained in the procedures and administration of elections. ‘This can be removed from our society if we all agree that we are denouncing violence.’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-more-mass-graves-discovered/).

Thanks to all ROHR members who turned out to welcome, support and send Sipho safely on his journey in the towns he visited:

  • Nottingham: Chamunorwa Chisuko and Sally Mutseyami  
  • Leicester: Christopher Kamuzonde, Enniah Dube, Moline Nyabonda and Yvonne Makombe.  
  • Birmingham: Tecla Bandawe, Mercy Chapepa, Thandiwe Gwarumba, Gladys Muduve, Rumbidzai Mudyanadzo and Tarisai Murwira
  • Oxford: George Chinamhora  
  • Southampton: Ben Semwayo, Jacob Mandipira, Maxmus Savanhu, Hildah Mudzinganyama, Chipo Mtetwa and Nontokozo Ncube 
  • Reading: Shylette Chipangura, Deborah Harry, Alice Shimika and Josephine Jombe
  • Slough: Fungisai Mupandira,  Patricia Masamba, Iline Manhunzi, Anna Mwanza and Nkosikona Tshabangu
  • London: Daizy Fabian, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Maxmus Savanhu, Nyarai Masvosva, Cephas Maswoswa, Edward Ndlovu, Margaret Munenge, Fungayi Mabhunu, Catherine Musa, Cecilliah Phiri, Shepherd Nyamandi, Ishmael Makina, Charles Mupawose, Barnie Mandimika, Eletha Mpofu, Bev Mutandiro, Faith Ndhlovu, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Roseline Mukucha, Phillip Mahlahla and Alfredy Mukuvare.

Special thanks: to Sally Mutseyami of ROHR’s publicity department for ensuring that the information about the bike ride got as wide circulation and publicity as possible, to Ben Semwayo who lent his phone to Sipho and to Notokozo Ncube who paid for Sipho’s dinner and drove Ben to his house to fetch the phone, to Chris Kamuzonde who paid for a hotel room for Sipho in Leicester, to ROHR Birmingham for taking Sipho out to a meal after he had been greeted at the Vigil and to Rumbi Sambana for making the ‘Welcome back Sipho’ poster.

Other points

  • It was good to have Cephas Maswoswa with us. He thanked everyone for their support for him when he lost his 22-year-old son.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Lizzie Dziruni, Daizy Fabian, Phillip Mahlahla, Nyarai Masvosva, Eletha Mpofu, Roseline Mukucha, Margaret Munenge, Charles Mupawose, Edward Ndlovu and Caroline Witts. Thanks to Roseline, Eletha and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table, to Faith Ndhlovu, Alice Shimika and  Cathrine for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Charles, Edward, Nyarai, Daizy, Margaret Alfredy Mukuvare and Mduduzi Ndlovu for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Nyarai for bringing cakes 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: 36 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

LAST_UPDATED2
 
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