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Here we go again – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th June 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 June 2019 12:07

Mnangagwa has made clear that Zimbabwe will have its own currency again by the end of the year. Economist and former senior MDC MP Eddie Cross says it will be the strongest currency in the region. The Vigil respectfully disagrees.

We bottom wipers in Britain are not economists but have watched the Zimbabwe economy slide from bad to worse over the last 20 years or so, with astronomic inflation destroying their hopes for the future and reducing their families to poverty. Inflation is now tipped to reach 280% by the year’s end.

To us the cause of Zimbabwe’s problems seems to be rampant corruption and government ineptitude and, for all the talk, we have seen no serious effort to deal with this. How many known corrupt Zanu PF bigwigs are in jail? None.

Tendai Biti’s criticism of hitherto calm Finance Minister Ncube, made on the sidelines of a book launch in London last week, has provoked the minister into an hysterical response. This will only increase skepticism about the success of his handling of the economy.

The diaspora has no faith in a Zanu PF government and, if the new currency is introduced, we fully expect it to devalue rapidly, leading to yet another chase for the US dollar which has proved such an easy route to wealth for Zanu PF crooks in the past.

The truth is that Zanu PF never changes. It always reverts to dodgy practices that have kept it in power for going on 40 years – violence and corruption. It has become well-skilled in both, with tacit international support. So why should they change a winning formula?

Other points

  • Zanu PF has certainly been a money spinner for Grace Mugabe. Mnangagwa says that she has been shown in a land audit to own 16 farms, in flagrant violation of government policy of one farm per person. Zanu PF also seems to have paid off for MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena who has just paid a quarter of a million dollars for a Lamborghini. And at an auction this week Zanu PF oil tycoon Kuda Tagwirei paid 250,000 RTGS dollars for a trademark scarf worn by the President. Only a few months ago a similar scarf fetched only a fraction of this sum.
  • Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, plans to launch a Youth Activist Network (YAN) next year. It has asked for our help and writes: we're currently surveying young people about what they think should be included in the design of the YAN, how it should operate and issues it should prioritise etc. We wondered if you'd be able to share the survey with young people within your network so that we have as many voices from Zimbabwe or who are friends of Zimbabwe as possible involved in the design stage. The survey and a full explanation of the YAN is here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CT726QK.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table today and put up the banners: Shylette Chipangura, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Rosemary Maponga, Lucia Mudzimu, Esther Munyira, Mary Muteyerwa, Sindile Ncube, Hazvinei Saili, Bigboy Sibanda, Ephraim Tapa, Mary Taruvinga and Bridget Zhakata. Thanks to Rosemary, Josephine and Shylette for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei, Bigboy, Lucia and Nyarai for handing out flyers, to Mary for drumming and to Tatenda Mandiki, Esther, Jonathan and Lucia for photos. Thanks also to the group (Hellena Gusinyu, Mary Ndoro, Rosemary Maponga, Mary Taruvinga and Rosemary Rubatika) from the women’s wing of the MDC UK who brought flowers to lay at the Embassy door to commemorate the recent death of Tsvangirai’s daughter Vimbai.
  • 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: 29 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 22nd June. 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: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806, Josh 07877246251.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 29th June from 6 pm till late. Venue: Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Simbarashe Jingo 07787870888, Pamela Chirimuta 07762737339, Sikhumbuzule Sibanda 07912210225, and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776.
  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 6th July from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR sponsored walk. Saturday 27th July. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776. More information as plans progress.
  • 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 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. All proceeds 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.
  • Facebook pages:
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Biti challenges Ramaphosa – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th June 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 June 2019 13:49

MDC Deputy National Chair Tendai Biti says President Ramaphosa has a key role to play in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe. And he warned: ‘If Zimbabwe implodes South Africa will suffer’.

Biti was speaking at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London at the launch of a book, Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa's Advantage, to which he contributed. He said Ramaphosa was in the same position as President Mbeki a decade ago when he helped put in place the Government of National Unity in which Biti served as Finance Minister. Ramaphosa must get talks going between President Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa – and London, Washington and Brussels must help ensure a ‘soft landing’.

Biti, sitting next to another contributor to the book, former president Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, said a very cynical landscape was developing in Southern Africa about elections in the light of what he called the prevailing power-retention agenda. The situation had been worsened by the military coup which brought Mnangagwa to power. There had been an expectation of genuine change but the opportunity for a transitional government had been missed and most people now believed that the situation was even worse than under Mugabe.

He described as ‘disastrous’ a recent IMF report on Zimbabwe which – as he put it – ‘painted lipstick on a crocodile’. In reality, conditions were now so bad that it was a daily struggle to survive. He spoke of state capture and said it was essential that cartels exploiting the situation were broken up. Biti added a warning to both Ramaphosa and Mnangagwa: the military coup that toppled Mugabe was now ‘copybook’ for the whole region.

The UK government has assured the Vigil that it will only support the readmission of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth if it complies with the values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. ‘We have been clear that the disproportionate use of force by security forces, as seen in January 2019, is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Charter’ it said in a letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1017-letter-to-the-vigil-from-foreign-office-may-2019).

The letter was in response to a Vigil petition which also demanded that the Zimbabwe government acknowledges the Gukurahundi genocide. The Foreign Office letter says ‘We welcomed President Mnangagwa’s signing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill in 2018. However, this needs to be enacted and form part of a more comprehensive plan of credible national dialogue and healing for Zimbabwe. The UK stands ready in friendship to support a Zimbabwe that fully embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform. We have been clear that international support will be based on genuine political and economic reforms.’   

The Vigil petition reads: Zimbabwe must reform: Zimbabwe wants to rejoin the Commonwealth. Although Mugabe has gone, his fascist Zanu PF party with the backing of the military remains firmly in power. Zimbabweans in exile urge the UK not to support readmission to the Commonwealth until the regime reforms and acknowledges the genocide of some 20,000 Ndebeles by the Zanu PF regime in the 1980s.

Other points

  • Vigil activists were startled at the sight of hundreds of nude cyclists riding along the Strand. They were part of an annual global protest against oil dependency and car culture and to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table today and put up the banners: Marvellous Chinguwa, Pamela Chirimuta, Beaulah Gore, Patrick Hale, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Tatenda Mandiki, Dambudzo Marimira, Patricia Masamba, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Margaret Munenge, Richard Munyama, Mary Muteyerwa, Evangelista Ndlovu, Casper Nyamakura, Hazvinei Saili, Sinkiwe Sigola, Ephraim Tapa and Bridget Zhakata. Thanks to Josephine for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei and Marvellous for handing out flyers, to Mary and Margaret for drumming and to Casper, Jonathan and Patricia for 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: 24 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 22nd June. 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: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806, Josh 07877246251.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 29th June from 6 pm till late. Venue: Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Simbarashe Jingo 07787870888, Pamela Chirimuta 07762737339, Sikhumbuzule Sibanda 07912210225, and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776.
  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 6th July from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR sponsored walk. Saturday 27th July. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776. More information as plans progress.
  • 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 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. All proceeds 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.
  • Facebook pages:
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Letter to the Vigil from Foreign Office - May 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 18:31

Dear Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators,  

Thank you for your letter to the Prime Minister of 27 April enclosing your petition about Zimbabwe’s readmission to the Commonwealth. I am replying as a member of the Southern Africa Team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

It is not for the UK to decide if Zimbabwe is to rejoin the Commonwealth. The final decision is for all Commonwealth members. The UK would only support re-admission provided Zimbabwe meets the admission requirements, complying with the values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. We have been clear that the disproportionate use of force by security forces, as seen in January 2019, is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Charter.

The UK Government condemns the brutal suppression in Matabeleland in the early 1980s and supports the process of truth and reconciliation envisaged under the 2013 Constitution. This would allow the historical record to be established and victims of political and ethnic violence and their relatives to feel some justice has been served. We welcomed President Mnangagwa’s signing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill in 2018. However, this needs to be enacted and form part of a more comprehensive plan of credible national dialogue and healing for Zimbabwe.

The UK stands ready in friendship to support a Zimbabwe that fully embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform. We have been clear that international support will be based on genuine political and economic reforms.   
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Embassy vs the people – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st June 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 02 June 2019 12:15

The Zimbabwe Embassy refused to accept a letter from the Vigil on Friday and instead called the police to clear us away from the building. The letter protests at the involvement of Embassy officials in the asylum process – not that the Embassy waited to read it before pressing the emergency button.

Ephraim Tapa, President of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, led the delegation. He said: ‘We put the original letter into the post as per police advice and slipped a copy under the door of the Embassy. However, they repeatedly kicked our letter back and for a while it was one of us pushing the letter in from the outside and them pushing it out from the other side. Eventually we relented and retreated to our usual space. It was an interesting, fruitful but funny midday indeed! 

How things have changed since the new Ambassador Colonel Christian M Katsande came to London last year, when he approached the Vigil, bought a copy of our book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ and said we must have a meeting with him. Now that we take up his invitation we have the door slammed in our face.

Our letter read:

Dear Ambassador

The involvement of Zimbabwe Embassy officials in Home Office interviews with asylum seekers is causing much alarm among the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK.

We regard Zimbabwe now as a military dictatorship where human rights abuses are rife and opponents of the government are at serious risk. On top of that, we know that the economy is in a state of collapse with fuel and power shortages, growing poverty and widespread hunger.

Asylum seekers fear that the involvement of Embassy officials in the asylum process will lead to their identification as opponents of the government with consequent victimisation on return to Zimbabwe. 

If anything we believe the Zimbabwean authorities should help expatriates achieve settled status in the UK so that they can acquire further education, train and work and remit foreign exchange to Zimbabwe while preparing to go back and rebuild the country.

We call on the Zimbabwe government to put an end to human rights abuse, investigate past atrocities and bring perpetrators to book, rebuilding investor confidence by facilitating clean politics.

Events at home in the past week have confirmed what we say in the letter, with the arrest of seven human rights activists accused of plotting against the government and reports that, while people are starving, millions of dollars are being spent on equipment for the security forces, including water cannons and tear gas cannisters.

For a taste of the paranoia gripping Zanu PF, we suggest you look at the Herald’s hysterical report ‘US-backed demo stutters (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/us-backed-demo-stutters/).

Other points

  • Corruption is now endemic in Zimbabwe so it comes as little surprise that it even extends to Amnesty International, which has suspended all operations in Zimbabwe after evidence of massive fraud by local management (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/amnesty-international-shuts-down-zimbabwe-operations-over-fraud/).
  • Thanks to those who were at Friday’s well-attended protest: Shylette Chipangura, Pamela Chirimuta, Babula Gwatiringa, Patrick Hale, Simbarashe Jingo, Jane Kaphuwa, Jonathan Kariwo, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Patricia Masamba, Kudzai Mashiri, Lucia Mudzimu, Esther Munyira, Collen Mupazviriho, Tapiwa Muskwe, Mary Muteyerwa, Viola Nyika, Tsitsi Nyirongo, Sikhumbuzule, Sibanda, Locardia Takawira and Ephraim Tapa. Special thanks to Esther and Ephraim for organising the protest and the register and to Lucia and Mary for leading the singing.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table today and put up the banners: Tatenda Mandika, Rosemary Maponga, Gertrude Mudede, Esther Munyira, Fungisai Mupandira, Bridget Mupotsa, Hazvinei Saili and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Rosemary and Esther for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei, Bridget and Simbarashe Jingo for handing out flyers, to Fungisai for drumming and to Esther and Fungisai for 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: 13 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 8th June from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 29th June from 6 pm till late. Venue: Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Simbarashe Jingo 07787870888, Pamela Chirimuta 07762737339, Sikhumbuzule Sibanda 07912210225, and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776.
  • ROHR sponsored walk. Saturday 27th July. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776. More information as plans progress.
  • 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 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. All proceeds 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.
  • Facebook pages:
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Mnangagwa must come clean on Gukurahundi - Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th April 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 30 May 2019 18:22

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/33844045238/sizes/c/ 

Today the Vigil presented a petition to the UK Prime Minister’s residence urging her to insist that President Mnangagwa accounts for the Gukurahundi genocide.

The petition reads: ‘Zimbabwe has reportedly been encouraged by the UK Government to apply to rejoin the Commonwealth. Zimbabweans in exile in the UK, and supporters, urge the UK not to support readmission until the ruling Zanu PF satisfactorily addresses the genocide of some 20000 Ndebeles in the 1980s. A simple apology would be a start but we believe an independent truth and reconciliation process offers the best hope of healing the still bleeding wounds.’

You may ask why at this time, amid Zimbabwe’s economic woes, with ever rising prices and climatic turbulence threatening lives and crops, the Vigil chooses to make Gukurahundi our challenge to the UK government. Well, the reason is that it is an open sore which the Ndebele people will never forgive until there is a genuine apology and compensation. Until this is forthcoming our country will always be divided.

This division extends to the Zimbabwean community in the UK. An Ndebele group sometimes demonstrates alongside us outside the Embassy, but they refuse to join us. Their protest involves only one issue: Gukurahundi – even after the lapse of more than 30 years.

South Africa, after the end of Apartheid, set the pace for reconciliation with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. After listening to the evidence of the aggrieved, it was able to offer amnesty to those who admitted their fault and repented in public.

Two years ago, before he was overthrown, Mugabe set up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission but its progress has been slow and it lacks the independence and the wide remit of its South African counterpart. Bulawayo-based civil society organizations comprising the Matabeleland Collective want the remit of the Commission to be widened and have demanded the release of two government reports on Gukurahundi which have been kept secret. Even the chair of the Commission Mr Justice Nare says he has been unable to get hold of the reports (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2019/04/26/gukurahundi-pressure-groups-demand-truth-from-mnangagwa/, https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2019/04/26/survivors-want-gukurahundi-perpetrators-prosecuted-nare/ and https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-160903.html).

Retired Justice Nare says that some feel that people should be prosecuted for having played a role in Gukurahundi and that there should also be compensation. It is clear that if the Commission is to resolve what Mugabe spoke of as a ‘moment of madness’, it will need considerably more resources. The United Kingdom and the United States, which both failed to respond adequately to the genocide, may well see their way to helping finance the Commission if they were assured of its independence.

Other points

  • A big thank you to Esther Munyira for organising the presentation of the Vigil petition to 10 Downing Street – from arranging police permission to leading the group to Downing Street and liaising with the police on site. Thanks to the other petitioners: Miriam Gasho, Casper Nyamakura, Marian Machekanyanga and Joseph Simbarashe Jingo for taking the petition into Downing Street. Thanks also to those who stayed behind to look after the Vigil: Patience Muyeye, Jonathan Kariwo and Ephraim Tapa.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Miriam, Joseph Simbarashe, Jane Kaphuwa, Jonathan, Marian, Esther, Tapiwa Muskwe, Mary Muteyerwa, Patience, Casper, Sikhumbuzule Sibanda, Ephraim and Reuben Waretsa. Thanks to Patience and Jonathan for looking after the front table, to Jane and Alice Majola for handing out flyers and to Casper, Jonathan, Tapiwa, Reuben, Patience, Richard Munyama, Heather Makawa and Tatenda Mandiki for 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: 37 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • 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 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. All proceeds 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.
  • Facebook pages:
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