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British diplomacy condemned – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd February 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 03 February 2019 16:42

British diplomacy on Zimbabwe came in for a mauling in a parliamentary debate this week and there were demands to suspend any re-engagement with the Mnangagwa government, oppose Zimbabwe being readmitted to the Commonwealth and seek intervention by international organisations such as the UN, AU and SADC to get soldiers withdrawn to barracks. 

The debate, attended by Africa Minister Harriett Baldwin, was led by the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, Kate Hoey, who said there was no doubt that the British Embassy in Harare had become too identified with Zanu PF.

She asked: ‘Will the Minister confirm that Her Majesty’s Government, and particularly the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have learnt a lesson from what I would call the ill-advised cosying-up to the Zimbabwean leadership, which owed its position, power and loyalty to the military and political machine that manoeuvred to install it and not to the people of Zimbabwe through a free and fair electoral process? I will not go into more detail; the Minister knows what I am talking about. There is no doubt that our embassy in Zimbabwe had become too identified, rightly or wrongly—I think wrongly—with ZANU PF.’

Ms Hoey went on: ‘I want to make sure that the Minister realises that those of us who urged caution, particularly Zimbabweans who have long had to cope with the machinations of ZANU PF brutality and the manipulation of international opinion, were rebuffed by some officials in our embassy who thought that they knew better. I hope that we have learnt that lesson.’ 

A former Africa Minister James Dudderidge acknowledged that he had in the past accused Kate Hoey of being ‘a bit pessimistic’: ‘Sadly, again, she has been proved right and a realist about the situation.’

Ms Hoey opened the debate saying: ‘The systematic abuse and actual torture of individuals continues as we speak. The women who have been raped by soldiers have nowhere to report these crimes, because the rule of law in Zimbabwe has broken down.’

She continued: ‘People were too afraid to move around, because of the burning of vehicles. They knew that many of the soldiers were doing this, but not in uniform. The Zimbabwean Government had the audacity to think that people would believe their story that these people had gone to army barracks or police stations, stolen the uniforms and then taken part in this activity. Of course, that was complete nonsense.

‘I could go on for a long time about all the terrible things that have happened, but there is no doubt that Mnangagwa knew what was going on. Whatever he has said about what he will do, nothing has happened—none of the responsible people have been prosecuted. For me, one of the most dangerous things is how the constitution is being completely ignored and the level to which the rule of law has been trampled on by the executive, the army, the police, the national prosecuting authority and some elements of the judiciary.’

Summing up the debate was an MP of the Scottish National Party, Peter Grant, who said the international community must intervene. He spoke of numerous allegations of women being gang-raped by uniformed soldiers.

‘The changing response from the authorities is notable and revealing. Initially, as always happens in such cases, they tried to deny anything had happened. They denied that there had been violence and said that such violence as there was had somehow been the responsibility of the protestors. Then they admitted that the police and army had used force, but claimed that it had been proportionate. A Government spokesman told the BBC, “When things get out of hand, a bit of firmness is needed”. It was only when there was incontrovertible video evidence that could not be claimed to be fake, making it clear that police and army officers were involved in assaults, that the authorities finally accepted it had been happening. Chillingly, the President’s own spokesperson said the crackdown was “just a foretaste of things to come”.’

The Africa Minister said the response of the security forces to the protests against the petrol price rise had been disproportionate and reminiscent of the darkest days of the Mugabe regime. President Mnangagwa must act to stop the abuses.

To watch the debate see: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/1d5bcc85-bc13-42dd-9e2f-f6acb22f7750 and for the Hansard transcript check: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-01-30/debates/93C7CC8B-4AC6-4BD1-9278-A6122A767554/Zimbabwe#contribution-3405B70F-A832-4214-B10E-318F9F628139.

Other points

  • In the debate Ms Hoey mentioned the Vigil: ‘There has been a worrying trend recently, which may stop again now, of some of the Zimbabwean diaspora being sent back as part of the euphoria about the supposedly new regime. The Zimbabwe Vigil, which carries out a vigil on Saturday afternoons outside the Zimbabwean embassy and has maintained its solidarity and support for people in Zimbabwe, is worried that the Home Office is perhaps being too quick off the mark to send people back there where they could be taken into custody.’
  • It was good to have with us at the Vigil today members of ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa).
  • Support for Zimbabwean trade unionists came from the British Trades Union Congress who demonstrated outside the London Embassy on Friday. African trade unionists have also been supportive. The Nigeria Labour Congress demonstrated outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in Abuja. The Botswana Federation of Trade Unions have written to Mnangagwa calling for the release of detained Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions leaders. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) plan a demonstration in solidarity with ZCTU and Zimbabwe citizens on Wednesday 6th February at 9 am at the Beit Bridge border gate, Musina, Limpopo.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Jane Kaphuwa, Alice Majola, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Getrude Makosvo, Richard Munyama, Farai Murowa, Casper Nyamakura, Sikhumbuzule Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Alice and Farai for looking after the front table, to Jane, Heather and Chido for handing out flyers and to Heather, Casper, Ephraim, Netsayi Makarichi, and Daizy Fabian for photographs.
  • 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: 42 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 9th February from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 16th February 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 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 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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Zanu PF goes mad – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 January 2019 15:41

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/46753130702/sizes/c/

‘Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad’, goes the old adage. It seems to be coming true in our new ‘reformed’ Zimbabwe so warmly welcomed last year by the UK government. The UK is not smiling now as reports come in of brutal repression of widespread discontent.

The Zimbabwean security services seem to have gone mad if we can believe accounts talking of eyes being gouged out and fingers chopped off, doors being smashed in and whole families beaten, road blocks . . . (see: https://citizen.co.za/news/news-africa/2066480/reports-of-terror-torture-after-second-zim-internet-shutdown/).

And it is not only the army and police who are crazy if you read the paranoid allegations by Zanu PF that a ‘superpower’ – apparently the United States – is behind the unrest (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2019/01/2m-for-protest-leaders-zbc.html).

The sad truth is that there is now little interest in Zimbabwe in the outside world. After a week of dramatic developments in Zimbabwe the UK Times today devoted only one paragraph to the situation – and that was on page 46 and rather ill-informed.

The UK Foreign Office told us this week they were too busy to have a meeting with us to discuss the perilous situation. So we tried to draw attention to the crisis at a Vigil outside the Embassy today attended by about 200 Zimbabweans from all over the country. The main theme was Zimbabwe ‘open not for business but for repression’.

Despite the clampdown on communications, here are some of the reports the Vigil has received in the last couple of days. The first is from human rights campaigner Ben Freeth who attended the opening of the phony trial of Pastor Evan Mawarire (see: https://media.wix.com/ugd/02876c_92a44a219cce4c84bc3c70c29298c952.pdf).

Veteran observer Cathy Buckle speaks in her latest letter of life as seen from a smaller town (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/990-zimbabwe-the-silencing-of-our-voices).

Another report is from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. He says Zanu PF knows what it’s doing: total terror. ‘After all, you cannot be the cure when in fact you are the problem’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/991-life-beyond-survival-coping-mechanisms).

Other points

  • It was good to be joined by old friends now dispersed around the country: Patson Muzuwa, Dumi Tutani, Peter Tatchell and Christopher Maphosa.umi Tutani, Peter Tatchell and Christopher Maphosa.
  • Thanks to those who helped out today: Ephraim Tapa and Taiwa Muskwe for putting up the banners, Patience Muyeye (who arrived at 10 am), Josephine Jombe and Fungisai Mupandira for looking after the front table, Patience, Josephine and Rosemary Maponga for selling flags and Rosemary, Bigboy Sibanda, Blessing Goronga, Edmore Pedzisai, Deborah Harry, Bianca Mpawaenda, Chido Makawa and Tawanda Chitate for handing out flyers. Thanks to Jonathan Kariwo, Patience and Heather Makawa 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: about 200 attended the Vigil.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th February 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.
  • 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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‘Poor, bankrupt, miserable country’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 January 2019 15:40

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Gf-F1GNqVSHneqnUawYbdpwUhsxA_DavrWn6QZSzFQIXO3Q43Mn_GHpWFbgOLURJsnj_dhiJV0k2wVABwEiJKhiCr6b3pzQ9=s750

This description by British minister Alan Duncan was spot on. He was speaking on his way to the UN to discuss Venezuela. But he could equally well have been talking about Zimbabwe.

Venezuela was seen by the UN to be the more pressing problem. 20 years ago it was one of the richest countries in Latin America with perhaps the largest oil reserves in the world. All was set fair until a socialist ideologue came to power. Inflation exceeded one million per cent last year. A tenth of the people have fled the country in the last four years. Food is scarce, leaving half of children malnourished. What medicine you can get must be paid for in US dollars.

Sound familiar? But here the paths diverge. In Venezuela hundred of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets and the opposition leader declared himself President, immediately supported by neighbouring Colombia and the continental giants Brazil and Argentina, as well as the United States (and the UK).

In Zimbabwe, when the people took to the streets  the government launched a campaign of intimidation, beating and torturing civilians including women and children as young as nine. But there has been no criticism from neighbouring giant South Africa. On the contrary, President Ramaphosa chose to throw in his lot with Zanu PF, appealing at the Davos summit for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted because the country was ‘on the right path’. If this is the right path then Zimbabwe is doomed.

The Vigil thinks that Zimbabwe is on the wrong path and fears it has been joined on it by South Africa. The irony of ironies is that even the South African demagogue Julius Malema has condemned the Zimbabwean repression.

We think it’s a pity that Ramaphosa turned down Mnangagwa’s recent plea for a billion dollar loan to bail out Zimbabwe. Ramaphosa, reportedly himself a billionaire, claims South Africa does not have the money. But he would have found sympathetic governments ready to back a loan in return for talks on a power-sharing deal necessary if Zimbabwe is ever to regain investor confidence and stop being a ‘poor, bankrupt, miserable country’.

Other points

  • After realising the gravity of the situation rather late, the British media has given saturation coverage to Zimbabwe (see for instance: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/995-who-really-calls-the-shots-in-bloody-zimbabwe-crackdown).
  • Vigil activists have been receiving heartbreaking messages from their families and friends on what’sapp. Sent from a friend on 26/01/2019. ‘The above picture is my nephew. Shot five bullets in the tummy in our family house in Harare this morning This is the fourth member of the family dead this week. Two were in a combi that was shot by the army and overturned when they were trying to escape from the city to Domboshava. Another was shot by army whilst he was escaping to South Africa where he was at University.’ We were also sent a picture of a young man with very swollen lips and the following message: ‘24/01/2019. This guy is my brother and he is in Chikurubi prison. He did nothing but he was watching people demonstrating peacefully and the soldiers and police assaulted him badly. They burned his back and he has wounds all over his back. We are trying to find ways to help him get lawyers and his treatment. He is unwell at the moment. We sent painkillers but they were confiscated for verification. He said pain is too much especially headache.’
  • It was good to be joined by Claire Freeth of the Mike Campbell Foundation and Sunit Bagree of ACTSA.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Josephine Jombe, Thomas Mahasoh, Rosemary Maponga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Patricia Masamba, Lucia Mungwari, Esther Munyira, Patience Muyeye, Bigboy Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Patience and Josephine for looking after the front table and to Bigboy, Thomas, Lucia and Netsayi Makarichi for handing out flyers.
  • 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 16th February 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.
  • Facebook pages:
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Who really calls the shots in bloody Zimbabwe crackdown? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 January 2019 12:45

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/who-really-calls-the-shots-in-bloody-zimbabwe-crackdown-hffzgwbmp 


Who really calls the shots in bloody Zimbabwe crackdown?


Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent - 27 January 2019, The Sunday Times

  

The two girls, one 11 and the other 12, were on their street in the Pumula district of Bulawayo one afternoon, going between each other’s homes, when they made the mistake of peeping through the wall of the police station to see what had happened to their neighbours who had been locked up. They were spotted, dragged in by soldiers and raped in the courtyard.

 

“I’m losing faith in humanity,” said Nkululeko Sibanda, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in tears after speaking to the girls. “What’s happening here is beyond my ability to process.

 

Since exposing the scale of violence in Zimbabwe last weekend, The Sunday Times has been contacted by numerous victims and their families. The hairdresser in hospital after soldiers broke all her fingers. The teenage boy stripped naked with knives by soldiers then flogged after they could not find his uncle, a union leader. Every day more are added to the hundreds detained.

 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa returned from an overseas trip in the early hours of Tuesday, calling the violence “unacceptable”. The shootings may have stopped but the campaign of terror unleashed on Zimbabwe’s poor has continued.

 

While his Cambridge-educated finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, was posting pictures on Twitter yesterday of meeting investors in Zurich after attending Davos, soldiers in Zimbabwe were smashing up small businesses and menacing people on public buses.

 

So who is really in control just 13 months after Zimbabwe celebrated the end of 37 years of dictatorial rule under Robert Mugabe?

 

“It’s all about power,” said Beatrice Mtetwa, Zimbabwe’s leading human rights lawyer. “There can be no question but that Zimbabwe is under military rule — the army is in control.”

 

“This is a battle between reformers and hardliners,” explained a close adviser to Mnangagwa. “Effectively we have two presidents.”

 

The adviser was referring to Mnangagwa and his deputy, General Constantine Chiwenga, who as army chief led the move against Mugabe in November 2017.

 

Those close to both men say there is little love lost between them and that Chiwenga has grown impatient with Mnangagwa for appointing people from his Karanga tribe and profiting from stakes in diamond mines and Zuwa, the country’s biggest petrol station chain.

 

“[Mnangagwa] has become too greedy and people are fed up,” said a foreign businessman who has known both men for decades. “Diamonds, fuel . . . he hasn’t stopped collecting and putting pressure on people."

 

Mnangagwa left the country earlier this month on an investment-raising tour after announcing that fuel prices would more than double. When fuel protests erupted and a nationwide stayaway from work began, Chiwenga decided to act.

 

The Sunday Times has learnt that, at the height of the street crackdown, there were plans either to impeach the president or launch a coup on January 18 — but Chiwenga failed to get enough support from fellow MPs in the ruling Zanu-PF party and the presidential guard remained loyal.

 

Some MPs publicly said they had been threatened by Chiwenga’s men.

 

“They threatened to kill me and harm my family,” tweeted one. “I stand by Mnangagwa. The plot is foiled. They lack numbers for impeachment.”

 

“The whole stayaway and protests was a pretext for the military to come out,” claimed the presidential adviser. “There are so many fissures within government, lots of people aligned to Chiwenga, also some with Grace Mugabe [the wife of Mnangagwa’s predecessor]. There’s also a tribal element It’s a complete mess.”

 

The adviser added: “It’s a battle for the control of Zimbabwe and control of resources, the fact that shit hits the fan the moment he is out of the country I don’t think is a coincidence.”

 

Terence Mukupe, a former Wall Street banker who was Mnangagwa’s deputy finance minister and has family ties to him, also tweeted that he was receiving death threats to switch sides. “I will never sellout on my president,” he wrote. “You are wasting your time threatening to kill me and my family . . . I will never join your sick plot!!! Come get me and do as you please but my president is not going anywhere!!!”

 

Mnangagwa is himself no stranger to violence, having headed the feared CIO intelligence agency during a crackdown in the 1980s in which thousands were killed in Matabeleland.

 

Mukupe insisted to The Sunday Times that Mnangagwa has changed and his focus now really is on reopening the country for business. Referring to a prophecy made by a local pastor last year, he added: “He was told by his prophet if he directly orders spilling of blood that would be the end of his presidency and he believes that.”

 

Mukupe said he had no doubt the army was behind the crackdown. “Look at it this way: he takes off to market the country and those on the ground start carrying out acts contrary to what he is preaching. It was clear sabotage. The army believe it’s they who put the president in power so they should be the ones calling the shots,” he added.

 

Others disagree, arguing that this may be a “good cop bad cop” routine.

 

“I’ve known him many years and he hasn’t changed yet,” said the foreign businessman. “The only way [Mnangagwa] has been able to maintain control is violence on the streets, beating people up — that’s his raison d’être. He was trained by North Korea and as head of CIO was ruthless.”

 

Mtetwa also thinks it is too convenient to blame Chiwenga: “I don’t believe one man has the power to do this without others being in agreement. It’s the entire Zanu-PF system.”

 

Under the Mugabe regime, she was twice arrested and badly beaten three times, and represented scores of people who were detained and tortured. “These are days we thought we would never see again,” she said. “Only this is worse. Using live ammunition, putting 14, 15 and 16-year-olds in custody, wholesale arrests without any evidence . . . We are seeing systematic denial of bail, trials without people even knowing the charges. The courts are violating every rule in the book in what is clearly an orchestrated campaign.”

 

For the past 12 days, Fadsizai Chibanda has gone every day to Chikurubi maximum-security prison in Harare to try to visit her husband, Patrick, who was dragged from their home in a midnight raid at the start of the crackdown. She is borrowing money to pay the bus fares, $6 (£4.55) each way, with nothing coming in because the small pre-school she runs is closed down.

 

She saw him once in court, where he looked dirty and beaten and was, as with all those picked up, denied bail. When she tried taking food to the prison, it was rejected.

 

"They are deliberately starving them,” said Mtetwa, who is representing Evans Mawarire, a well-known pastor who was arrested after calling for non-violent protest against the fuel-price rises. “The prisons have no food and when we take things they refuse to accept it, saying it might have cholera.”

 

No one knows where the crackdown is leading. Though there is clearly no love lost between the president and his deputy, they need each other, says Stephen Chan, professor of world politics at Soas, University of London (the School of Oriental and African Studies) and a regular visitor to Zimbabwe. “General Chiwenga and [Mnangagwa] are not a happy couple but they also can’t live without each other.”

 

Whatever the real reason for it, the violence is a huge disappointment for those who thought things would change post-Mugabe.

 

Among them is Kerry Kay, who knows only too well the scale of Mugabe repression after her husband, Iain, was beaten to within an inch of his life in 2002 by thugs carrying sticks wrapped with barbed wire, who forced them off their farm.

 

The last time I saw her was at the march in November 2017 to call for Mugabe’s resignation, where people cheered the soldiers who had arrested him. Then she was jubilant, hugging everyone and telling me she “felt 17”. Yesterday she was smuggling baby food to a woman who had been locked up with her 11-month-old child.

 

“I’ve documented hundreds of thousands of cases since 1998 and I can’t believe this is happening again,” she said. “These are evil bastards who have so much blood on their hands they could drown in it, and they will do anything to stay in power.”

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Life beyond survival coping mechanisms PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 January 2019 13:33

Life beyond survival coping mechanisms

from an anonymous contributor 18/01/2019

'The start of another week and one in which most people have moderated their expectations. Getting through the week without the car being burnt, or the kids hurt, is a desirable outcome.

While the trade unions and the Opposition have called for the stay-away, they are irrelevant. There are not enough people left in formal jobs and employment for the unions to command any sort of significant membership. The Opposition has also been exposed and discredited, and no one is waiting for the various flavours of the MDC to do anything constructive. They are divided and fully infiltrated.

What we are seeing is something different, and in many ways akin to the “Yellow Jackets” in France. This is the urban poor slowly arriving at the realisation that the massive fuel cost increases, and the shortages and inflation pressures they know will follow, are beyond their survival coping mechanisms. The masses in the townships are slowly living the truth that they do not have a future, and that their children are fated to an existence dominated by hunger.

The ZanuPF-State security apparatus are fully aware that they are facing a leaderless insurrection of the poor. The wailing and gnashing for bread, and an agitation for a more tolerable existence. As such State agents have been widely filmed today in civilian clothing in the townships using AK47’s on any crowds of the poor that they find. They are using selective individual killings to try and frighten and diffuse the anger and energy of the mobs. There will not be the media show this time around of uniformed military shooting veggie sellers.

Naturally the poor and the unemployed are less than enthusiastic about their circumstances, so they are burning police stations, barricading roads, and are trying to make as much of a nuisance of themselves as they can. All while playing cat-and-mouse as they try to avoid risking too much harm to themselves. Without question looting is rife, and there is a breakdown in the structures of law and order in all the major urbanised areas. Central government is not in control of large swathes of the urban areas.

Will the current uprising of the poor improve their lot? No. This is a junta and not a democracy, so the State is content to kill controlled numbers of rioters until the mob loses its cohesion and enthusiasm. In this reality the only voices that count are those reinforced with firearms. In Zimbabwe the rest are just free-range tax payers to be subjugated and mercilessly bled. The chattels and harlots of the State. The children of the poor will go hungry this year, and they will sink deeper into poverty. Their daily grind will worsen as they are denied more and more basic services.

Will the +250% increase in the fuel price, and the attendant consequences, yield any positive results within the economy? No. The fuel queues are here to stay regardless of the pricing model that Ncube and friends try to introduce. Any models that do work involve the civil servants, doctors, teachers etc. unable to access fuel with their Zimbabwe Dollar salaries.

We have a situation where any policy choices that improve the economy, directly hurt and marginalise special interest groups within ZanuPF. The interests of the Party faithful would have to be sacrificed for the greater good. There are no policy options available to ZanuPF today that will jump start the economy and allow a developmental track to be developed. You can not be the cure when in fact you are the problem. This is the conundrum that has enveloped the country since the military coup a year ago, and no progress has been made since then to install a credible and effective narrative.

As we move closer to the formal re-introduction of the Zimbabwe Dollar, and the criminalisatiion of hard currency holdings by anyone outside of the ZanuPF gangster elite, the crisis will continue to deepen. This movie is a long, long way from over, and the suffering and stories have just begun. 

The rain in Harare today sent everyone scurrying for cover, but no doubt the sports will resume in the morning. Going to be a long week.

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