Draconian new law on horizon – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th May 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 May 2021 14:38

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Following the recent amendment to the 2013 ‘people’s’ constitution giving the President a new right to choose judges, it appears Zanu PF’s totalitarian plan to outlaw ‘ unpatriotic’ behaviour is next on the legislative agenda.

 

Conditioned by their brainwashing by China and the Soviet Union, Zanu PF views any criticism as threatening, if not treacherous. It must be stopped.

 

Zanu PF chief whip, Pupurai Togarepi, said the proposed Patriotic Bill was about national cohesion. ‘After the coming in of opposition parties many agendas came to the fore and it led to a situation where you are at war as a country’. Welcome to reality in a democratic world!

 

So the solution is to abolish democracy? Constitutional lawyer and opposition politician Lovemore Madhuku says the proposed law is dangerous. ‘No state can define patriotism’. People seen as unpatriotic for allegedly undermining the national interest abroad could face criminal charges if the law is passed. Chief Whip Togarepi denies that the law will stifle criticism, but says people will be expected to express their views in Zimbabwe only (see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57006544).

 

Togarepi was talking to a Zimbabwe correspondent for the BBC Shingai Nyoka. Will Nyoka be liable to prosecution – or will the Zimbabwe Vigil for reporting it?

 

For his part, Jonathan Moyo, exiled former Zanu PF minister, says the party sees the Patriotic Bill as a ‘necessary means for protecting itself against all forms of political opposition in the run-up to the 2023 general election’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/04/mnangagwas-proposed-patriotic-bill-whither-zimbabwe-41/).

 

And as for the government’s claim that the move will help improve Zimbabwe’s image, the EU Ambassador Tino Olkkonen said that, on the contrary, it will further strain relations with the international community (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/04/zim-needs-viable-opposition-eu/).

 

But let us turn to other matters – the corruption at the heart of Zanu PF. This will no doubt be criminalised by the Patriotic Act – not the corruption of course, but the reporting thereof. This is obviously against the national interest represented by President Mnangagwa.

 

Assuming the President could be embarrassed (a ridiculous idea) he certainly would be at the latest antics of his relative, accused gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya. She is awaiting trial charged with trying to smuggle gold worth £280,000 to Dubai through Harare airport last October. But, unlike any opposition activist, she is on indefinite bail while the case is quietly forgotten.

 

But Rushwaya is back in the news threatening to sue the weekly News Hawks for reporting that the latest gold smuggler arrested was her driver Tashinga Nyasha Masimire who was arrested in Johannesburg for smuggling gold bars worth £555,000 on a flight from Harare. He was given bail of £6,000 (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1141-smuggler-linked-to-president-mnangagwa-had-23-gold-bars-in-a-case).

 

Other Points:.

  • It is with great sorrow that we report that seven-year-old Jesse, son of Vigil activist Isabell Gwatidzo, has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Jesse has been to the Vigil many times and is known and loved by many of us in the Vigil family. We are praying for his family and grieving with them at this tragic time.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719194253984. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Richard Munyama, Casper Nyamakura, Netsayi Makarichi and Rose Maponga who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

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:

         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 

 
Mnangagwa signs constitutional amendments into law – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th May 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 May 2021 14:37

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President Mnangagwa can now handpick judges, as well as his own deputies, after the Senate approved an amendment to the 2013 Constitution – with the help of MDC-T collaborators.

 

Musa Kika, executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said it was a sad milestone for democracy. ‘We are seeing Parliament blatantly ignoring the voice of the people who have clearly said they do not want these amendments . . . The message being sent is that the regime will seek power consolidation at all costs — even if it means mutilating an eight-year-old people’s constitution.’

 

Law expert Alex Magaisa said: ‘We are returning to a constitutionalised authoritarian regime. It is only the beginning of a process.  By the time they are done with the amendments, the constitution will not be recognised from the one adopted through a referendum.’

 

He said the whole aim of the 2013 constitution had been to limit the powers of the president, but amendments supported by MDC-T have now given back the ‘draconian rule’ by Zanu PF. ‘Now that Zanu PF knows that they have sufficient stooges for consolidation of power, more amendments are on the way,’ he warned (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/sad-day-for-democracy/). 

 

Dewa Mavhinga, head of Human Rights Watch in Southern Africa, urged organisations in Zimbabwe to challenge the development in court or hold protests. He said it threatened the rule of law by undermining the principle of separation of powers, putting excessive powers in the hands of the President (see: https://www.voanews.com/africa/zimbabwe-opposition-accuses-government-trying-undermine-judiciary).

 

Zimbabwean opposition and human rights groups held an online protest against the constitutional amendments on Thursday to avoid arrests because of the coronavirus lockdown and ban on public gatherings. One of the organisers, Jestina Mukoko, a director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, said: ‘Should we just allow a few people to amend the constitution? As Zimbabweans, should we allow ourselves to be short-changed? It removes the tenets that we want to aspire to get to as Zimbabweans: democracy, transparency and accountability. If these amendments are allowed to take root, it means what we will have at the end is a dictatorship’ (see: https://www.voanews.com/africa/zimbabwe-rights-groups-opposition-stage-online-protest-against-constitutional-amendments).

 

A senior MDC-T official in Matabele North Province has resigned in protest over the faction’s endorsement of the constitutional amendment bill. Noris Nyathi, a former deputy mayor of Victoria Falls, accused the faction’s leader Douglas Mwonzora of failing to condemn the government’s continued persecution of human rights and opposition activists. ‘I consider it gross misconduct by our MPs, Senators including the presidium to give Zanu PF the needed two-thirds majority in order to pass the repressive Amendment Bill Number 2’ (see: https://allafrica.com/stories/202105060305.html).

 

MDC Alliance Deputy President Tendai Biti said the amendments, now signed into law by the President, were ‘a total disaster for Zimbabwe’s democracy’ (see: https://www.zimlive.com/2021/05/08/mnangagwa-signs-imperial-presidency-constitutional-amendments-into-law/).

 

Other Points:

 

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:

         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
 
Games and no fun – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st May 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 May 2021 12:47

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While Zanu PF diverts its legislators with its usual game of castrating the constitution, things are not going so well for aspiring MDC commander in chief Douglas Mwonzora.

 

Only a month ago everything seemed straightforward for Mwonzora. But then Tendai Biti and his colleagues who had been recalled from Parliament by Mwonzora’s version of MDC T, won a court order to retake their seats.

 

This was followed by reports that over 200 opposition activists in Bulawayo, who had defected to Mwonzora, had changed their minds. They said they did not realise that Mwonzora was indirectly pushing them to join Zanu PF (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/mdc-t-supporters-dump-mwonzora/).

 

Enthusiasm to join the Zanu PF gravy train may also have been dimmed by the party’s announcement that MDC defectors would have to undergo reorientation training at its Chitepo School of Ideology to learn ‘ to toe the party line’. See: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2021/04/chitepo-school-of-ideology-for-mdc.html.)

 

In other words you are not going to get a farm or a mine or a ‘get out of jail free’ card unless you have done your bit and proved your usefulness to Zanu PF by, for instance, beating up people as required, facilitated by support from the police, army and the courts.

 

Fortunately, there are lots of people who are not buying into this. They have resisted the Zanu PF amendments to the 2013 Constitution, which they say will result in ‘an imperial presidency’ (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/constitution-mnangagwa-power-play-a-great-betrayal-of-people/.)

 

There has been international support for the brave fight for freedom by the journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who has now been acquitted by a High Court judge of publishing falsehoods. The judge ruled that the law under which he was charged, which deals with false statements prejudicial to the state, was non-existent.  Zanu PF, of course, will not give up and will continue to persecute Hopewell (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/high-court-quashes-journalist-chinono-charges/).

 

There has been similar support for MDC Alliance MP Joana Mamombe, who has been in jail for months on charges of violating Covid regulations. The Zimbabwe Gender Commission called for her immediate release, criticising increasing cases of incarceration and torture of women. The Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence said her release was urgent given her deteriorating health condition. It called on the region and international community to raise their voices about the ‘illegal detention of Mamombe and other political prisoners’. (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/04/women-groups-demand-release-of-mamombe/.)

 

Other Points:

  • The Vigil was interested to learn that the shady Zanu PF car dealer Frederick Shava refused to take up his new post as Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister until Mnangagwa paid him US$100,000 he said was owed to him from his time as Ambassador at the UN. Shava is keen on money. He was sacked from Mugabe’s cabinet in the corruption scandal involving the Willowgate Motor Company. Jailed for perjury, his pal Mnangagwa got him off (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2021/04/30/shava-demands-us100k-to-assume-ministerial-duty/).
  • There are as yet no indications that Shava was involved in the looting of the Agro-industrial enterprise Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe. A syndicate comprising politicians, bankers and workers are said to have looted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sugar giant according to an audit by Ernst and Young (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/looters-run-riot-at-sugar-giant/).
  • The Vigil took part in an online meeting with the community police who liaise with the Southern African diaspora in the UK. It seems we will be completely free to resume our normal vigils from late June. All restrictions will end on Monday 21st June and so we could possibly hold our first post-Covid vigil on the first Saturday in July. Vigil co-ordinators are discussing what is possible. Please let us know what you think.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site. https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719075033629. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Michael Tinarwo who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

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:

         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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