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

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51165909141/sizes/m/

 

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
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 02 May 2021 12:47

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51153139500/sizes/m/

 

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
 
Rocky time ahead – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th April 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 April 2021 15:44

MDC Alliance MP Joana Mamombe has been forcibly removed from a private hospital in the middle of the night and returned to Chikarubi maximum security prison even though she was still receiving treatment.

 

Mamombe and fellow activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were abducted and abused last May and charged with violating Covid regulations after taking part in a street demonstration.

 

Mamombe was recently admitted to hospital with ‘acute stomach pain’. MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere says she was scheduled to be seen by a specialist on Friday but was taken away apparently on ‘instructions from above’.

 

The women have been denied bail by both the Magistrate’s Court and the High Court. The MDC Alliance says it is part of concerted efforts by Zanu PF to destroy the opposition before the 2023 elections.

 

MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti said Mamombe’s forced removal from hospital was ‘particularly sickening’. He added: ‘This regime is completely pathological. Joana, Netsai, and Cecilia have suffered enough.’


Zimlive reports that, meanwhile, an Harare magistrate has denied a bail request by opposition activists Legwani Mavhunga and Munyaradzi Mafararikwa, who were tortured while in police custody last week. They were arrested after attending a court hearing for MDC Alliance national deputy chairman Job Sikhala and charged with ‘obstructing or endangering free movement of persons or traffic’.

 

The activists were hospitalized at Parirenyatwa with severe torture wounds, barely able to walk. Their first court hearing was held at the hospital where the magistrate ordered an investigation into their treatment by the police (see: https://www.zimlive.com/2021/04/22/joana-mamombe-forcibly-removed-from-private-hospital-at-night-returned-to-chikurubi/).

 

While convicted criminals are released from overcrowded prisons on health and safety grounds, opponents of the regime are refused bail and sent to languish in maximum security prisons while their trials are deliberately delayed.

 

No wonder the American financial services firm Fitch Solutions, in its latest report, says Zimbabwe is the riskiest investment destination in Southern Africa – above even Mozambique which is facing Islamist terrorism in the North (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2021/04/23/zim-a-risky-investment-destination/).

 

Fitch is unlikely to be encouraged by reports that Zanu PF is proposing to bring back the notorious youth militia, the Green Bombers, who under the Mugabe regime were unleashed to viciously target Zanu PF opponents in a reign of terror involving rape camps where abducted girls were held.

 

The UK Times newspaper reports that Kirsty Coventry, the Minister of Youth, has apparently proposed its resurrection ‘to instil patriotism and loyalty’ among young people. Last year Coventry, the only white cabinet member, was criticised for taking a lease on a prized farm seized during Mugabe’s land grab (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1136-mugabes-violent-youth-militia-could-be-ready-to-march-again).

 

Other Points:

  • Zimbabwe is to sell rights to kill as many as 500 elephants this year. A spokesman for the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Tinashe Farawo, said falling tourism revenue because of the pandemic was one of the main reasons for the move. A spokeswoman for the Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Simiso Mlevu, said:  the decision to allow elephant hunting was ‘appalling’. ‘We strongly condemn trophy hunting – a practice that agitates wild animals and escalates human-wild life conflicts, Mlevu said (see: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/22/africa/zimbabwe-elephants-hunting-intl-hnk/index.html).
  • 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.

 

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
 
What’s to celebrate? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th April 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 19 April 2021 07:21

41 years of independence on 18th April will not be marked with much enthusiasm as people struggle to survive with young girls selling their bodies for a few vegetables.

 

The plight of Zimbabwean women was graphically described by the writer and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga in an interview with the BBC in which she spoke of people living at the very edge of survival in desperate poverty and deprivation (see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000v6d9/hardtalk-tsitsi-dangarembga-writer-and-activist).

 

Her remarks were supported by the government’s own report of a major jump in teenage pregnancies (see: https://www.voanews.com/episode/zimbabwe-reports-major-rise-teen-pregnancies-during-pandemic-4658971).

 

What progress have we made after 41 years under Zanu PF when we have a female opposition MP returned to jail following her 129th appearance in court in the past year for allegedly breaking coronavirus regulations? Joanah Mamombe, MP for Harare West, along with other MDC Alliance women were dumped partially clothed after being tortured and abused.

 

In a letter to her mother smuggled out of her cell she said she was ‘even ready to die for the struggle’. Her mother Kudzayi Chiwanza, a university lecturer, said that the torment was taking its toll. ‘I am not ok. I am in terrible shape. You cannot sleep or be fine when your child is being tortured like this.’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1134-tortured-zimbabwean-opposition-mp-joanah-mamombe-sent-back-to-jail).

 

The unresolved problems of independence and bad governance have prompted Amnesty International to produce a report highlighting the ‘misery of statelessness’ of hundreds of thousands of people in Zimbabwe denied citizenship. They include descendants of migrant workers as well as survivors of the Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s who cannot produce the required paperwork.

 

‘For Zimbabwe’s stateless, everyday life is filled with obstacles. Accessing education, healthcare and employment can be a nightmare, and the sense of exclusion and rejection is soul destroying,’ said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa (see: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/04/zimbabwe-statelessness-crisis-traps-hundreds-of-thousands-in-limbo/).

 

Former Zanu PF cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo, now in exile, says those who took part in the post-independence massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces should face justice for their crimes. ‘We also need to find a lasting solution in order to enable the victims of the genocide the opportunity to heal,’ he said (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/moyo-calls-for-justice-on-gukurahundi-perpetrators/).

 

Other Points:

  • A point made by Tsitsi Dangarembga in her BBC interview was the pressure put on opposition politicians to defect to Zanu PF – tempted by the advantages of belonging to the governing party. Indeed some recent defectors are already demanding farms and mines as their due.
  • Newsday reports that the European Union representative in Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, said that Zimbabwe deserves a ‘viable’ opposition to keep the government in check. Newsday says the comment came after reports that the EU has told MDC T leader Douglas Mwonzora that it did not recognise his claim to MDC leadership because he didn’t take part in the last elections (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/04/zim-needs-viable-opposition-eu/).
  • In the interests of justice, you might like to look at the case of Gift Kanjana who won the parliamentary seat in Chegutu West for the MDC A two years and eight months ago but can’t take his seat despite appealing to the courts for justice. At the last hearing, Justice Bharet admitted the appeal had merit but said it had exceeded the time limit stipulated by the electoral act . . . (see: https://kubatana.net/2021/04/07/zimbabwe-2018-electoral-disputes-continue-to-challenge-legitimacy/).
  • 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.

 

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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Journey’s End – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th April 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 April 2021 14:00

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51109117653/sizes/m/

 

Zimbabweans in the UK join in mourning the passing of the Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died only a couple of months short of his 100th birthday. We know he took a great interest in Africa and was particularly concerned about wild life issues – one thing on which he was allowed to express his opinions without diplomatic constraint!

 

The Duke was also a strong supporter of the Commonwealth, which Zimbabwe is aspiring to rejoin after President Mugabe walked out after the condemnation of the violent land seizures. The Vigil would be happy to see Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth, which embraces many of our neighbours in Africa. Together we would surely be stronger.

 

But one of the aims of the Commonwealth is the promotion of human rights and Zimbabwe may well be regarded as suspect in this. Zimbabwean human rights activist Tony Reeler says in an article in the Daily Maverick: ‘Increasing human rights violations and corruption demonstrate that the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is unable to undertake the kinds of reforms that would allow the country to re-enter the international arena, and most importantly find a way to solve the major obstacle to obtaining international finance — paying off its debts. 

 

‘It is clear that until Zimbabwe pays its debts there will be no substantial economic re-engagement. Yet the country will be unable to do this without reforms that guarantee human rights, the rule of law and an end to rampant corruption.’

 

Reeler says the MDC Alliance must regain the status of a mass movement and recruit civil society as a partner ‘winning the streets’. This did not necessarily mean protests and demonstrations, but rather making clear, articulate and consistent demands.

 

‘The only coherent end goal must be a transitional arrangement that will undertake the kinds of reforms that arrest the decline, reform the state, create the conditions for an eventual election whose result cannot be contested by the loser if it is found to be acceptable regionally and internationally.’

 

Reeler continued: ‘It is definitely time for opposition political parties and civil society to come up with a national response to a national crisis: the ordinary, deeply suffering citizens of Zimbabwe deserve no less.It is also time for the region and the international community to unite in a cohesive push for a mediated settlement. This needs to be supported by SADC, which also needs to admit that Zimbabwe is patently not adhering to the SADC Treaty.’ (See: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-04-06-zimbabwe-can-recover-but-the-opposition-and-the-region-particularly-south-africa-will-have-to-step-up-to-the-plate/.)

 

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

 
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