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Embassy Vigil resumes – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st July 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 August 2021 17:48

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51351111254/sizes/m/

 

Today was the Vigil’s first meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in more than sixteen months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Vigil Co-ordinator Ephraim Tapa says there was a unique sense of excitement and positive energy from those who attended. Activists enjoyed catching up with one another while they helped set up, man the table in turns, hand out flyers and sing.

 

Ephraim went on to say: ‘We were encouraged by passers-by who stopped to sign our petitions and show interest in our campaign. Activists shared their sad experiences and frustration around the pandemic, as well as expressing their relief to be back at the Embassy to at least do something about the sad human rights situation in Zimbabwe.’

 

Comments from the activists:

  • Deborah Harry – it’s great to be back to play our part in the fight for freedom as those at home cannot do so without putting their lives in danger.
  • Casper Nyamakura – echoed Deborah’s sentiments and added that the absence of the Vigil protest voice could easily be misconstrued as to suggest  the Zimbabwe crisis was over.
  • Jonathan Kariwo – encouraged members to ensure regular attendance if the Vigil and ROHR were to remain relevant.
  • Richard Munyama, Philip Maponga and others – vowed to scale up the campaign to rid Zimbabwe of its corrupt and cruel rulers. ‘A lot more needs to be done’, they agreed.

 

Ephraim concluded: ‘There was general agreement that the Vigil and ROHR should only stand in solidarity with its activists and asylum seekers as their lives would be in danger if returned to Zimbabwe. It was also agreed to mount the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy fortnightly while we monitor the Covid situation. Members would be free to participate virtually on the Saturdays the Vigil did not meet outside the  Embassy.’

 

Thanks to those who met today: Mercy Bayipayi, Farayi Chikowore, Blessing Harry, Deborah Harry, Jonathan Kariwo, Philip Maponga, Richard Munyama, Casper Nyamakura and Ephraim Tapa. For photos of today’s Vigil, check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719625749311.

 

Other Points:

  • Another report, this time by Afrobarometer, said three-quarters of Zimbabweans would prefer a national dialogue embracing all stakeholders rather than President Mnangagwa’s Political Actors’ Dialogue, which the main MDC party of Nelson Chamisa has refused to join.
  • HARARE provincial development co-ordinator Tafadzwa Muguti has banned all non-governmental organisations  and private voluntary organisations which defied a directive to report to him. He said the government would unleash law enforcement officers against those that defied the ban. (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/govt-bans-defiant-ngos/.)
  • The virtual Vigil also ran today. This was started because of the Covid-19 restrictions and 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/72157719625749311. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Dambudzo Marimira  who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • The next Zimbabwe Vigil. Saturday 14th August from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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
 
Disquiet over deportations – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th July 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 July 2021 14:33

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51335014070/sizes/m/

 

Even after discounting the more questionable assertions by campaigners, disquieting questions remain about the deportation of 14 Zimbabweans from the UK last Wednesday.

 

The UK Home Secretary Priti Patel – haunted by her failure to curb illegal immigration – said the deportees had all been jailed for offences such as murder, rape, sexual abuse of children and robbery. It is difficult to challenge her decision in these cases (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51334235813/sizes/l/).

 

Patel said they had all been given the opportunity to raise asylum and human rights claims and that they were not at risk on return to Zimbabwe. Here the Home Secretary is on less secure grounds. She referred to ‘country of origin information’: this is an assessment of the situation by the Foreign Office which some people, including the Vigil, dispute in the case of Zimbabwe.

 

One prospective deportee succeeded in getting a last-minute High Court order preventing his removal. In his case the judge decided that anyone subjected to face to face interviews with Zimbabwean officials before being sent back could be at risk on return. These contentious interviews with Zimbabwean Embassy officials have been a matter of concern to Zimbabwean refugees for some time – reflected in the judge’s decision (see: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/zimbabwe-deportation-removal-home-office-uk-b1886446.html).

 

We understand that no one can be deported from the UK unless their country of origin will accept them and that it is quite legitimate for the UK Embassy in Harare to have talks about this with the Zimbabwean government. But we are disturbed by suggestions that not only blatant criminals will be sent back but also others.

 

Whatever the Foreign Office thinks, the Vigil does not believe that Zimbabwe is a safe place and we support the 75 British parliamentarians who signed a letter drafted by the All-Party Group on Zimbabwe raising concerns about what they say is a deteriorating political and human rights situation there. In a letter to the Home Secretary they wrote: ‘The Zimbabwe government is systematically oppressing its political opponents, denying freedom of speech and committing gross human rights violations.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/22/legal-bids-mean-uk-deportation-flight-to-zimbabwe-takes-off-just-one-third-full.)

 

In Zimbabwe, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs ministry, Livit Mugejo, said the deportees were welcome home and would receive help with reintegration (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/uk-deports-zimbabwean-ex-convicts/.)

 

Other Points:

  • GOOD NEWS! After not meeting since 14th March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the actual Vigil is starting up again. We hope to see many fellow activists outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 31st July from 2 – 5 pm.  We have missed each other – it will be wonderful to catch up with everyone. It is still to be decided how often we will meet and on the Saturdays we don’t meet physically we will continue the virtual Vigil. This was started because of the Covid-19 restrictions and 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/72157719599006147. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Dambudzo Marimira and Grace Munyanyi who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • The UK has blocked the assets here of the Zimbabwean businessman Kudakwashe Tagwireyi, a close ally of President Mnangagwa. a government statement said he had also been banned from travelling here as part of Britain’s global anti-corruption sanctions targeting ‘corrupt individuals who have lined their own pockets through misappropriation, with their greed causing untold damage to the countries and communities they exploit’. (See: https://apnews.com/article/africa-health-zimbabwe-coronavirus-pandemic-harare-e8d528348b009be9d904b293f76143b7.)
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • The first Vigil since lockdown started. Saturday 31st July from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Mandela’s dream becomes nightmare – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th July 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 18 July 2021 15:01

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51317895127/sizes/m/

 

After decades of crony capitalism and misrule by the ANC, South Africa appeared last week to be sliding into anarchy. The poor were plundering what they could and pointing the finger at their leaders, who have stolen much more, says the distinguished South African journalist R W Johnson in an article in the London Times.

 

More than two hundred people died and many more were injured in a week of looting and destruction in the country’s economic heartland of Gauteng (including Johannesburg and Pretoria) and KwaZulu-Natal (which includes the country’s two biggest ports, Durban and Richards Bay).

 

Hundreds of shopping malls, supermarkets, warehouses and factories were burnt down, with the police reluctant to intervene. Armed vigilantes are guarding many suburbs. The situation quietened only when the government deployed 25,000 troops.

 

Johnson says this huge failure can only be blamed on the African National Congress, which has been in power for 27 years. ‘The party is deeply corrupt, its ministers inept and incompetent, and many of its policies are damaging the economy. The party is riven by factionalism with President Ramaphosa’s moderates opposed by the former president Jacob Zuma’s left-wing kleptocrats.

 

‘The explosion of violence followed the jailing of Zuma for his flagrant contempt of court, after he had refused to co-operate with the inquiry into the looting of the state under his presidency. Nobody seriously doubts that Zuma stole millions, probably billions, of rands and he still faces charges of racketeering, money-laundering and sundry other crimes. But Zuma, still supported by his Zulu followers, threatened to make the country ungovernable if the government dared to jail him.

 

‘The rioting began as Zuma’s followers, urged on by his children and, doubtless, by Zuma himself, sought to fulfil this threat. Former members of the state security services who played such a key role in his presidency helped plan the sabotage campaign — they are now on the run. Zuma has always had strong connections into criminal networks via his relatives in the taxi industry, and these have clearly been active too.

 

‘The campaign began with the hijacking and burning of lorries. The police, scared and ineffective, watched but did nothing. Next came the looting and burning of a few shops. Again the police did nothing. Word spread that you could go “shopping without money”, creating huge excitement among the ranks of the millions of poor and unemployed Zulus who inhabit the townships and squatter camps around Durban and Pietermaritzburg. From there word spread quickly into every small town of the province.

 

‘Most of the looters were unconcerned about Zuma’s fate: they simply realised that opportunity was staring them in the face. They flocked to the shopping malls and began to loot them. Quickly the spree spread to Johannesburg, home to many more Zulus, though many others joined in. Most of the looters were poor, on foot and took away their loot in supermarket trolleys, but some arrived in cars, sometimes very expensive cars. Some even came with vast trailers to haul away freezers, fridges and cookers. Huge queues of cars swamped the freeways, all heading for the malls, and other forms of criminality blossomed — protection rackets, attacks on and thefts from other motorists, anything that offered a quick buck.’

 

Far from improving the situation of black South Africans, the ANC has made the country the most unequal in the world, with the governing elite far richer than the apartheid government, the unemployed and poor being largely ignored. Youth unemployment is about 70%.

 

You can read Johnson’s full article on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1153-orgy-of-looting-and-corruption-has-destroyed-mandelas-dream. We also draw your attention to Cathy Buckle’s latest article giving a Zimbabwean perspective on the South African crisis (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/07/oh-south-africa/).

 

Other Points:

  • 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/72157719556160879. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Jacob Mandipira and Margaret Manenge who both 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 organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
Orgy of looting and corruption has destroyed Mandela’s dream PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 17 July 2021 17:33

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/orgy-of-looting-and-corruption-has-destroyed-mandelas-dream-2k55sl7kh

 

Orgy of looting and corruption has destroyed Mandela’s dream

 

After decades of crony capitalism and misrule by the ANC, South Africa is sliding into anarchy, the poor are plundering what the can and pointing the finger at their leaders – who have stolen much more, says R W Johnson in Cape Town.

 

RW Johnson, Friday July 16 2021, 5.00pm, The Times

 

In 1994 the world greeted the new South Africa under Nelson Mandela with euphoria: apartheid abolished and a harmonious non-racial state determined to build an inclusive economy and society. Last week looting and destruction rolled across its economic heartland of Gauteng (including Johannesburg and Pretoria) and KwaZulu-Natal, which includes the country’s two biggest ports, Durban and Richards Bay.

 

So far 117 people have died, many hundreds are injured and hundreds of shopping malls, supermarkets, warehouses and factories have been burnt down. Armed vigilantes guard many suburbs. Old schoolfriends from Durban tell me they have reverted to fishing at the beach as the only way to feed their families. Those with money wouldn’t dream of investing anything to restore the damage: their money is heading straight offshore.

 

This huge failure can only be laid at the feet of the African National Congress (ANC), now in power for 27 years. The party is deeply corrupt, its ministers inept and incompetent, and many of its policies are damaging the economy. The party is riven by factionalism with President Ramaphosa’s moderates opposed by the former president Jacob Zuma’s left-wing kleptocrats. The explosion of violence followed the jailing of Zuma for his flagrant contempt of court, after he had refused to co-operate with the inquiry into the looting of the state under his presidency. Nobody seriously doubts that Zuma stole millions, probably billions, of rands and he still faces charges of racketeering, money-laundering and sundry other crimes. But Zuma, still supported by his Zulu followers, threatened to make the country ungovernable if the government dared to jail him.

 

The rioting began as Zuma’s followers, urged on by his children and, doubtless, by Zuma himself, sought to fulfil this threat. Former members of the state security services who played such a key role in his presidency helped plan the sabotage campaign — they are now on the run. Zuma has always had strong connections into criminal networks via his relatives in the taxi industry, and these have clearly been active too.

 

The campaign began with the hijacking and burning of lorries. The police, scared and ineffective, watched but did nothing. Next came the looting and burning of a few shops. Again the police did nothing. Word spread that you could go “shopping without money”, creating huge excitement among the ranks of the millions of poor and unemployed Zulus who inhabit the townships and squatter camps around Durban and Pietermaritzburg. From there word spread quickly into every small town of the province.

 

Most of the looters were unconcerned about Zuma’s fate: they simply realised that opportunity was staring them in the face. They flocked to the shopping malls and began to loot them. Quickly the spree spread to Johannesburg, home to many more Zulus, though many others joined in. Most of the looters were poor, on foot and took away their loot in supermarket trolleys, but some arrived in cars, sometimes very expensive cars. Some even came with vast trailers to haul away freezers, fridges and cookers. Huge queues of cars swamped the freeways, all heading for the malls, and other forms of criminality blossomed — protection rackets, attacks on and thefts from other motorists, anything that offered a quick buck.

 

In reality this had been coming for a long time. When the ANC was first elected in 1994 its posters promised “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” but little heed was paid to that once it gained office. In 1995 the average number of unemployed according to official figures was 1,698,000 or, if the total included those who had given up looking for a job, 3,321,000. That figure has grown steadily to surpass 11.4 million. Since the unemployed have no income, this has also meant a huge growth in both poverty and inequality. Indeed, South Africa is now the most unequal society in the world.

 

The ANC routinely deplores poverty and inequality but tries to pretend this is part of the “apartheid inheritance”. This is the opposite of the truth: the governing elite is far richer than it was under apartheid and the numbers of the poor have multiplied. Ramaphosa, who started as a trade unionist, is the country’s second richest black man, worth half a billion dollars — the fruits of crony capitalism — a sum surpassed only by his brother-in-law, Patrice Motsepe.

 

The 11.4 million unemployed have, on average, two or three dependants, so we are talking of households comprising 30 million people — half the population. They are sitting in shacks, cold, hungry, without alcohol (banned under the Covid lockdown), insecure, with nothing to do and with no hope of a job: a picture of pure misery. These are the greatest victims of ANC misrule. Many are young and have never worked (youth unemployment is about 70 per cent) and have given up hope that they ever will. For many young women prostitution is their only income. One looter interviewed on TV admitted that he stole every day because otherwise his 15-year-old sister would “have to sleep with a grandad”.

 

The unemployed and poor have been largely ignored. The government is more concerned with the “haves” within its coalition — the capitalists of the BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) affirmative action programme, the public sector workers and the trade union bosses. The government’s offer of an extra R18 billion (£900 million) for already well-paid public service workers came only days before the unrest and was a blatant provocation to the unemployed.

 

Ramaphosa spoke of the “plight” of MPs, who are among the 1 per cent best-paid people in the country.

 

Surveys show that South Africa’s BEE legislation is regarded by foreign investors as the biggest single obstacle to investing in the country. Effectively it’s a tax on investment — if you set up a company you have, in effect, to give away a quarter of your equity to partners who have nothing to offer by way of skills or capital other than an ability to get ministers to take their calls. This is straightforward crony capitalism. This legislation pushes foreign investment away, at the cost of many jobs, simply to line the pockets of ANC-connected cronies.

 

A key example is the mining industry, which has been losing thousands of jobs under the weight of BEE constraints. The government is trying to force a Mining Charter, demanding ever-higher quotas, though the mining companies refuse to sign it. The result is that no new mines have been opened in a decade. Mining executives are adamant that even in the midst of a commodity price boom they can’t risk increasing their exposure to South Africa, even though it has the richest mineral deposits in the world. The government has only to adopt the same mining legislation as, say, Canada to produce tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of new jobs. But it won’t because it places the interests of a few BEE capitalists higher than those of the unemployed.

 

Similarly, government is attentive to the trade unions which represent those in work but all it has for the unemployed is crocodile tears. South Africa’s tight labour laws privilege those in work, giving the unemployed little opportunity to compete for jobs. Inept policies and the weight of corruption mean South Africa is in its seventh year of falling real per capita incomes. People are getting steadily poorer and Covid lockdowns have increased the misery, costing many jobs.

If those without jobs or hope are told they can take what they like from the shops without paying, it is not surprising that they respond enthusiastically and in such numbers. They grabbed food, drink, perhaps a new fridge or TV. Ramaphosa, appearing on TV, looked beaten, offering only platitudes and “appeals for calm”. This provoked derision and was ignored.

 

Criminals flourished amid the looting, organising massive heists of goods and used the mayhem as cover for other crimes. Zuma’s henchmen tried to make the country ungovernable by targeting key pieces of infrastructure — ports and reservoirs were attacked, as were more than 120 electricity sub-stations. Attacks on vehicles on the road leading to the Sapref refinery in Durban (which produces one third of all South Africa’s petrol) forced the refinery to close down, producing a fuel crisis. Shops, warehouses or factories, once looted, were set on fire. Such destruction has cost many jobs. There are many more hungry and desperate people and KwaZulu-Natal faces a humanitarian disaster. Half of all patients in hospitals there are already without medication.

 

The looting started on a Friday and Ramaphosa said and did nothing until the following Monday. Ministers were silent and invisible. The minister for police, Bheki Cele, who comes from Durban, did not visit the city for nearly a week.

The police, though armed, passively watched the looters and, in many cases, operated protection rackets and demanded “favours” from the public before they would lift a finger. Cele went on TV wearing a cashmere coat and a Louis Vuitton scarf costing about eight times the average weekly wage. No wonder looters, when interviewed, said: “Ministers have been looting for years, so why pick on us?”

 

Ramaphosa finally ordered 2,500 troops in to support the police. They too stood passively by. The president is terrified of the optics of a black government firing on black people: the shadow of the 2012 Marikana massacre, in which 34 striking miners were killed by the police, still looms. So the looting went on, day after day.

 

Under pressure from business, Ramaphosa has agreed to increase the troop presence to 25,000. The government is at last pursuing the 12 key instigators of sabotage but it has caught only one. With the economy and investor confidence being destroyed in front of its eyes, the government has opted to let the mayhem burn itself out. The highway between Durban and Johannesburg, the country’s main economic artery, has been closed for a week. The rail line is also cut, so the country’s biggest port, Durban, is severed from the rest of South Africa.

 

In this law and order vacuum vigilante militias have sprung up as communities seek to protect their suburbs and their shops. Often these vigilante groups depend on white ex-members of the security forces but they include members of all races.

 

Most of South Africa’s Indian population live in or around Durban and they still have strong memories of the 1949 riots in which Zulus killed hundreds of Indians. This time the Indians saw trouble coming when others didn’t and the Indian township of Phoenix (where Gandhi once lived) was armed to the teeth. When looters arrived to pillage their shops and homes the Indians resisted fiercely and 20 people were killed. But the little Indian settlements to the north of Durban were more vulnerable. Verulam was all but destroyed and the Indian community there, having lost all its shops, retreated to the Indian suburb of Everest Heights and forbade Africans to set foot there. Vigilantes with guns, knives and axes patrol the streets. Africans who attacked one home were hacked with axes, the pictures circulating on social media.

 

Food and fuel shortages are already acute in KwaZulu-Natal. No one is going to resupply malls that have been burnt or, indeed, any shop that is vulnerable to looting. The resulting hunger crisis could drive people to more desperate acts: the big worry is attacks on private homes. ATMs have been destroyed, pharmacies ransacked and drink shops pillaged so there will be shortages of medical and other supplies. The Covid vaccination programme has stopped and the frantic mixing of maskless looters is bound to produce a fresh spike. The rand has dropped sharply.

 

The ANC’s standard election slogan is “a better life for all” but what the riots point to is the colossal failure of ANC governance. It has emphatically not brought a better life for poor Africans and one hears on all sides unfavourable comparisons with the old apartheid government: nothing like this occurred on its watch, after all. On radio, TV and social media there is a torrent of angry comment, virtually all of it scornful of the government. Ramaphosa dare not form a government of national unity as so many demand, for the ANC is deeply divided. The Zuma faction would take any coalition as a sign that Ramaphosa was inviting the whites back into power.

 

There is a national demand for a strong man to restore order with a firm hand. But Ramaphosa is weak, talks in generalities and is very slow to act. In many African countries such a demonstration of government weakness would result in a coup but South Africa’s army has been cut to the bone and is probably not capable of that. So some sort of normality will doubtless resume, ministers will return to their venal ways and there will be a pretence that things are all right again.

 

But they won’t be. The poor and unemployed are a keg of dynamite waiting to go off. The outlook is for crises of hunger and shortages of every kind. The ANC is more divided than ever and the already weak economy has taken a massive blow. Real incomes will continue to fall.

 

This is what the ANC has achieved after 27 years in power. No one now believes that it will deliver a “better life for all”. Its ineptitude, cronyism and corruption and its refusal to avail itself of white skills and experience have fatally weakened its ability to govern and it is steering South Africa steadily towards the status of a failed state.

 
Human rights defenders under siege – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th July 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 July 2021 16:59

 

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51302025132/sizes/m/

 

Human rights organisations have complained to the United Nations of a worsening situation in Zimbabwe. They sent a joint letter to the UN Special Rapporteur for the Situation of Human Rights’ Defenders, which was also copied to six other UN Special Rapporteurs.

 

The letter said Zimbabwe was under siege as citizens’ rights continued to be violated. ‘We write to call your attention to the disturbing trend in Zimbabwe of weaponising the criminal justice system to stifle dissent and suppress the activities of human rights defenders and journalists.’

 

It continued: ‘We are particularly concerned that the arrests and charges against individuals are politically motivated and violate their human rights, including their personal liberty and freedom of expression.’

 

The letter also expressed concern over the proposed Patriotic Bill, which will criminalise Zimbabweans speaking negatively about Zimbabwe on international platforms (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/07/rights-bodies-flag-un-over-zim-rights-violations/).

 

Meanwhile non-governmental organisations in Masvingo have been summoned to a meeting with the provincial development co-ordinator, Jefta Sakupwanya, next week. New Zimbabwe quotes sources as saying he wants to ‘clip their wings’.

 

Sakupwanya’s counterpart in Harare, Tafadzwa Muguti, started the crackdown when he ordered NGOs based there to report to his office. They have refused, saying his directive had no legal force (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/govt-intensifies-crackdown-on-ngos/).

 

A Zimbabwean NGO, the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), has expressed fear of violence with national elections looming in 2023. RAU called for the military to be confined to barracks ahead of the elections and for the prosecution of anyone making hate speech to avoid a bloodbath.

 

RAU consultant Tony Reeler points to a survey by the research organisation Afrobarometer, which indicates that a majority of Zimbabweans are dissatisfied with the government. ‘Only 48% trust President Emmerson Mnangagwa and this suggests the increasing probability that the 2023 elections will be very violent. It is worth noting further that elections are usually violent where Zanu PF's hold on the presidency is seriously challenged.

 

He said that, looking at the statistics, no ruling party in a ‘normal country’ would win an election (see: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-07-09-the-numbers-dont-lie-zanu-pf-would-have-to-defy-the-reality-of-political-economy-to-win-the-next-election/). The Vigil believes that Zimbabwe is by no means a normal country.

 

Other Points:

  • The beleaguered human rights organisations in Zimbabwe have expressed concern at the situation of vulnerable groups after a new lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Samuel Wadzai, speaking on behalf of vendors, opposed the reintroduction of exceptions which allow police and government employees to do their jobs but not vendors. Many vendors have ignored the rules. Lucia Mtetwa, who sells second hand clothes, told Voice of America: ‘I only see corruption increasing because of these letters because everyone wants to go somewhere – with an exemption letter or not. This only gives police an advantage. They will start demanding bribes as they were doing during the last time during the lockdown.’ (See: https://www.voanews.com/africa/zimbabwe-reverts-2020-lockdown-covid-19-cases-rise.)
  • But not all the news from Zimbabwe is gloomy. The country could be saved by mbanje according to Tino Kambasha of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency. Zimbabwe has opened up cannabis farming to encourage investment in hemp for industrial and medicinal uses. Kambasha said: ‘it's a market that is growing fast and we think it’s going to be a game-changer for this country’ (see: https://www.voanews.com/africa/cannabis-growing-gathers-momentum-zimbabwe).
  • South Africa’s previous president Jacob Zuma is in prison for refusing to testify to a corruption commission, a move that shows how the South African judiciary – unlike Zimbabwe’s – is still independent. During his nine years in office he is alleged to have looted state-owned enterprises on a mind-boggling scale. A leading article in the UK Times newspaper says the jailing of Zuma is an important step on the road to returning to the founding ideals of the post-apartheid state (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1151-the-times-view-on-the-jailing-of-jacob-zuma-hard-graft).
  • 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/72157719526610851. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Jacob Mandipira and Grace Munyanyi who both 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 organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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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