The Vigil was saddened by the sudden death of Dewa Mavinga, the Southern Africa Director of Human Rights Watch. Our deepest condolences to his wife Fiona and their four children and other members of the family.
Among those he supported was journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who tweeted that Mavinga was ‘a great advocate for human rights in Zimbabwe and beyond. A gentle giant who was always there for anyone who was facing political persecution.’
The Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, Mausi Segun, said: ‘We have lost a true gem, a treasure of a person and colleague. We’re devastated by Dewa’s passing’.
We can testify to this as Dewa visited the Vigil and was very supportive of our efforts to bring the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe to public attention here (see: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/12/04/human-rights-watch-mourns-loss-dewa-mavhinga).
Human rights continues to be a crucial issue in Zimbabwe, where the British Embassy has called for an investigation into the fatal assault of MDC Alliance activist Nyasha Zhambe Mawere by suspected Zanu PF supporters during Nelson Chamisa’s meet-the-people tour of Masvingo in October. Not long before his death, Mavinga had also called for an investigation, saying the attack undermined the rule of law.
Zanu PF acting spokesperson Mike Bimha, for his part, said Zanu PF did not tolerate violence! (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/12/probe-mdc-alliance-activists-death-uk/).
Meanwhile President Mnangagwa told the UK to stop interfering in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs. He claimed that Zimbabwe has the most democratic constitution in the SADC region (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/hands-off-my-zimbabwe-ed-tells-uk/).
- Mnangagwa has appointed his wife Auxillia to the Politburo as Zanu PF’s Secretary for Environment and Tourism. She replaces Priscah Mupfumira who is facing a corruption charge involving US$90,000 National Social Security funds (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/12/auxillias-politburo-elevation-raises-stink/),
- The head of Parliament’s budget committee, Oscar Gorerino, says planes are landing at the Mugabe International Airport in Harare without a proper radar system. He said it was very dangerous but the Civil Aviation Authority had only $1.5 million in its coffers and a new radar system would cost $3.4 million. China loaned Zimbabwe $153 million to upgrade the airport, including the radar system (see: https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/very-dangerous-zimbabwes-main-airport-operating-without-radar-to-guide-air-traffic-20211203).
- Because of concerns about the new Omicron Covid variant, the Vigil Co-ordinators have decided to suspend the physical meetings at the Embassy until after Christmas. We will review the situation in the new year. In the meantime we will continue to run the Virtual Vigil as we did during lockdown. The Virtual Vigil shows the powers-that-be that we are still campaigning against their iniquitous behaviour and enables our activists to continue our protest and allows us to support them individually. To participate in the Virtual Vigil, activists who wish to participate virtually should pose in their Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia with a relevant poster and take a photo / selfie during normal Vigil hours (Saturdays between 2 and 5 pm). The photos will be labelled with your name and uploaded onto the Vigil website, the Vigil’s Flickr photo page and Facebook. You will also be listed on the Vigil diary as having participated in that day’s virtual Vigil. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
Events and 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.
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