The Vigil demonstrated on Saturday against the failure of the government to implement the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry into the army’s murder of unarmed civilians during a demonstration in Harare last August.
Outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London activists carried placards reading: ‘No to shooting of unarmed civilians’, ‘No to army brutality in Zimbabwe’, ‘Jail killer troops’, ‘Compensate army victims’, ‘The people are not the enemy’, ‘The army is the enemy of the people’ and ‘Protest against Zimbabwe army violence’.
The violent suppression of the anti-government protests last August and again in January have not stopped the situation in the country continuing to deteriorate with millions facing starvation. Some of this is, of course, attributable to drought and climate change but the government must bear full responsibility for its disastrous handling of the economy, which has created a widespread feeling of hopelessness among a people driven to desperation. In one tragic case, a woman is said to have killed her two young children and committed suicide.
Mnangagwa has refused to talk to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who has called for a demonstration on Friday. In the unlikely event that permission for the demonstration is granted the government would be wise to keep troops in the barracks. It is the job of the police to deal with demonstrations and any over-reaction would be disastrous.
The West is fast losing patience with the Zimbabwe government although it is pouring in millions of dollars to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis. Perhaps China will also contribute something although further government to government loans from Beijing are unlikely. A Chinese bank has even put Zimbabwe on its sanctions list for non-repayment of debts (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/top-chinese-bank-places-zimbabwe-on-sanctions-list/).
How’s that for irony: ‘All-weather friend China joins in “illegal” sanctions’ causing Zimbabwe’s crisis! ‘
- The Vigil hailed as a breath of fresh air the election on a reform agenda of Tanzanian President Magufuli in 2015 (see diary of 28/11/2015:http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/738-ugly-budget–zimbabwe-vigil-diary-28th-november-2015). Coming to power he cancelled independence day celebrations and embarked on a clean-up campaign. We are sad to say we have been proved wrong. Magafuli has now turned out to be just another dictator (see:https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mood-darkens-in-tanzania-as-magufuli-silences-his-critics-l7x6vwc8l).
- More congratulations to those who raised funds from their sponsors for the fundraising walk on 27 July: Marvellous Chinguwa £55, Shylette Chipangura £52.50, Beaulah Gore £50, Isabell Gwatidzo £20, Deborah Harry £50, Tatenda Mandiki £64, Charles Marirakwenda £20, Cephas Maswoswa £155, Joice Mbairatsunga £148, Margaret Munenge £40.20, Tapiwa Muskwe £14.40 and Sinikiwe Sigola £50.
- Thanks to those who helped set up the front table and put up the banners today: Marvellous Chinguwa, Isabell Gwatidzo, Deborah Harry, Charles Mararirakwenda, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Esther Munyira, Farai Mutumburi and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Marvellous and Tarisai Matambanadzo for looking after the front table, to Farai, Isabell and Nyarai Masvosva for handing out flyers and to Isabell and Deborah Harry for photos.
- For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
FOR THE RECORD: 17 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Beach Barbecue. Sunday 25th August. Venue: Frinton-on-Sea, Essex CO13 9DN. Tickets: adults £20, Kids £10. Contact: Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Heather Makawa 07716391800, Esther Munyira 07492058109 and Daizy Fabian 07708653640.
- 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 ishttp://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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