People can sleep soundly in Zimbabwe confident that our guardians the police are ever watchful for enemies of the state, such as human rights lawyers and trade unionists.
A diligent policeman arrested five such suspects, including prominent lawyer Doug Coltart, for attending a workshop and reading the incriminatingly-titled book ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ by Paulo Freire. An open and shut case obviously: it was clearly a training manual for sedition provided by the American Embassy . . .
The state told the magistrate that intelligence had been received that the accused were planning to go around the country encouraging civil disobedience.
Unfortunately the naïve five had fallen into the clutches of the notorious western-funded legal provocateur Beatrice Mtetwa. Under questioning, the first state witness, the policeman who confiscated the book, said he believed it was subversive after exhaustive research involving checking the meaning of pedagogy (teaching).
The wily Mtetwa – no doubt briefed by dark forces – asked the last state witness: ‘so there is nothing in the materials you can point us to that links the accused persons to the offence?’ The witness agreed and the magistrate had to rule that the state had failed to prove its case.
The wheel has turned full circle since the Smith regime banned a children’s book about a horse on the basis of its suspicious title: ‘Black Beauty’ . . .
The full panoply of Zanu PF’s paranoid delusions were displayed in the government’s hysterical response to the corruscating criticism of the situation by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference in a pastoral letter titled ‘The march is not ended’. (See: http://kubatana.net/2020/08/14/the-march-is-not-ended-pastoral-letter-of-the-zimbabwe-catholic-bishops-conference-on-the-current-situation-in-zimbabwe/.)
The pastoral letter spoke of a ‘convergence of economic collapse, deepening poverty, food insecurity, corruption and human rights abuses among other crises’ . . . ‘some of our people continue to live in hideouts, with some incarcerated while others are on the run. Fear runs down the spine of many of our people today’ . . . ‘all we hear from them is blame our woes on foreigners, colonialism, white settlers and so-called internal detractors. When are we going to take responsibility for our own affairs?’
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa described Archbishop Ndlovu of Harare as ‘errant and evil’ and said he was seeking to lead Zimbabwe’s Catholics into ‘the darkest dungeons of Rwanda-type genocide’. Minister of Justice Ziyambi said the pastoral letter was an outright insult to President Mnangagwa.
The pastoral letter was however supported by Catholic bishops throughout Southern Africa as well as the World Council of Churches and many non-Catholics (see: https://catholicherald.co.uk/nuncio-meets-zimbabwe-government-minister-after-clash-over-catholic-bishops-letter/).
- Police have arrested the Vice-Chair of the MDC Alliance Job Sikhala. He went into hiding last month after being named on a police wanted list for allegedly inciting public violence by backing ant-government protests.
- Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. 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. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715597076682). Our virtual Vigil activist today was Sithobekile Sikhosana 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.
Events and Notices:
- ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August. A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station IG4 5DQ at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
- 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.
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