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/.)
- 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.
- 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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