Lonely country – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Source: Lonely country – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th November 2018

A new Zimbabwean investment drive has been taking place in the UK with a delegation led by Priscah Mupfumira, Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. She offered a few hollow banalities along the lines of Mnangagwa’s ‘open for business’ mantra and excitedly announced that Zimbabwe had been named in the top three tourist destinations for 2019 by the well-known travel organization Lonely Planet (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/mupfumira-speaks-to-london-investors/). 

The Vigil did not picket the meeting to give prospective investors our dystopian views of the situation in Zimbabwe. It was not necessary: news from Zimbabwe is bad enough. But we are proud our country is such a highly rated tourist attraction and we hope many people will go and see it for themselves.

But anyone who goes to Zimbabwe will see it is not an attractive business destination, open or not. The country’s financial affairs are so ethereal that the country could itself be described as a ‘lonely planet’.

A year ago we took to the streets to celebrate the army coup against Mugabe and welcomed Mnangagwa’s promise of change. But he has not delivered on this promise. Having been Mugabe’s loyal servant for so long he seems to think he must follow the same pattern. Despite the economic crisis, he hires an expensive plane from Switzerland to pick him up and take him to Guinea for two days. How many Zimbabweans even know where Guinea is, let alone why he felt he had to go there? The announced result was risible: among four trivial agreements the most notable one allowed diplomats and service personnel from the two countries to visit each other without getting a visa . . . (https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/11/mnangagwa-dumps-airzim-for-luxury-swiss-jet/).

The Vigil thinks that, if Mnangagwa paid more attention in getting to the bottom of the corruption which he has sworn to tackle, he would notice that the jails are full but not with any of the former ministers and Zanu PF elite charged with fraud only for the prosecutions to wither away. Rather like the economy which, on the eve of the new budget, is facing the prospect of collapse. This may not be a major problem for most Zimbabweans, whose own economies collapsed a long time ago, but it may be inconvenient for those dependent on the predatory Zanu PF elite, which still tries to pretend that all is well.

Who will invest in what the MDC describes as a ‘bottomless’ Zimbabwe, whose foreign debt has ballooned since Mnangagwa took over? Some economists say that Zimbabwe has now gone beyond creating bogus bond currency and RTGS (real time gross settlement) transfers. They say the financial system has, in effect, now gone ethereal. In other words real money has gone to a lonely planet a long way away. Somewhere only the Zanu PF elite can access it (see: https://www.biznews.com/africa/2018/11/06/zimbabwe-inches-closer-brink-analysis).

Other points

  • Cathy Buckle writes a moving article on the trial ordinary people are going through (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2018/11/my-heart-was-not-strong-enough-for-what-i-saw/).
  • Cold water has been poured on the Mnangagwa project by the Commonwealth’s critical report on the elections (http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/zimbabwe-election-commonwealth-releases-observer-group-report).
  • Reports of an apparent attempt by Zanu PF elements to abduct opposition leader Nelson Chamisa when he was returning from a rally will further blight the government’s reputation.
  • Thanks to those who helped out today in heavy rain: to Abigail Chidavayenzi, Jonathan Kariwo, Joana Kwenda, Michelle Makoni, Patricia Masamba, Bianca Mpawaenda and Ephraim Tapa for putting up the tarpaulin and banners, to Bianca, Patricia and Michelle for looking after the front table, to Abigail, Joana, Simbarashe Jingo and Joyce Mbairatsunga for handing out flyers and to Jonathan for taking photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 16 signed the register.


  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading Christmas party fundraiser. Saturday 24th November 2018 from 7:30pm until 11:00pm. Venue: The Spice Oven Buffet Restaurant, 2 – 4 Church Street, Reading RG4 8AT. ROHR. Tickets: £20 per adult, free entry for children under 5 years. For more information, contact: Deborah Harry (07578894896), Charles Mararirakwenda (07588275745), Joshua Kahari (07877246251), Sihle (07985712749).
  • 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 over the past 15 years 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 for £10. All proceeds will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
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