On Friday President Mnangagwa ‘broke ground’ for a new parliament building. Coming a time when Zimbabwe is in economic meltdown it shows a bizarre choice of priorities. Mnangagwa will protest that China is paying for this white elephant but it will be naïve to think it will not come at a price. And, anyway, is it necessary? If the current building is too small why not reduce the number of parliamentarians? This is what the UK is doing.
Apparently, 350 legislators are too many to be accommodated by the current parliament in the heart of the capital. So now we are to have 650-seater at Mount Hamden, nearly 20 kilometres north west of Harare. When will the government get the message that Zimbabwe is broke? Out of the blue, it was announced that the state is to build a luxurious new home in Borrowdale for Mnangagwa. It is not as if he is short of places to lay his head. After all, he is one of the richest men in Zimbabwe.
And how much is it costing the state to hire luxurious aircraft from abroad to fly him off on his insatiable travels? Just because Mugabe did it it is no reason for him to follow suit. Public anger at the state of the economy was evident on Thursday when thousands turned out in Harare for a demonstration called by the MDC, which accused Mnangagwa of a ‘cocktail of lies’. It said he had broken countless promises – from promising that bank queues would disappear in less than 100 days to promising to create tens of thousands of jobs as foreign investment flooded in.MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and Alliance Vice Chairman Tendai Biti called for a political dialogue with President Mnangagwa to end the economic turmoil.
Speaking at the Commission of Inquiry into the post-election army shootings in Harare, they said the political crisis was suffocating the ordinary citizen and a dialogue was needed to move the country forward. A spanking new parliament building at this time is a folly but a refusal to talk to the opposition would be an even bigger one. Other points
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners and look after the front table during the Vigil: Alice Majola, Tarisai Matambanadzo, Getrude Mudede and Faith Ndhlovu and a special thank you to Alice Majola for climbing up and down the ladder on a damp day to put up the high banners and the string cradle for the tarpaulin. Thanks to Faith and Heather Makawa for handing out flyers and to Jonathan for taking photos.
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FOR THE RECORD: 11 signed the register.EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 15th December from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
- 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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