The anti-sanctions public holiday on Friday was a new dimension in Zimbabwean lunacy, buoyed by mistaken African solidarity. They accept Zanu PF propaganda without looking into what these sanctions are or why they were imposed.
They won’t even notice the poor attendance at the anti-sanctions rallies in Harare and Bulawayo – where the main interest of those attending was the chicken, chips and Pepsi on offer. Fortunately, the economic effect of a day off work will be minimal in a country of mass unemployment.
It is dereliction of care that SADC doesn’t pay attention to the catastrophe in Zimbabwe. Are they not troubled by this ‘invitation’ to the anti-sanctions rally sent to ‘all Heads of ministries and departments in Bulawayo’? ‘Your members of staff are invited without fail to be part of this very important march. May you kindly favour this office with a list of your members of staff for ease of accountability.’ A copy of the letter can be seen on this link: https://www.vantunews.com/news/politics-anti-sanctions-march-bulawayo-civil-servants-invited-without-fail-by-government-a-register-to-be-used-to-mark-those-present
To the Vigil this sounds like fascist North Korea – unsurprising since the Matabeleland genocide in the 1980s was committed by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade of Mnangagwa.
An article in Newsday by the US Ambassador Brian Nichols pulls no punches: ‘Blaming sanctions is a convenient scapegoat to distract the public from the real reasons behind Zimbabwe’s economic challenges —corruption, economic mismanagement, and failure to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law.’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/10/its-not-sanctions-its-corruption-lack-of-reforms-2/).
The US followed it up with another punch, banning state security minister Owen Ncube from entering the US because of his involvement in gross violations of human rights. ‘We are deeply troubled by the Zimbabwean government’s use of state-sanctioned violence against peaceful protestors, and civil society, as well as against labour leaders and members of the opposition leaders in Zimbabwe,’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. ‘We urge the government to stop the violence, investigate and hold accountable officials responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Zimbabwe,’ he said.
The Vigil today marked one such abuse with this letter to the Zimbabwean Embassy signed by all present: ‘Your countrymen outside the Embassy are protesting today at the brutal murder of Harare street vendor Hilton Tafadzwa Tamangani by the police. Tamangani was arrested along with ten other vendors and taken to Harare police station, where they were beaten with baton sticks. 29-year-old Tamangani, who has a seven-year-old son, was left in agony from his injuries and died without sedatives during the night. The Zimbabwe Vigil calls for an inquiry into his death and the prosecution of the offenders .Scandals like this have become all too common, with the police acting illegally, with impunity.’ Thanks to Rosemary Maponga, Mary Muteyerwa and Patience Chimba for leading on this protest and bringing posters.
- A Pastor in the Bulawayo area who is supported by some Vigil activists reports: ‘Wherever we go people no longer say the usual ‘How are you/I am fine.’ They go directly into talking about their problems. They say: I haven’t eaten for two days, no food at all, even today. We made a mistake by voting for the present government because we thought that by removing the late president things would get better, but they are worse. The prices have gone up so much we can’t afford to buy; the children will die. They can’t even go to school; We can’t afford to go to hospital when we are sick because the bus fares are too high. Now our money can’t buy anything. After all this the President doesn’t say anything, nothing encouraging, no plan. At least President Mugabe would say something. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the whole nation. There’s hunger everywhere. If you need anything like a birth-certificate you have to pay somebody for it. If you don’t pay you don’t get it. We are praying and praying and praying and we thank God that we are still alive. He has heard our prayers.’ (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1044-report-from-the-bulawayo-pastor-october-2019).
- Thanks to those who helped set up the front table and put up the banners on a wet day: Cynthia Chibanda, Benjamin Chigamba, Marvellous Chinguwa, Leslie Gakanje, Delice Gavazah, Rosemary Maponga, Esther Munyira, Mary Muteyerwa, Hazvinei Saili, Rudo Takiya, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon. Thanks to Rosemary and Hazvinei for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei, Marvellous and Esther for handing out flyers, to Mary and Delice for drumming, to Delice for prayer and to Hazvinei and Jonathan Kariwo for photos.
- We’ve had many wet Vigils lately so a collection was made to buy a gazebo. Thanks to those who contributed: Happy Chazuza, Benjamin Chigamba, Patience Chimba, Marvellous Chinguwa, Rangarirai Chivariro, Delice Gavazah, Yvonne Jacobs, Philip Maponga, Rodwell Mpawose, Washington Mugari, Esther Munyira, Hazvinei Saili, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon.
- 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: 22 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 9th November from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Esther Munyira 07492058109.
- ROHR fundraising dinner dance. Saturday 7th December from 6 pm till late. Venue tba. ROHR is hosting a dinner dance to raise funds for a Zimbabwe peace building initiative. Tickets £25. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Hazvinei Saili 07857602830, Margaret Munenge 07384300283, Pamela Chirimuta 07762737339.
- 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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