The land issue won’t go away – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

The land issue won’t go away – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Source: The land issue won’t go away – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st September 2018

Fears of a land grab in South Africa have spooked investors. The ailing rand took another tumble when President Trump said his administration was closely watching the proposed seizure of land from white farmers.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, on her whirlwind visit to Africa, was forced to comment on the matter after meeting President Ramaphosa in Cape Town. She conceded that the acquisition of white-owned land might be ok – provided it didn’t turn into a policy of ‘smash and grab’.

It’s a delicate line which has eluded Zanu PF since Mugabe encouraged land invasions at the turn of the century, sending the Zimbabwean economy into a sharp downward spiral from which it has been unable to escape.

President Mnangagwa insists he is no Mugabe but he will have trouble convincing the outside world of this unless he moves quickly with reforms. He could start by dealing with the unresolved issue of Mugabe’s rapacious greed. Despite Mugabe’s insistence that no one should own more than one farm, he himself is said to own fifteen. He must be stripped of fourteen of them.

The big problem is that everyone in the government or holding senior public positions seems to be in a similar situation. If you want to speak to a Zanu PF leader you might have to go and see them on their ‘farm’, really their country retreat as little serious agriculture seems to go on – hardly surprising when the workers often go unpaid.

There have been new calls for a land audit but this exercise has already been carried out and the outcome kept secret. The extent of the problem is seen by revelations that seven of the nine constitutional court judges who heard the MDC’s election case have a tainted history of benefitting from land invasions (see:

Other points

  • The Vigil urges the MDC to prioritise the provision of a vote for the diaspora. This week Botswana showed how it could be done, announcing that Batswana residents in the UK were being asked to register to vote in the country’s general election next year.
  • The Vigil marked the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, remembering in particular our friend Itai Dzamara who was abducted in March 2015. The new regime must disclose what it knows about the outrage.
  • Our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe arranged an outing to the seaside at Frinton on Monday. It was a lovely warm day and most of the 20 or so people who came ventured into the water after a braaivleis. Vigil co-ordinators Rose and Dennis were particularly glad to be joined by the twins named after them, now a year old.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Daizy Fabian, Josephine Jombe, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Tarisai Matambanadzo, Esther Munyira, Jennifer Senzere and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Josephine for looking after the front table and to Heather for extra photos.

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 20 signed the register.


  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 15th September from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th October from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • 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 Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Mike Campbell Foundation – Zimbabwe: rising from the ruins? Tuesday 9th October from 7 – 9 pm (doors open at 6 .30 pm). Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Speakers include: Kate Hoey MP (Chair), Ben Freeth MBE, Fergal Keane OBE, Archbishop Sentamu, Chief Felix Ndiweni and Gift Konjana. To book, visit:
  • 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
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