President Mnangagwa is a smooth operator. How he was content to be Mugabe’s flunkey for 40 years is a puzzle. But whatever you think of him, he is galvanising things.
This is in sharp contrast to the torpor of the Mugabe years when Zimbabwe virtually closed down over the so-called festive season from mid-December to the end of January when dozy Bob was off in Singapore being injected with monkey glands or whatever muti he is on, allowing Zanu PF chefs to concentrate in peace on their looting of state assets.
Mnangagwa’s visit on Friday to the home of ailing MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai came as a big surprise. It was impossible to imagine Mugabe doing the same without kicking the door in first. Optimists spoke in reverent terms of Ubuntu / Unhu suggesting forgiveness, togetherness, traditional virtues. Others muttered hypocrisy . . .
After two decades of demented destruction it will certainly be no easy thing to turn around Zanu PF’s totalitarian trajectory. It’s all very well prosecuting the looters of ousted G40 but what of the shady dealings of the Lacoste locusts?
Tsvangirai’s deputy Nelson Chamisa was on hand to welcome Mnangagwa when he visited Tsvangirai, gushing: ‘it’s African to care for one another and it’s very Zimbabwean. This is the new politics we want to see in Zimbabwe . . . We want to see a peaceful election’.
Accompanied by his new Vice-President General Chiwenga, leader of the military coup which overthrew Mugabe, Mnangagwa can pretty well guarantee a ‘peaceful’ election – especially with a population high on hope that the crazy days are over. But will the elections be ‘free and fair’ when Mnangagwa’s new Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi says there is no need for any electoral reforms?
We were glad to have a cheerful group with us at a cold and dark first Vigil of the new year. It was decided that, prompted by health problems of some organisers, we would end an hour earlier (5 pm) during the winter months.
Thanks to those who came early to help set up by putting up the banners and posters and stayed till the end of the Vigil to help pack up: Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Josephine Jombe, Christopher Kamuzonde, Alice Majola, Theodora Mandishaya. Rosemary Maponga, Eunice Mapunde, Agnes Mukumba, Esther Munyira, Faith Ndhlovu, Soneni Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Rosemary, Josephine and Racqueline Changunda for looking after the front table.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.
FOR THE RECORD: 22 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 20th January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
- ROHR Reading branch community outreach and general meeting. Saturday 20th January. Community outreach from 11:30am – 1.30 pm: Venue: Broad Street, Reading. Food bank donation and general meeting from 2 – 5 pm: Venue: The RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. Contact: Sihle Sibanda (Deputy Chair) 07985712749, Shylette Chipangura (Branch Secretary 07828929806) and Joshua Kahari (Information and Publicity) 07877246251
- 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.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 20th January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- 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.
- Facebook pages:
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.