President Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address was delivered virtually from the comfort of State House. Everything is going well, he said, the economy is flying. (As to where it’s flying, read on.)
Zimbabwean exiles, gathered outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London to mark the nineteenth anniversary of the Vigil, were glad to be there in person today. We were not convinced by Mnangagwa’s virtual speech and were pleased to hear that the MDC T leader Douglas Mwonzora was critical, saying that Mnangagwa’s government had failed to address issues affecting the people.
Mwonzora complained that Mnangagwa had not talked about electoral reforms: ‘He did not speak on issues of corruption. Zimbabwe is losing about US$3 billion per year because of illicit financial flows’, he added.
In this virtual parliamentary fiasco, where the MDC of Nelson Chamisa has been virtually excluded, it was encouraging to hear someone raising the key questions of corruption and electoral reform (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/10/mnangagwa-speech-hot-air/).
The massive leak of financial documents known as the Pandora Papers has exposed dodgy offshore transactions by powerful people all over the world. Among them of course are Zimbabweans.
They include what NewZimbabwe describes as ‘massive diamond plunder’ by Mnangagwa’s relative Martin Rushwayo, deputy chief secretary to the president and cabinet. Apparently he set up an offshore shell company in the Seychelles to trade in diamonds while serving as defence secretary (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/massive-diamond-plunder-exposed-in-leak/).
Mnangawa’s attempts to persuade the world that he is not just another tinpot dictator and Chinese lackey have failed, judging by the brush-off Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava received from the European Union’s Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen.
The Commissioner insisted that Zimbabwe should fully implement political and economic reforms, including the recommendations made by the EU’s 2018 Observer Mission, before the next elections in 2023 (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/10/eu-demands-zim-reforms/).
- We had a good turnout at our nineteenth anniversary Vigil including Ephraim Tapa and Rose Benton who had been at the first Vigil in October 2002. There was a lot of interest from passers-by, drawn by the singing and drumming. They couldn’t help see our posters such as ‘Nineteen years of fighting for freedom for Zimbabweans’. It was stressed that we do not celebrate Vigil anniversaries – 19 years of human rights abuse and lack of democracy in Zimbabwe is not something to be celebrated. However we marked the occasion because we are proud of 19 years of committed protest against the oppression of the Zimbabwe people by the Zanu PF regime. Thanks to those who came today to help set up, look after the front table, hand out flyers and pack up at the end: Amina Matewele, Babula Gwatiringa, Casper Nyamakura, Dambudzo Marimira, Delice Gavazah, Dennis Benton, Ephraim Tapa, Esther Munyira, Jonathan Kariwo, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Kevin Wheeldon, Margaret Munenge, Mary Muteyerwa, Philip Maponga, Richard Munyama and Rose Benton, Photos of today’s Vigil can be accessed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719984176898.
- The Zimbabwe Peace Project says a woman, Sharai Mukaro, was tortured and killed by the police in Chivhu, Mashonaland East. She was being interrogated accused of concealing money stolen by her sister (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/10/female-suspect-succumbs-to-police-torture/).
- The widow of Robert Mugabe is challenging a fine of five cows and two goats imposed by a traditional leader for allegedly burying her husband’s body improperly (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1172-grace-mugabe-fined-five-cows-and-two-goats-for-improper-burial-of-zimbabwe-dictator).
- Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga, is not short of money. He hired two South African entertainers to perform at his lavish 50th birthday celebrations and was so pleased with their performance that he promised to pay then five times the agreed amount (see: https://iharare.com/top-zimbabwe-govt-official-pays-south-african-artists-5-times-their-bill/).
- Next Saturday (16th October) will be a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 23rd October. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages.
- For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
Events and Notices:
- Virtual Vigil. Saturday 16th October.
- ROHR Bi-annual Conference. Saturday 23rd October. Among agenda items is 1) leadership renewal, 2) 2022 activity calendar, 3) immigration matters and 4) campaign strategy.
- The next Vigil. Saturday 23rd October from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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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