Reports from Zimbabwe suggest that security chiefs are becoming increasingly anxious that discontent may lead to unrest. They are said to have deployed large numbers of intelligence officers in civilian clothes around the country. They are also said to fear mutiny by disgruntled soldiers (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2020/02/07/panicky-army-chiefs-deploy-special-forces/).
While there is widespread hunger as food prices rise and the Zimbabwe dollar withers, vegetables in urban markets are rotting because people can’t afford to buy them (see: https://reliefweb.int/report/zimbabwe/vegetables-rot-food-markets-across-zimbabwe-while-half-population-faces-food).
Women are bearing the main share of the burden. A survey by Transparency International Zimbabwe said more than 57% of women had been forced to offer sexual favours in exchange for jobs, medical care and even seeking placements at schools for their children. The organisation said in its report: ‘sex is a currency in many corrupt deals in Zimbabwe’. (see: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/feb/08/more-than-half-of-women-in-zimbabwe-have-faced-sextortion-finds-survey).
Discord within the ruling party is further destabilizing the country. Three Zanu PF youth leaders have been suspended by the Politburo after calling a news conference to accuse some of Mnangagwa’s close allies of corruption. Secretary for Youth Affairs Pupurai Togarepi was stripped of his position and Youth Political Commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu and Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Lewis Matutu were demoted and ordered to go for ‘political orientation’ at the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology.
President Mnangagwa was particularly critical of Togarepi because, he said, he had appointed him to his post even though he was not qualified being 56 years old. For his part, Matutu said afterwards that he would continue fighting corruption. He declared that he would ‘rather die for something than live for nothing’ and added that 2020 would be the beginning of a decade of action by youths.
Tsenengamu said he would not attend the six-month course at the Ideology school. Those who had ordered it should be the ones going there. ‘I do not care what will happen next. I am part of society, live in society and know what corruption is doing to the livelihoods of ordinary people.’
The youth leaders accused three controversial business tycoons, Kuda Tagwirei, Billy Rautenbach (the Green Fuels boss) and Tafadzwa Musarara (Chair of the Grain Millers’ Association) of corruptly grabbing all government tenders.
Matutu said “Let me talk about Tagwirei. I really want to know why he is the one who supplies everything to government — fuel. If we go to Command Agriculture, it’s him at the helm. There was an attempt to investigate him, but he evaded. He has tentacles everywhere, including the money on the black market, he controls that.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/02/zanu-pf-youths-finger-ed-allies/ and https://zwnews.com/unfazed-matutu-says-fight-continues-declares-decade-of-action-as-zanu-pf-implodes/).
- Many starving people must be amazed by the Zanu PF-connected businessman Genius Ginimbi’s court battles as he faces a new charge of fraud in connection with importing another Bentley. He recently shared on his Instagram account a video of himself buying a 2-seater Ferrari 488 Spider for US$350,000 to join his collection of super cars at his mansion in Dombashawa which includes 2 Rolls-Royces and 3 Bentleys among many other top range cars (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/02/socialite-ginimbi-arrested-for-fraud/).
- The Zimbabwe government is to waste US$4.5million on sending tame members of the government-appointed Political Actors’ Dialogue (POLAD) on foreign trips to promote government policiies, POLAD has been boycotted by MDC leader Chamisa (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2020/02/polad-foreign-trips-to-gobble-us45m.html).
- Zimbabweans who have complacently regarded themselves as somehow better than Malawians may have to rethink following the Malawian court ruling that their country’s election last year was rigged – a shock to the system in Zimbabwe where this would be impossible because our rigging is so superior.
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Daizy Fabian, Deborah Harry, Jonathan Kariwo, Netsayi Makarichi, Chido Makawa, Rosemary Maponga, Benjamin Molife, Esther Munyira, Molly Ngavaimbe, Tsitsi Nyirongo, Qiniso Sibanda, Bigboy Sibanda, Ephraim Tapa, Kevin Wheeldon and Nattalie Zvoma. Thanks to Rosemary for looking after the front table, to Chido, Benjamin, Tsitsi, Bigboy, Kevin and Nattalie for handing out flyers, to Chido for drumming, to Deborah, Chido and Jonathan for photos, to Molly for the opening prayer, to Tsitsi for donating a rattle and to Rosemary for bringing tea, coffee and cakes.
- Thanks to those who have contributed to the ROHR’s Valentine fundraising dinner: Pamela Chirimuta, Ragarirai Chivaviro, Simbarashe Jingo, Netsayi Makarichi, Chido Makawa, Garikai Mananje, Benjamin Molife, Washington Mugari, Margaret Munenge, Molly Ngavaimbe and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Happy Chazuza for his contribution to the ROHR Mtoko irrigation project
- 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: 18 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Valentine’s fundraising dinner dance. Saturday 15th February from 6 pm till late. Venue: 38 Marcon Place, London E8 1LP. The event is in aid of women living with HIV/AIDS in rural Zimbabwe. Tickets £30. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Molly Ngavaimbe 07415443973, Patricia Masamba 07708116625 and Margaret Munenge 07384300283.
- ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 14th March from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Esther Munyira 07492058107.
- 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.
- World Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe. Friday 6th March. This year the focus is on Zimbabwe and the service has been prepared by Christian women in Zimbabwe. The theme is ‘Rise! Take you mat and walk’. Christians all round the world will be praying for Zimbabwe. Try to get your own church involved. For more information check: https://www.wwdp.org.uk/.
- Living on the Edge. Tuesday 10th March from 7 – 9 pm (doors open at 6 pm). Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. The event is organised by the Mike Campbell Foundation. Among the speakers are Chief Felix Ndiweni and Beatrice Mtetwa. For full details: https://media.wix.com/ugd/02876c_5b68a136280c42ebbf39f8ebbb722299.pdf.
- 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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