If Zimbabwe’s military regime thought that a few sensible gestures would be enough to present a more attractive face to the world they were misreading the hopes of the thousands who joyfully took to the streets to celebrate Mugabe’s downfall.
The new cabinet with recycled old frauds and hucksters was the first shock. Next came Thursday’s threadbare budget. It’s difficult to believe that resurrected Finance Minister Chinamasa really thinks that a few token reforms will bring in a flood of new investors. Some of the most obvious Zanu PF lunacies such as indigenisation have been largely dumped but the budget figures were unconvincing and will not turn round the economy. Forced retirement of civil servants at 65 must have been a painful decision for the geriatric cabinet but it will not rebalance a budget still heavily overburdened by government salaries – even if the Green Bombers are detonated.
As for the promised cost-cutting closure of some of Zimbabwe’s useless diplomatic missions, how about the London Embassy? The Vigil will run it for nothing and it will be nice to get out of the cold. Zimbabweans in South Africa would do the same, overjoyed by the recall of the current Ambassador Isaac Moyo, more suitably redeployed to the CIO cesspit.
He will fit in happily with the Congolese three: Mnangagwa, Foreign Minister Major General Sibusiso Moyo and Lands Minister Air Marshall Perence Shiri, who were named in the famous UN report about the plundering of minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (see: http://www.zambianobserver.com/mnangagwa-moyo-and-shiri-involved-in-drc-plunder-un-report/).
A presidential reprieve for a dispossessed white farmer and the departure of serial election rigger Rita Makarau from the Electoral Commission were welcome news but reports of heavy-handed unconstitutional action by soldiers on the streets gives us little confidence in the new regime. And the tough action against street vendors promises to further stir unrest.
Misheck Chizema, 48, was depressed on Tuesday during the Harare cleaup: ‘They took away my pushcart with all my bananas and apples that I had just ordered and they were fresh. We marched two weeks ago to support Ngwenya but now he has already forgotten about us, and he is now devouring us, so why did we waste our time demonstrating for him?’ (See: https://www.iol.co.za/news/special-features/zimbabwe/zimbabwean-vendors-pushed-from-streets-as-army-police-start-raids-12283212).
The ugly new face of the Zanu PF regime?
- Vigil co-ordinators Fungayi Mabhunu and Rose Benton were interviewed by Aljazeera for an article featuring the Vigil (see: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/zimbabwe-diaspora-extends-protest-mugabe-ouster-171207163238379.html). Rose points out that she was a member of the MDC when the Vigil started.
- Our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights International, Zimbabwe Chapter, organised a football tournament on Friday 8th December in aid of the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform. For a report on the event see: http://pamushana.co.zw/rohr-international-began-deployment-civilian-friends-peace/#sthash.Nd7ejgHL.dpbs and for pictures see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157661417949587.
- Two videos that may interest readers: Channel 4 video of the excesses of the Mugabe family: https://www.facebook.com/Channel4News/videos/10155467467511939/ and a message from the President of Ghana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kL8wUzK_K4.
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up and stayed to the end to pack up: Racqueline Changunda, Babula Gwatiringa, EpiphaniaKamuruko, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Junior Madzimure, Tsana May, Margaret Munenge, Farai Mutumburi and Dean Zhuwau, Thanks to Margaret and Farai for looking after the front table and to Babula, Junior, Racqueline, Dean, Epiphania, Jonathan and Fungayi for putting up the banners and handing out flyers.
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: 18 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th December 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.
- 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 6th 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 achievetrue democracy.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
Facebook pages:ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/