President Mnangagwa has described Zimbabwe as the ‘museum capital of the world’. Speaking at the opening of the Bulawayo Arts Festival, he called on local authorities to rename buildings and streets after the country’s heroes.
Mnangagwa visited monuments and museums including the Natural History Museum, which he said ‘has the biggest collection of both animal and human relics on this earth and I am told that some of the most rare artifacts in the world are found here’. (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zim-is-a-global-museum-mnangagwa/.)
He also went to the Hanging Tree where people were hanged in an Ndebele uprising against white settlers in 1896. Recently he unveiled a statue in Harare of Mbuya Nehanda, a 19th century spirit medium who has become a liberation heroine. Mnangagwa described the erection of the statue as a victory against colonialism.
According to the Herald the statue cost $56 million. The expenditure has been widely criticised at a time when the health system is under great strain because of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The writer Cathy Buckle, in her latest ‘letter from Zimbabwe’, says that some 500 kilometres away in Chimanimani victims of Cyclone Idai two years ago feel abandoned. One survivor is quoted as saying ‘Most people are still living in tents. Imagine staying in a tent every day for the past two years. We are really getting worried that this will be our life forever. What we thought would have happened and the promises we had been given, have not been fulfilled and we have lost hope.’ (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/river-of-many-hippos-and-the-bronze-statue/.)
The leader of MDC Alliance, Nelson Chamisa, says the situation in most urban centres is dire. Speaking during a tour of Harare’s residential areas, he said he was shocked by the poverty levels and the amount of uncollected garbage, which he blamed on government interference in local authorities.
His party is launching a national clean-up campaign. Chamisa said: ‘We can do a lot to take care of our environment. We have a failed leadership in this country, but as we wait to resolve and fix the fundamental broad question on failed leadership, we can do something at a community level, at a local level. It’s about residents doing something to fix our own problems. I have just walked around, it is so embarrassing.’ (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/were-doomed-chamisa/.)
Less serious but also embarrassing is the secret suffering of men beaten up by their wives. Kenyan men have appealed for help in this new men’s liberation struggle (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1145-tell-our-wives-were-in-charge-men-in-kenya-plead).
The crisis extends to Zimbabwe where one poor man has had the tables turned and instead of continuing happily to beat up his wife she has taken lessons in martial arts and is now beating him up. He has appealed for donations to take self-defence classes (see: https://www.facebook.com/TheCitizenZim/posts/man-flees-home-after-wife-bashes-himappeals-for-donations-to-take-up-self-defenc/537591097687228/).
- Despite Mnangagwa’s appeal to respect the country’s history, his government has launched a nationwide campaign to replace the famous blair toilets which were invented at Zimbabwe’s Blair Research Institute in the 1970s to improve rural sanitation. National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said new flushable toilets were going to replace them. Hopefully some of the historic blair toilets will be preserved – perhaps at parliament (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/govt-bans-blair-toilets/).
- Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719352991284. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Esther Munyira and Grace Munyanyi who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
- 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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