Source: Britain fears for Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th October 2022
As Zimbabwe’s general elections draw near, a British government minister Lord Goldsmith says the UK is deeply concerned at the challenging human rights situation in Zimbabwe. He said political parties, journalists and opponents of the government should be able to operate without harassment in line with Zimbabwe’s constitution.
Goldsmith was speaking in a debate on the Zimbabwe situation in the House of Lords prompted by Lord Oates of the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Zimbabwe. Oates, who was a teacher in Zimbabwe, expressed alarm at the political violence there and the prolonged detention of opposition members of parliament Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole.
He expressed alarm at the violent assault of Bulawayo opposition MP Jasmine Toffa. Goldsmith agreed that the world is watching the situation with concern. The Bishop of Southwark, which is linked to Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe, spoke of systemic corruption and a poor level of governance in Zimbabwe.
Another peer, Lord Collins, raised the question of Zimbabwe’s proposed Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and Goldsmith agree that it could very easily be used to undermine the ability of civil society to operate effectively. He also agreed with long time Zimbabwe campaigner Baroness Hoey that the forthcoming visit to the UK by South African President Ramaphosa would give an opportunity for the government to discuss the Zimbabwe situation (see: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2022-10-27a.1551.0).
Ramaphosa’s visit to the UK will certainly give the UK government a chance to challenge his support for Zanu PF’s propaganda blaming sanctions for Zimbabwe’s problems. For its part, the US Embassy in Harare has reacted to Tuesday’s ‘Anti-sanctions Day’ with a statement that Zimbabwe’s economic troubles have been caused not by sanctions but by years of ‘corruption, poor policy and mismanagement’ (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/perennial-corruption-not-sanctions-behind-zimbabwe-economic-woes-says-us-embassy/).
Zimbabwe is among 20 countries whose citizens are increasingly living under authoritarian rule, according to the World Justice Project Rules of Law Index (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-224829.html). Mind you, the military and police in Zimbabwe are also suffering according to the Defence and Home Affairs ministers.
Newsday reports that morale has hit rock bottom in the army ‘as the country’s soldiers wallow with inadequate rations and uniforms’. It says that Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri blamed persistent underfunding, speaking of soldiers sometimes going without food and even uniforms.
Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe speaking at a parliamentary pre-budget seminar said the situation was equally bad for the country’s police, which was ‘very desperate’ he said (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/local-news/article/200002532/hunger-stalks-army-barracks).
· The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has been accused of violating the law and restricting access to the voters’ roll (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zec-digs-in-on-voters-roll/).
Events and Notices:
- Next Vigil meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Saturday 5th November from 2 – 5 pm. We meet on the first and third Saturdays of every month. On other Saturdays the virtual Vigil will run.
- 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.
- Facebook pages :
Vigil : https ://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London meets regularly on Saturdays from 14.00 to 17.00 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/.