Nelson Chamisa has appealed to President Ramaphosa’s government not to ignore the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe by ‘burying its head in the sand and having an ostrich mentality’. He was talking to the South African national broadcaster SABC on a visit following the launch of his new party Citizens’ Coalition for Change.
Chamisa said his former party the MDC had been infiltrated by Zanu PF. ‘The basket of bad apples has now been flushed out. We are left with purity. I must thank Mr. Mnangagwa for the splendid job to take away those who have been retarding progress, those who want money, those who want opportunities, those who want trinkets and trappings of office. We are on a mission, an emancipation project, a freedom project to free Zimbabwe. We are doing everything to make sure that no stone, no corner is left unturned. We don’t want the ballot to be replaced by the bullet.’
Appealing to the South African government, he said: ‘Zimbabwe is broken. Let us fix Zimbabwe. We need the support and helping hand of Africa. South Africa must come to the show. Help us to resolve our fundamental issues. Support the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe. It is not about a political party, Zanu PF. Zanu PF has ceased to be a vehicle for the emancipation of the people’. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/dont-have-an-ostrich-mentality-chamisa-to-ramaphosa-on-zim-crisis/.)
Zimbabwe’s human rights record came in for strong criticism at a UN meeting in Geneva. The executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Musa Kika, interviewed by Newsday, said torture was one of the main issues. ‘More than half of the countries that spoke raised the issue. Zimbabwe has refused to ratify the convention, yet torture is quite prevalent in the country. There is torture in detention, torture done by the police when they are doing their patrols, torture done by the army, we have torture that is outside the State institutions, the political side, opposition activists have been tortured, and our laws in Zimbabwe are not adequate.’
Asked about the presentation at the meeting by Justice Minister Ziyambi, Kika said: ‘Unfortunately, the national report turned to whitewashing the human rights situation. It was painting a glorious picture of human rights in Zimbabwe. That national report alone, without reading other reports or without knowing the situation in Zimbabwe, you would think that Zimbabwe is heaven on earth.’
‘It reported mainly on what government was doing, sometimes inaccurately. There was very little emphasis on what government has failed to do or has neglected deliberately. For example, there was a statement that no single journalist has been arrested for practising journalism. We know that is not true because there are several reports that have been made about that. We now have the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill which has been gazetted and seeks to restrict the work of CSOs. Government did not even speak about the effects of that Bill. It went on to claim that the Bill was created after widespread consultations, including the civil society. We know it’s false, none of us in the civil society were ever consulted. There were several other lies and misleading statements in the report.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/01/interview-african-countries-must-condemn-zim-atrocities/.)
Confirmation of Musa Kika’s comment on the bad treatment of journalists in Zimbabwe came in another report in Newsday about the harrowing experiences of Zimbabwean journalist Jeffrey Moyo (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/01/i-was-jailed-for-practising-journalism-and-the-nightmare-is-not-over/).
- The government’s release of US$1.3 million to the MDC under the Political Parties’ (Finance) Act has led to new infighting between the party’s two leaders’ Douglas Mwonzora and Thokozani Khupe who argues that she should get the money because Mwonzora had recently claimed to be the leader of Chamisa’s MDC Alliance and the Supreme Court had ruled that it was not a political party! (see: https://cite.org.zw/i-regret-working-with-mwonzora-khupe/).
- Support from the Vigil has been voiced by members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK Parliament. Members expressed opposition at proposed restrictions on noise at public gatherings and argued that Zimbabweans in the UK should be allowed to continue peaceful demonstrations outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London even if their singing and drumming makes life a little uncomfortable for the Embassy (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/make-mnangagwas-life-uneasy-through-demos-uk-mps-urge-zimbabweans/),
- Because of concerns about the Covid Omicron variant, the Vigil Co-ordinators suspended the physical meetings at the Embassy. We will review this when the situation improves. In the meantime we will continue to run the Virtual Vigil as we did during lockdown. The Virtual Vigil shows the powers-that-be that we are still campaigning against their iniquitous behaviour and enables our activists to continue our protest and allows us to support them individually. Activists who wish to participate virtually should pose in their Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia with a relevant poster and take a photo / selfie during normal Vigil hours (Saturdays between 2 and 5 pm). The photos will be labelled with your name and uploaded onto the Vigil website, the Vigil’s Flickr photo page and Facebook. You will also be listed on the Vigil diary as having participated in that day’s virtual Vigil. 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. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720296309809 for today’s photos. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Nolanga Ndlovu who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
Events and Notices:
- 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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The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday 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.