A coruscating report on Zimbabwe by a Johannesburg-based social and political commentator says it is high time for SADC to hold Zimbabwe to account. The writer, Tafa Mhaka, says it is not sanctions that are keeping Zimbabwe in a permanent state of crisis but its own government.
Mhaka was sceptical about President Ramaphosa’s promise on the recent 110th anniversary of the ANC that South Africa would promote democracy and economic development in Africa, particularly in the SADC region. ‘The ANC’s continuing reluctance to honestly talk about, let alone do something to address, the economic and political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe – despite it also having consequences for South Africa – is raising questions about the sincerity of the party’s self-declared resolve to find “African solutions to African problems”.’
Mhaka added: ‘Indeed, the entire SADC seems willingly blind to the damage the Mnangagwa administration is inflicting on Zimbabwe and the wider region with its ineffective economic policies and oppressive governing methods . . . While SADC leaders can preach about mysterious imperial plots and pretend there is no debilitating political crisis in Zimbabwe, they simply cannot do away with the victims of oppression and bad leadership on the ground: the hundreds of thousands of migrants compelled to seek sustainable economic opportunities and jobs in SADC countries, especially in South Africa . . . Today, there are credible fears that the government and the Zimbabwe Election Commission are conspiring to limit new voter registrations for the 2023 general and presidential elections – and the SADC, as usual, is silent on such an injustice.’ (See: https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/1/19/sadc-cannot-continue-to-ignore-zanu-pfs-many-failings.)
Zimbabweans in South Africa are said to be ‘worried and tense’ over reports of fresh xenophobic attacks there. The Chair of the Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum, Gabriel Shumba, said most foreigners in South Africa felt under siege. ‘We call upon the SADC and African Union institutions to protect foreign nationals’ rights as previous experience has indicated that there either is an unwillingness or inability to act sooner rather than later.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zimbabweans-tense-over-fresh-sa-xenophobic-threats/.)
As preparations are made for by-elections to fill vacant parliamentary and local government seats, the US Embassy in Harare has said that the government has failed to live up to its promises to create an environment that is conducive for free, fair and credible elections. It said many continued to question the independence of the Electoral Commission (see: https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/rest-of-africa/us-pressure-on-zimbabwe-over-electoral-reforms-3689160).
Zimbabwe has been ranked among the worst in the global rule of law index compiled by World Justice Project. It said it was among the ten worst countries in ‘constraint on government powers and open government regulatory enforcement’, among other indicators (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/01/zim-ranked-among-the-worst-on-rule-of-law-report/).
- Because of concerns about the Covid Omicron variant, the Vigil Co-ordinators have decided to suspend 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. To participate in the Virtual Vigil, 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. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720296157623. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Joyce Mbairatsunga and Nolanga Ndlovu who both 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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