ZAF seeks common Diaspora voice

A well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) held after the Vigil appointed an interim committee to further the diaspora initiative of offering an alternative political programme alongside progressive forces in Zimbabwe. The 10-member committee will build on the resolutions of the Vigil’s all-stakeholders’ conference held in October.

Vigil supporters in London last week.
Vigil supporters in London last week.

Their aim is to reach out to the diaspora with a view to agreeing a common voice and mobilising for action, and to liaise with progressive forces back home to take the change agenda forward. The committee was also mandated to organise an all-inclusive, elective diaspora convention.

The chairperson, Ephraim Tapa, said the diaspora had been excluded from the political debate in Zimbabwe but internal processes there had failed to dislodge President Robert Mugabe. The ZAF noted that the MDC, as it stands today, had run its course and the diaspora must help create a vehicle to fill the political vacuum and bring an end to the crisis. “We are the missing link,” said Tapa.

Members of the committee are: Arnold Magwanyata, Benjamin Semwayo, Ephraim Tapa, Fungayi Mabhunu, Michelle Dube, Patricia Masamba, Rose Benton, Walter Nhliziyo, Walter Shoko and Wilbert Mukori.

An insight into daily life in rural Zimbabwe came in a message from a pastor whose work in the Bulawayo area is supported by some Vigil people: “Although we do relief work at Mazwi, it is never enough.

There is always hunger there. So women and families have to walk a long way through the bush to the municipal dump site to scavenge for food (18 km). Some of these women have been raped as they walk home and their gleanings have been taken away.

I have reported this to the police. They have told us that two robbers escaped from Khame Prison and have been reported being seen in this area. They say they are investigating all the cases. Last week three women all carrying babies on their back, and fat they had gathered from the dump site, came across a man wielding a long knife. They ran away but one woman was caught and raped. When she came back home, one of the women who had been with her started to laugh at her, accusing her, saying that she should have run as fast as the others. She said that since she was a widow she was probably looking for a man and that’s why she got what she got.

This did not go well with the raped woman and she called on the elders; I was also called in to attend to the case. I ministered to her.” The Vigil welcomes Morgan Tsvangirai’s call for action to pressurise Mugabe to address the economic challenges. Why has the MDC waited so long?

We are disappointed that politicians are spending their time discussing the 2018 elections. The country can’t wait that long. Time for action is now.

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