‘What have we to lose?’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary, 5th September 2015

This week the Vigil’s sister organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe took to the streets of Harare and Bulawayo. They staged a demonstration in the capital against the Mugabe regime and joined in a protest march in Bulawayo against pre-paid water meters which it is argued will worsen the situation of the poor.

20950593498_ca48d27e1a_mHere is an account of what happened drawn from messages on What’s App.

Tuesday 1st September

· 14.30 from Harare: ‘Police refused permission to march for no apparent reason’ (for demo planned for 2nd).

Wednesday 2nd

· 12.23 photos of demo start appearing.

· 12.45 from Harare: ‘To all our brave cadres today thank you for defying the regime’.

· 12.47: ‘Lest some may think it was a stroll in the park – no … the police were armed to the teeth at our proposed starting and ending points. Like the wise man from the East we changed routes.’

· 13.14 message from ROHR President Ephraim Tapa in London: ‘Well done comrades. The race begins now. Together we can.’

· Other messages of congratulation come in.

· 17.36 from Harare: ‘Thanks for your encouragement. The battle line is set. No turning back now.’

· 19.08 from Harare: ‘What developments in place for Bulawayo . . ?’

Thursday 3rd – discussions about upcoming Bulawayo demo.

Friday 4th

· 09.03 Ephraim Tapa: ‘For now we have Bulawayo as our focus. Is everything ok over there?’

· 11.22 from Bulawayo: ‘Things shaping up. Stay close. Bulawayo residents demonstrating against pre-paid water meters and poor service delivery’.

· 11.26 first picture and message from Bulawayo ‘ People of all ages streaming in’.

· 13.27 picture identifying Stanley Square with a message ‘I was asked to give a solidarity speech on behalf of ROHR Zimbabwe International, and good people I nailed it before an estimated 3,000 at Stanley Square.’

· 13.47 from same person: ‘Pray for us. After this the regime will not love it. Security.’

· More photos come in.

· 18.35: Ephraim Tapa: ‘Congratulations guys. We can continue to go from strength to strength. And yes, together we can.’

· 20.07 from Bulawayo: ‘Good people I wish you were all in Bulawayo today. We had a wonderful day and now people know about ROHR and we had our flyers and everyone wanted to be part of us. We thank God for this day coz it was the birth of ROHR in Bulawayo.’

· 20.43 onwards messages from Bulawayo: ‘Our dream and vision will never die’, ‘Together as one’ and ‘What have we to lose’.

Saturday 5th

· 08.49 from Bulawayo: ‘Bulawayo has set a precedent. An estimated crowd of 3000 took to the streets demonstrating against the proposed installation of pre-paid water meters. Like a true giant ROHR’s banners led the procession from Town House to Stanley Square where speeches were delivered’.

Vigil co-ordinator Fungayi Mabhunu said he’d received a message from Harare about the demo there. It said people were very supportive. They identified with demands for human rights.

Other points

· Ephraim Tapa said he had advised ROHR in Harare that it was their constitutional right to demonstrate regardless of what the police said. Ephraim, who was speaking at the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) held after the Vigil, disclosed he had just made an undercover visit to Zimbabwe. He said plans were underway for demonstrations in other areas. ‘Very soon you will see a lot of things happening in Zimbabwe at our instigation’, he said. ‘People are looking to us in the diaspora to take the lead.’ Ephraim said he had seen at first hand that Zimbabwe’s economy was grinding to a halt. The opposition was quiet and the voice of civil society muted. The talk was of ‘dead hope’. The only thriving business was the charismatic church.

· ZAF also discussed plans for a demonstration on Tuesday 22nd September against the visit to London by a Zanu PF delegation trying to drum up money. The delegation includes three ministers: Mike Bimha, S K Moyo and Obert Mpofu. There was overwhelming support at the meeting for a protest against the visit by representatives of an illegitimate regime trying to tell the world that all is well in Zimbabwe.

· Thanks to Humphrey Dube, Similenkosi Matiwaza, Edson Mulero and Thulani Chagwiza for arriving early to help set up. Thanks to Thulani, Humphrey and Caroline Witts for looking after the front table. Special thanks to Patricia Masamba for mending and washing our long cloth banners: ‘End murder, rape and torture in Zimbabwe’ and ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’. Thanks also to Tinashe Chapata for his help at the end of the Vigil.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 42 signed the register.

Post published in: Featured
  1. Patrick Guramatunhu

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