MDC T wants to know who is printing the ballot papers, who will have custody of them and how many have been printed, as well as their chemical composition. It also wants the scrapping of polling stations it says were illegally gazetted, and protested that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had hindered access to the new biometric voters’ roll.
MDC T spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo said it appeared that the voters’ roll still had a suspicious number of centenarians on it. She said the party had been forced into a corner by President Mnangagwa’s ‘intransigence and goal-shifting’.
Mnangagwa has promised free and fair elections but there is widespread suspicion in opposition ranks that Zanu PF will once again rig the poll, following its refusal to allow the diaspora a vote. For his part, Mnangagwa has dismissed the opposition as ‘barking puppies’.
In another development, the corruption watchdog Transparency International Zimbabwe says that, despite Mnangagwa’s promises, the government seemed to lack the political will to effectively tackle corruption. It estimates that between 30% and 50% of the country’s gross domestic product is misappropriated, especially in the public sector (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/06/01/zim-lacks-political-will-fight-corruption/).
The Daily News reports that most of the officials arrested on graft allegations have been released on ‘relaxed bail conditions’, with some having their passports returned. They include permanent secretaries accused of corruption. The paper quotes Professor Stephen Chan of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies as saying ‘In Zimbabwe, the ruling elite is a tight group, bound by party ties, kinship ties, and liberation ties. Everyone knows how to steal and everyone knows someone who will know how to turn the heat down if they are caught.’ (See: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/05/30/mnangagwa-s-anti-graft-blitz-loses-steam?src=ilaw).
As users of social media may have noticed, top Zanu PF leaders including Mnangagwa and Vice-President General Chiwenga appear high on a list of 25 people alleged to be the most corrupt public figures in Zimbabwe (see: https://www.facebook.com/Mafirakurewa1/posts/1021859761313412).
Suspicion that there has been little real change since the ‘new’ regime took over seems to have been confirmed by the fiasco of the dodgy secondhand Boeing airliners bought by the government from Malaysia. The first one arrived in Zimbabwe last month for the bogus new Zimbabwe airline created because Air Zimbabwe is bankrupt. But the plane has already been returned to Malaysia without making a single commercial flight – perhaps because there were no Zimbabwean pilots trained to fly it or ground crews to service it . . . (see: https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/zims-new-big-boeing-fails-to-get-off-ground-15261033).
- The Vigil draws your attention to a peace initiative in Zimbabwe to counter voter intimidation and election violence. Calling themselves ‘We the people of Zimbabwe’, they have provided telephone numbers to which voters can report any concerns. Their control room is now live. For their information and advice, please check: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/942-we-the-people-of-zimbabwe-anything-to-report-in-your-community-.
- We were happy to welcome Vigil activist Sipho Ndlovu at the end of his 219-mile cycle ride in aid of the Human Rights Defenders’ Project of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Sipho cycled through 6 cities: Luton, Cambridge, Colchester, Chelmsford, Southend-on-Sea and back to London. To donate, and for videos of Sipho’s progress, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovuhdrproject/updates/.
- A reminder of the ROHR fundraising walk taking place on Saturday 9th June, starting at Redbridge Station at 9 am and ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go towards the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform’s (ZimPAP) programme to safeguard voters and raise awareness for free and fair elections. If you wish to participate or contribute, please check full details in our ‘Events and Notices’ section.
- It was good to welcome Vigil activist Sister Beverley Mutandiro to the Vigil for the first time since the birth of her baby. Little David charmed everyone.
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Jonathan Kariwo, Alice Majola, Netsayi Makarichi, Nyarai Masvosva, Patience Muyeye, Tryness Ncube, Sipho Ndlovu and Casper Nyamakura. Thanks to Alice, Patience and Nyarai for looking after the front table, to Faith and Esther Munyira for handing out flyers and to Netsayi, Patience, Tryness, Sipho, Casper and Jonathan for putting up the banners.
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: 25 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- MDC UK protest for electoral reforms. Tuesday 5th June from 11 am to 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is in support of the demonstration of the MDC in Zimbabwe to insist that electoral reforms are implemented.
- ROHR fundraising walk. Saturday 9th June. This will be a 15-mile sponsored fundraising walk starting at 9 am at Redbridge Station on the Central Line (IG4 5 DQ) and ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go towards the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform’s (ZimPAP) programme to safeguard voters and raise awareness for free and fair elections. If you wish to take part or contribute, contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Esther Munyira 07492058107, Chido Makawa 07413024807 and Heather Makawa Chitate 07716391800.
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th June from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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.
- Save the Zimbabwe elephants protest. Friday 15th June from 1 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. One of our activists Nomusa Dube is organising a protest about the export of baby elephants from Zimbabwe to China. She asks Vigil activists to join her at this protest.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years 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 for £10. All proceeds will 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.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.