Open letter to Finance Minister Ncube – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

You may remember the ever-popular Hollywood film Groundhog Day. (It seems to shown every day!) The film tells the story of a man who had to repeatedly relive the previous day until he finally learnt to live it properly. We fear you face the same predicament.

You must have learnt a lot in the few short weeks you have been in office – for instance that it is not as easy as you thought to ditch the odious bond money. And that the Herald’s daily reports of mega-billions of dollars about to pour into the country are Groundhog news.

In fact, as you must be aware by now, things are getting worse by the day. The economy continues to deteriorate, prices rise inexorably and the difficulty of getting foreign exchange is ever more acute.

Reports of your visit to New York with President Mnangagwa say you favour a ‘big bang’ fiscal shock to spur a programme of economic reform, but fear being constrained by politics. Your fear is justified. The International Monetary Fund seems (every day!) to have offered to help Zimbabwe but Zanu PF (every day!) spits out the medicine it prescribes.

Next month sees the 16th anniversary of the weekly Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. During this time we have recorded in our diaries what has been going on in Zimbabwe. The diaries have been published in our book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’. Since you have not been in Zimbabwe for much of this time we are sending you a copy of this book so you can see what happened in your absence.

You will read, week by week, of the madness of Zanu PF in plunging the country into violence and destitution. Our view is that until the Zanu PF philosophy of smash and grab is expunged Zimbabweans in general will be unable to realise the riches endowed on our country.

If you glance through the book you will read of one disastrous mistake after another, from the chaotic land reforms to Murambatsvina, from the 2008 cholera epidemic and the collapse of the health system to the 2010 indigenisation law and Mugabe’s bland statement in March 2016 that $15 billion had been looted from the diamond mines.

The lesson is that nothing changes under Zanu PF. Welcome to Groundhog Day.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Linda Dodzo, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Michelle Makoni, Raymond Mashamba, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Pearl Shambare, Soneni Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Pearl, Soneni and Margaret for looking after the front table, to Michelle, Chido, Abigail and Heather for handing out flyers, to Heather for photos and to Ephraim, Esther and Raymond for putting up the banners and tarpaulin.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 16 signed the register.


  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th October from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 20th October from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy 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 Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Mike Campbell Foundation – Zimbabwe: rising from the ruins? Tuesday 9th October from 7 – 9 pm (doors open at 6 .30 pm). Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Speakers include: Kate Hoey MP (Chair), Ben Freeth MBE, Fergal Keane OBE, Archbishop Sentamu, Chief Felix Ndiweni and Gift Konjana. To book, visit:
  • 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.
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