Back to 2008 – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

How time flies. Here we are again with hyperinflation, emptying shelves and no real money: just as predicted when Zanu PF cast off the constraints of coalition government 5 years ago and started feeding again. 

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, chastened by his look into the government ledgers, is visiting Britain in a desperate bid to raise money – Zimbabwe having been rebuffed by China, tired of non-performing loans. The Vigil wishes Ncube the best of luck.

Apart from talks with the British government and prospective investors, the minister is scheduled to speak on Monday at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London, where the Vigil has staged many protests against Zanu PF representatives, notably Ncube’s predecessor Chinamasa.

The new minister is, we believe, a non-party figure. So this time we will be taking the day off, giving him the benefit of the doubt. We too want investment in our country.

But Ncube’s new tax on electronic money transactions shows how desperate the Zimbabwean government is. The MDC describes it as a tax on the poor. Ncube’s task now is to ensure that the rich share the burden and spare us the sight of a $3 million Bugati car being unloaded at Robert Mugabe International Airport.

The diaspora watches anxiously as the government tries to deal with the the deteriorating financial situation, though we are encouraged by signs of a more responsive attitude by the authorities on some fronts. We were astonished when the new Minister of Health and Childcare, Dr Obadiah Moyo, promptly flew to Bulawayo to look into a public health question brought to his attention by human rights activists. ‘Burombo flats has got burst pipes with running raw sewage, sometimes running through the houses’, he was told (see:

Another heartening sign of a change in behaviour is suggested by a court decision ordering the state to pay $150,000 to the human rights activist Jestina Mukoko for damages after she was abducted in 2008 and tortured by state security agents.

Other points

  • One of our Vigil activists, Daizy Fabian, is to speak at the 2018 Conference of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) on Saturday 27th October. Daizy’s aunt was one of those shot dead by soldiers on 1st August. For full details see: ‘Events and Notices’ below.
  • Thanks to those who came early on a rainy day – the first in London in ages – to help set up the table and put up the banners: Miriam Gasho, Josephine Jombe, Marian Machekanyanga, Alice Majola, Margaret Munenge and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Josephine, Alice and Marian for looking after the front table, to Heather Makawa and Deborah Harry for handing out flyers and to Heather for taking extra photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 25 signed the register.


  • 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:
  • Vigil’s 16th anniversary. Saturday 13th October from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. Please join us to mark the Vigil’s anniversary.
  • Relaunch of Reading MDC branch. Saturday13th October from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: Risk, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. For more information call: Deborah Harry 07578894896, Model Pamire 07737485777.
  • 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.
  • ACTSA Conference 2018 – Zimbabwe: More of the same? Saturday 27th October from 2 – 4 pm at Unite the Union, 128 Theobalds Rd, London, WC1X 8TN – nearest tubes are Holborn and Russell Square. Following Zimbabwe’s highly controversial national elections and the post-election repression, what does the future look like for human rights, equality and sustainable development in the country? Speakers include Daizy Fabian (Restoration of Human Rights / Zimbabwe Vigil), Hugo Knoppert (Zimbabwe Europe Network) and Glanis Changachirere (Institute for Young Women Development).This is a free event but please register by emailing [email protected] to confirm your place. And please share with your colleagues and networks:
  • 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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