It was a beaming President Mnangagwa – sweating in his trademark scarf – who rushed to the cameras to announce the news of this latest ‘game-changer’: a joint project with an obscure Australian group Invictus Energy to drill an oil well.
Cue: national euphoria. Our problems will be over. But the next day the prospects seemed rather less buoyant. Invictus said there had been no oil or gas discovery; a discovery could only be confirmed by drilling an exploratory well (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2018/11/invictus-no-oil-discovery-in-zim.html)
Zimbabweans live in hope. Last time it was the diamonds. And what happened to that money? President Mugabe said $15 billion of diamonds had ‘disappeared’. So even if in the years to come someone finds oil in Zimbabwe where will the money go? The prospect is that the president would announce that another $15 billion had simply disappeared.
Who that president will be is really irrelevant. Recent disclosures have cast a new light on the shadowy figures who really call the tune in Zimbabwe. The lawyer Alex Magaisa now, like so many Zimbabweans, in exile, says the new finance minister Mthuli Ncube must have been appalled at the levels of corruption he found when he started looking at the state of the economy after he descended from his ivory tower to join the cabinet.
Magaisa says: ‘He would have been aware that there was a problem, but he might not have been prepared for the complex web of corrupt relationships and deals behind the veil of government. One feature that he may have observed is the presence of a powerful clique of individuals who control not only key sectors of the economy but also government itself.’
Magaisa examines Ncube’s on/off appointment of William Mutumanje (known as Acie Lumumba) as leader of his ‘communications taskforce’ which, Magaisa says, revealed scandalous details regarding grand corruption at the Reserve Bank, claiming that government was captured. To add drama and mystery to it, he withheld the name of the alleged captor of the State, simply referring to him as the ‘Queen Bee’.
Magaisa continued: ‘Seasoned watchers of the Zimbabwean political scene had already worked out that Mutumanje was probably referring to one Kudakwashe Tagwirei, boss of Sakunda Holdings, which was reportedly bought by Trafigura, a large commodities multinational which describes itself as being “at the heart of the global economy”. Sakunda has lucrative connections with the government in areas such as power-generation, mining and agriculture, among other major deals.’
He adds that the ‘Queen Bee’ is best seen not as an individual but as a group – the oligarchy – consisting of an influential network of political, military and business elites. He describes the oligarchy as government by the few who are rich and greedy over the many who are poor.
He concludes: ‘It is difficult to see how the oligarchy can be displaced without the removal of Zanu PF and the re-establishment of the democratic order. At the moment, Zimbabwe is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy. Plato told us that an oligarchy would eventually crumble when the inequality and poverty in society forced the impoverished poor to rise against the oligarchs. Therefore, the greatest danger of the oligarchy lies in the oligarchy’s own selfishness and inability to attend to the problems of the poor.’ (See: https://www.bigsr.co.uk/single-post/2018/10/27/Big-Saturday-Read-Our-Thing—Understanding-Zimbabwe%E2%80%99s-Oligarchy.)
- It was good to have Nkululeko Sibanda, Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson, with us at the Vigil today. He said he saluted the Vigil for sticking to its principled stand for this long – a struggle for human rights and free and fair elections. He encouraged us to remain steadfast and said that Zimbabwe will be free someday. We were also pleased to be joined by former Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani.
- Thanks to those who helped out today: Jonathan Kariwo, Tryness Ncube, Simbarashe Jingo and Tawanda Chitate for putting up the banners, Tryness and Chido for looking after the front table, Tawanda, Simbarashe, Heather Makawa and Bianca Mpawaenda for handing out flyers and Heather, Jonathan and Grace Nyaumwe for taking photos.
- 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: 20 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- 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.
Facebook pages:ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/