African Union hypocrisy – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

The African Union’s condemnation of the military coup in Sudan exposes the hypocrisy of the organization. The chair of the AU Commission said it was not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan and the aspirations of its people. The fact is that the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir was a result of a growing popular uprising in Sudan.

The AU claims to promote the human rights of the African people but here it has positioned itself in support of yet another clapped-out military dictator. For the past decade Bashir has been a fugitive from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, notably the genocide of people in the Darfur region. An estimated 300,000 people died in the ethnic conflict there between mainly Christian southerners who are agriculturalists and more nomadic livestock herders of Arab descent.

A few years ago when Bashir was in South Africa for a conference, the South African government secretly flew him out of the country in the face of legal proceedings there to arrest him and send him for trial.

The reality is that the AU is a club of those in power, designed to prevent real change rather than promote it. Although it claims to be against military coups it quickly accepted the military takeover in Zimbabwe when it became clear that the same people remained in charge. No doubt it will come to the same decision in Sudan, where a militarily led transitional government is set to be in power for the next two years.

Whether the people will accept this must be in doubt as they are thirsty for real change, just as they are in Zimbabwe, where the people are being told that the future is bright but there are just a few financial adjustments to be made first which may appear to make you poorer. Bear with it and tomorrow will be better.

President Mnangagwa must hope that his tentative moves towards reform will prevent serious unrest. Dispossessed white farmers have grasped at just an olive leaf of compensation and people in Matabeleland and the Midlands have been encouraged that Zanu PF is now gingerly engaging with the Gukurahundi genocide.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Simbarashe Jingo, Jonathan Kariwo, Thomas Mahasoh, Gertrude Makosvo, Patricia Masamba, Margaret Munenge and Esther Munyira. Thanks to Patricia, Esther and Margaret for looking after the front table, to Simbarashe, Thomas, Daizy Fabian, Miriam Gasho, Tapiwa Muskwe and Simon Nyanhi for handing out flyers and to Patricia for photos.
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EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR Reading branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 27th April. General meeting from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Outreach from 2 – 5 pm at the Vigil. Contact: Joshua Kahari (branch information and publicity) 07877246251, Nicodimus Muganhu (branch chairperson) 07877386792, Alice Shimika (branch secretary) 07462067504
  • 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 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 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.
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