The Times newspaper in the UK hails it as ‘good news for sub-Saharan Africa’. (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1161-the-times-view-on-hakainde-hichilemas-election-zambian-democracy.)
It is certainly good news for Zambia to get rid of the disastrous President Lungu who drove the country into bankruptcy crippled by unsustainable debt to China.
But for Zimbabwe the consequence is rather different. The lesson Zanu PF will take from the successful democratic election in Zambia is that Lungu was stupid in not guaranteeing the result beforehand or, if necessary, changing it afterwards.
Zanu PF, backed by those models of democracy China and Russia has no doubt already hired the usual professional election-riggers to ensure their own re-election in 2023. As usual, the freeloading international election monitors, wined and dined by Mnangagwa, will endorse the outcome, supported by gullible academics, all too ready to accept the unbelievable.
The Vigil pays tribute to former President Lungu for accepting the will of the people. We wish the new President Hakainde Hichilema every success in his efforts to turn around the economy and create jobs for the young – a key problem in Africa from Morocco to South Africa. According to the Times many unemployed graduates wore their academic gowns to the polling stations to drive home this point (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1162-hakainde-hichilema-ill-recharge-economy-says-new-zambian-leader).
Perhaps their counterparts in Zimbabwe should do the same in 2023. But this discounts Zanu PF’s capacity to smother any opposition ahead of elections – combined with its control of the judiciary, the electoral commission, the armed forces and the state media.
Zambian youth activist Joseph Kalimbwe has urged Zimbabwean youths not to leave polling stations after voting but to stay until results have been announced to counter rigging (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/guard-your-votes-top-zambian-activist-tells-zim-youths/).
For his part, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has said his turn is coming. He congratulated Zambia’s new president and said his victory ‘inspired us all’. Zimbabwe’s Information Ministry spokesman, Nick Mangwana, was quick to mock this, commenting ‘there is always this bridesmaid who is never destined to marry’. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/chamisa-speaks-on-zambia-election-zimbabwes-turn-is-coming/.)
Mnangagwa’s spokesman, George Charamba, added in a tweet: ‘Mnangagwa and his generation did not go to war so they could hand over the country to Chamisa on a silver platter (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/08/military-wont-hand-over-power/).
- Zanu PF is getting excited by the prospect of Mnangagwa visiting the UK. If he does the Vigil hopes to find an opportunity to confront him but we have seen no concrete information on a visit and we advise Zanu PF to spend their energy explaining why Mnangagwa’s son was seen taking delivery of a US$500,000 Rolls-Royce (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/08/mnangagwas-twin-son-takes-delivery-of-us500k-rolls-royce/).
- Perhaps it’s things like this that persuaded the UK to now designate Zimbabwe as a risky investment destination because of high-level corruption (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/08/uk-flags-zim-as-risky/).
- Today is a virtual Vigil and we didn’t physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. For the moment we are meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 28th August 2021. On the other Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil where we ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719764688060. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Babula Gwatiringa, Jane Kaphuwa, Rosemary Maponga, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Margaret Munenge, Grace Munyanyi and Casper Nyamakura who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
Events and Notices:
- The next Vigil. Saturday 28th August from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
- Vigil and ROHR picnic in Richmond Park. Saturday 4th September. Vigil and ROHR activists are organising this event. More information as plans develop.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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. 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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