The move follows the government’s exclusion of the party from the arrangement under which political parties receive public funds n proportion to votes they received in the last elections. The last electoral results announced by the Electoral Commission said Chamisa received 45% of the presidential vote and Mnangagwa 51% – the rest going to fringe candidates. (The results are widely regarded as having been rigged in favour of Zanu PF.)
As part of its efforts to divide the opposition, the government has now ignored Chamisa’s party and given the funds to disputed MDC breakaways, led by Douglas Mwonzora. It amounts to $60 million Zimbabwe dollars. Zanu PF is getting $140 million.
The Chamisa party’s secretary for presidential affairs Jameson Timba condemned the move, saying that there was a High Court ruling banning the grant of the funds to either MDC faction until the legal dispute between them had been resolved. He said it showed Zanu PF’s desperation to ‘oil its surrogates’ to destabilise Chamisa’s party (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-208189.html).
President Mnangagwa has admitted that Zimbabwe is deeply in debt to China and struggling to pay off its loans. Most of its deals with China are in exchange for mineral resources, leading to accusations that Mnangagwa is mortgaging Zimbabwe’s future (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/zim-sinking-in-chinese-debt-ed/).
Nevertheless, Mnangagwa is not short of money to splash out on the military. Information Minister Monica Mutsvanga said the cabinet had approved a number of projects ‘to ensure a comfortable life for the military’. They include shopping malls, residential flats and ‘robust armouries’.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Marvellous Khumalo said the government’s generosity to the military had everything to do with the forthcoming elections and also to protect the regime from any potential threats, including a coup (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/ed-pampers-military/).
Crisis in Coalition also condemned the proposed amendment of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act, which will make it a punishable offence for non-government organisations to engage in political activities. The Coalition’s director Blessing Vava said: ‘We implore the government to desist from muzzling the operations of civil society organisations and further shrinking the democratic space ahead of the 2023 elections.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/stop-persecuting-pro-democracy-forces-govt-told/.)
- Zanu PF has attacked the outgoing US Ambassador Brian Nichols, accusing him of funding opposition parties and civil society organisations to overthrow the government. In an farewell statement Nichols urged the government to ‘heed Zimbabweans’ call for free and fair elections’. (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/08/zanu-pf-attacks-outgoing-us-envoy/.)
- Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has given an interview about the difficulties or practising journalism in the country. He said Zimbabwe is ‘a terrible space for practising journalism’. Asked what was necessary to free the press in Zimbabwe he said; ‘The government just needs to follow the constitution and allow citizens who are journalists to practice their craft without hindrance, without intimidation, without state institutions being used against them’. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/journalists-in-zimbabwe-live-in-fear-of-arrest-hopewell-chinono/.)
- Today was a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 11th September. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. However, it was agreed that because we are now able to meet physically and the Vigil is about making the effort to join together in protest, it is not appropriate to continue the virtual Vigils in the same way as they were conducted when we weren’t able to meet. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719776800756. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Amina Matewele, Babula Gwatiringa, Esther Munyira and Joyce Mbairatsunga 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 11th September from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
- 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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