Heading for dictatorship – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa is well on the way to becoming a full-blown dictatorship, according to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. It said in a report that the current administration is even worse than the Mugabe regime in governance, rule of law and human rights, among other things.



‘In as much as the “Second Republic” or “New Dispensation” came promising wide ranging reforms of the country’s politics and governance mode, the evidence at hand point to more talk and less action,’ it observed.

In particular, Crisis Coalition noted a high level of systematic and escalating violations of human rights by the security forces, particularly targeting opposition members and civic actors such as journalists, student leaders and trade unionists (see: https://www.263chat.com/not-much-difference-between-first-and-second-republic/).

Crisis Coalition said that under Mnangagwa there had been a ‘heavy militarisation’ of businesses through the emergence of opaque security sector-run companies in ventures ranging from diamond and gold mining to farming, tourism and fuel industries.

‘At the heart of the Zimbabwe crisis lies a nationalistic military business and political class that has been growing its tentacles to all sectors of society since 2000.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/zim-morphing-towards-dictatorship/.)

Evidence of the government’s determination to override human rights and ensure it wins the 2023 elections came with the gazetting of the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill which will seriously curtail the activities of civic society organisations.

The legal think tank Veritas said the bill contravened the provisions of the declaration of rights in the constitution, was not clearly drafted and encouraged government officials to make unduly repressive interpretations and would stifle democracy and economic development (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/outcry-over-anti-ngos-bill/).

For its part, the MDC Alliance said the proposed law was unconstitutional, draconian and undemocratic. Party spokesperson Fadzai Mahere said: ‘The PVO Bill confirms that the regime is in panic mode and its solution to the bad governance and legitimacy crisis is to stifle democratic freedoms as we approach 2023.’ (See: https://thestandard.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/14/proposed-law-exposes-mnangagwa-panic/.)

Other points

  • The MDC Alliance says party leader Nelson Chamisa’s campaigning in rural areas was again disrupted by Zanu PF, this time in Nkayi, Matabeleland North. Deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba said the state ‘unleashed terror’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/nkayi-police-disrupt-chamisa-rally/).
  • The success of Mnangagwa’s recent trip to the UK can perhaps be judged by the dismissive response of the Archbishop of Canterbury to a delegation of clergymen included in Mnangagwa’s entourage. They asked the Archbishop’s help for the  removal of sanctions. He said he would ‘see how we can advocate for the poorest while ensuring that those who steal from the country what is not theirs, be themselves not the beneficiaries (and) don’t benefit from the relief of the sanctions.’ (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/sanctions-no-mercy-for-thieves-says-uk-cleric/.)
  • The Vigil was visited today by the Zimbabwean cricketer Francis Ncube who now lives in Bournemouth in Southern England.  He said how cheered he was to see us.
  • Today we met outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 4th December 2021. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. 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. Thanks to those who came: Beverley Mutandiro, Casper Nyamakura, Charles Mararirakwenda, David Makuyana, Delice Gavazah, Jonathan Kariwo, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Margaret Munenge, Patricia Masamba, Philip Maponga, Richard Munyama and Rose Benton. Special thanks to Patricia Masambe for bringing the Vigil paraphernalia through the confusing mass of roadworks in London’s streets. Photos of today’s Vigil can be accessed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720161200459.

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 4th December 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.
  • Facebook pages:  

Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

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