The British government says Zimbabwe remains a major source of concern because of human rights violations such as clamping down on protests against the government and the arrest of critics and journalists (see: https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/rest-of-africa/uk-raises-alarm-over-human-rights-violations-in-zimbabwe-3629650).
The Foreign Office statement came as the House of Lords discussed what was described as the deteriorating political and socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Members called for intervention by SADC, particularly South Africa.
Parliamentarians insisted that, before being able to return to the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe should meet certain conditions, including holding free and fair elections. President Mnangagwa is keen to rejoin the organisation from which Mugabe walked out.
A minister of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Ahmad said: ‘Within Zimbabwe, we must see rights restored, the constitution respected and human rights – w hich includes the rights of other political parties to participate fully in the democratic process – guaranteed.’ He added: ‘We regularly urge the Zimbabwean government to live up to their own Constitution by ensuring that the opposition, civil society and journalists are allowed to operate without harassment and that due legal process is respected.’
Ahmad also said the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had not had a ‘one-on-one’ meeting with Mnangagwa at the recent Glasgow climate change conference (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2021/11/uk-presses-govt-over-free-and-fair-polls.html and a video of the House of Lords debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ARbI5RdqwA).
The US has also dismissed claims that Mnangagwa had discussed the removal of sanctions at a meeting with President Biden at the conference. A US spokesperson said they had only met briefly at a reception.
The Zimbabwe Independent also reports that the South African government is very dismissive of Mnangagwa. A recent online discussion organised by the journalist Hopewell Chin’ono heard South African Head of Public Diplomacy Clayson Monyela say that the South African government had no kind words for their Zimbabwean counterparts. ‘Take my word for it, some of the language that is used when there are meetings behind closed doors, you would be shocked.’ (See: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2021/11/26/mnangagwa-suffers-yet-another-diplomatic-blow/.)
The Vigil was pleased to see that medical experts in the UK have been full of praise for their South African counterparts for the speed of their reporting of the new Covid variant, now named the Omicron variant. international flights to South Africa and Zimbabwe and other southern African countries have been halted but one leading British scientist says a new vaccine can quickly be produced to counter the variant (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1183-how-long-before-a-vaccine-protects-us-against-the-omicron-covid-variant-).
- NewZimbabwe says that some Zimbabweans in the diaspora express fears for their security and that of their families for calling for the return of constitutionalism and the rule of law. They say that Zimbabwean security agents keep a list of people to be targeted. A Zimbabwean asylum lawyer working in the UK is alleged to be involved in this. On the list are said to be a number of Vigil activists (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/rogue-diasporans-fret-over-safety-on-returning-to-home/).
- Chinese mining firms have been accused of decimating delicate environments, along with attempts to displaced thousands of villagers from their ancestral lands. The Zimbabwe Independent reports that a petition has been launched calling for Chinese investors to be stopped from mining for chrome in Mutorashanga in Matabeleland West. Local residents fear it will damage the Green Pool scenic resort (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2021/11/26/tempers-flare-as-chinese-threaten-sacred-resort/).
- Today was a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 4th December. 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. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157720235716615. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Joyce Mbairatsunga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Richard Munyama and Delice Gavazah who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
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.
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