The MDC T leader Douglas Mwonzora emailed the Vigil to complain that we had been mistaken in last week’s diary about his reaction to President Mnangagwa’s by-election announcement, in particular the reference to him rushing to a meeting with the President (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/1190-election-fever–zimbabwe-vigil-diary-8th-january-2022).
Here is his email: ‘Thank you for your newsletter on the election fever in Zimbabwe. At the onset, I wish to protest the content of this article. You seek to create an image that I rushed to State House after the announcement of the election dates in order to discuss the same with President Mnangagwa. This is a false narrative. My meeting with President Mnangagwa had nothing to do with byelections at all. In fact, the meeting had been scheduled to take place two days before but was deferred by the President himself. I met the President as part of our strategy to push dialogue in Zimbabwe. While some political leaders think that dialogue is a waste of time we believe that it is the answer to the polarisation that has afflicted our society. It is a pity that you would publish the story wherein you cast serious aspersions against us without even caring to hear our side of the story. We are sure that you are very much aware that in this case, we had the right to reply to the allegations. Contrary to what you seek to portray in your article, some of the things discussed at the meeting was the need for social, political, and economic reforms in Zimbabwe, the need to operationalize the constitutional provision relating to the youth quota, poverty eradication, unemployment, devolution, inequality, loss of social protection and the erosion of pensions in our country, governance, and corruption. We also discussed the need for electoral reforms including the Diaspora vote in our efforts to remove the disenfranchisement of Zimbabweans living abroad. We, therefore, demand the right of reply to your article.’
The Vigil wants to be fair to all parties. We rely very much on the Zimbabwean media for information and by and large have been impressed by the standard of journalism now practised.
In another development Mr Mwonzora said he was pleased after a chance encounter with two leading members of Chamisa’s MDC Alliance, the Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume and Makomborero Haruzivishe, who has just been granted bail after spending nine months in a remand prison on kidnapping and violence charges (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mwonzora-says-encounter-with-pro-chamisa-mako-cordial-pleasant/).
- The UK Home Secretary (internal affairs minister) Priti Patel has announced that asylum seekers in the UK will be able to work as carers if they have been waiting for more than 12 months in the UK for permission to stay. The UK is very short of care workers for old and disabled people and this should help many Zimbabweans to get legal work (see: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/14/asylum-seekers-can-work-care-homes-priti-patel-rule-change/#:~:text=Up%20to%2032%2C000%20asylum%20seekers,more%20than%20a%20year%20waiting).
- Because of concerns about the Covid Omicron variant, the Vigil Co-ordinators have decided to suspend the physical meetings at the Embassy. We will review this when the situation improves. In the meantime, we will continue to run the Virtual Vigil as we did during lockdown. The Virtual Vigil shows the powers-that-be that we are still campaigning against their iniquitous behaviour and enables our activists to continue our protest and allows us to support them individually. To participate in the Virtual Vigil, activists who wish to participate virtually should pose in their Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia with a relevant poster and take a photo/selfie during normal Vigil hours (Saturdays between 2 and 5 pm). The photos will be labelled with your name and uploaded onto the Vigil website, the Vigil’s Flickr photo page and Facebook. You will also be listed on the Vigil diary as having participated in that day’s virtual Vigil. 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. For today’s photos, see https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720295994388. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Joyce Mbairatsunga who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For 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 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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The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 17.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.Post published in: Featured