It said ‘Zimbabwe has over the course of the last two years, seen a concerted effort by the government of Zimbabwe to severely limit and close out civic and democratic space.’
Crisis said the security situation was worsening as the country headed towards the 26th March by-elections and the 2023 general elections. It spoke of attacks by machete-wielding gangs on opposition party supporters and the leniency of the police toward the attackers as well as the use of hate speech.
The Coalition, which represents 350 civic groups, said economic conditions had also worsened because of state-sanctioned corruption. ‘Crony capitalism has taken root, and we have witnessed a few politically connected and exposed persons clinch the majority of state tenders.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/csos-call-for-sadc-intervention-in-zimbabwe/.)
For its part, the Zimbabwe Peace Project accused the Zanu PF government of doling out food aid and agricultural inputs at its campaign rallies while denying food aid to villagers aligned to the opposition. Joy Mabenge of ActionAid Zimbabwe pleaded with the police to carry out their constitutional duties and bring to book all perpetrators of political violence (see:
The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network said some people were now scared to wear yellow clothes because it was identified with Nelson Chamisa’s new Citizens’ Coalition for Change party which has been attracting large numbers to its rallies. Supporters in their party regalia have complained of coming under attack or being refused access to public goods and services (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/zim-political-violence-poses-risk-to-region/).
In the UK Parliament a government minister Lord Courtown urged President Mnangagwa to ensure that all political parties were allowed to operate without harassment, He was responding to reports that a CCC supporter, Mboneni Ncube, had been killed by alleged Zanu PF thugs at a rally in Kweke.
The question was raised in the House of Lords by the Co-Chair off the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, Lord Oates, who said: ‘Is the Minister aware that, at a ZANU-PF rally on 26 February, Vice President Chiwenga said to the opposition CCC, ‘you see how we crush lice… You put it in a flat stone then flatten it to the extent that even flies will not make a meal out of it. That is what we are going to do to CCC. The following day, a CCC rally was attacked with iron bars, machetes and spears. One opposition supporter was killed and many more were hospitalised.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/uk-parly-demands-justice-for-slain-chamisa-supporter/.)
The Vigil is fully behind Lord Oates who we were happy to meet at one of our protests outside the Embassy in London.
- Nelson Chamisa is scheduled to address a meeting in London on 30th March to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation which aims to restore the rule of law, justice, human rights and property rights for all in Zimbabwe. See ‘Events and Notices’ for further details.
- Many Zimbabweans turned up for a party to mark the 60th birthday of Ephraim Tapa, leader of the Vigil and ROHR. For photos, check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297318275.
- Church leaders in Zimbabwe have urged the government to ensure free, fair and peaceful by- elections on 26th March. They say at the general elections next year they will have observers at every polling station (see: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/africa/news/2022-02/zimbabwe-s-church-leaders-issue-statement-on-the-elections-we-w.html).
- Zimbabwean economist Godfrey Kanyenze says government mismanagement not sanctions is to be blamed for the state of the economy. His book ‘Leaving so many behind – the Link between Politics and the Economy of Zimbabwe’ has just been published. He says that by the time sanctions were imposed Zimbabwe was already in a serious economic crisis which began in the late 1990s. The book argues that the unprecedented economic rebound during the GNU period, even in the midst of continued existence of sanctions and restrictive measures contradicts the sanctions blame game (see: https://allafrica.com/stories/202203100330.html).
- Our virtual Vigil activist today was Gladys Muduve who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297303666 for today’s photos.
- 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:
- 10th Anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation. Wednesday 30th March 2022 from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Scheduled speakers include: Nelson Chamisa, Fadzayi Mahere, Baroness Kate Hoey and Ben Freeth. Tickets £15. For tickets, check: https://event.bookitbee.com/38180/mike-campbell-foundation and for information flyer, check: https://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/_files/ugd/02876c_f762aa1e6ae64863913b91e9ed33d4db.pdf
- 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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