‘Peace, love and harmony’? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

When Mugabe stormed out of the Commonwealth nearly 20 years ago the Vigil thought both sides would be happy: Mugabe would have finally escaped British ‘oppression’ and the Commonwealth would be free of a maverick dictator.


So it comes as something of a surprise to us that President Mnangagwa is eager to rejoin the organisation, especially since his guides in China and Russia are opposed to the West of which the Commonwealth is a pillar.

NewZimbabwe reports a strong Zimbabwean presence for the Commonwealth’s Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda. It says Zimbabwean ministers, business leaders, students and members of civil society have flocked to Rwanda’s capital Kigali for the meeting. The Zimbabwean Ambassador to Rwanda Charity Manyeruke said the government welcomed as a ‘positive development’ the invitation to attend the meeting. ‘Zimbabwe is excited to be participating in Commonwealth forums as this presents opportunities to network with the international community taking into account the government of Zimbabwe’s policy of engagement and reengagement,’ Manyeruke said.

For his part, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade David Musabayana said: ‘We are humbled to be invited to attend as observers. We have been engaged on various forums where we are networking. There is a lot of interest in Zimbabwe from Commonwealth member countries who are keen to do business and invest in Zimbabwe.’ He said Zimbabwe’s bid to be readmitted to the Commonwealth was going well.

Before being readmitted Zimbabwe must demonstrate that it complies with the fundamental values set out in the Commonwealth charter, including democracy and rule of law plus protection of human rights such as freedom of expression. The Vigil believes that Zimbabwe falls far short of complying with these values and urges the Commonwealth to take no further moves until after next year’s election, which will no doubt be rigged and hopefully exposed by foreign observers present for the voting (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/stong-zimbabwe-presence-in-rwanda-as-harare-eyes-commonwealth-re-admission/).

Mnangagwa appears to be already preparing the ground for further repressive action against the opposition. His latest move has been to accuse the Citizens’ Coalition for Change of stage-managing countrywide acts of political violence. Speaking about the clashes between CCC activists and Zanu PF supporters after the recent murder of opposition member Moreblessing Ali, he said: ‘The nation is now familiar with these shenanigans and incidences of staged violence, which are designed to tarnish the image of Zimbabwe, especially ahead of major international meetings. This time, the destabilising and violent theatrics by opposition elements are being done ahead of the CHOGM meeting in Rwanda. Shame on you if you are the leader of a political party that thrives on violence and the insecurity of our people.’

He went on: ‘The levels and intensity of falsehoods being peddled by some opposition political parties to whip their supporters into orgies of violence, hate and disharmony, is now extremely worrisome and my administration will not stand by and watch. Violence has no place in the Zimbabwe we are building. We want peace, love and harmony.’ (See: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-220549.html.)

Mnangagwa did not comment on Zimbabwean nurses being beaten by riot police for joining a nationwide strike by health workers demanding a living wage and complaining of poor working conditions. The Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enoch Dongo condemned the police action as barbaric and deplorable but national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was unaware of the incident.

The nurses were apparently angry over remarks by the Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube that there was no crisis in the country and that everything is well – so well that annual inflation rate this month rose to 191.6% (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/06/police-beat-up-striking-nurses/).

Other points

Events and Notices:

  • Next ROHR Meeting. Saturday 2nd July at 11 am.
  • Next Vigil meeting outside the Zimbabwe  Embassy. Saturday 2nd July from 2 – 5 pm. We will continue meeting on the first and third Saturdays of every month. On other Saturdays we will continue the virtual Vigil.
  • 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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