At a time when President Mnangagwa seeks to rejoin the Commonwealth and improve relations with the West, Zanu PF’s ruthless determination to subdue the opposition is reaching reckless proportions.
Certainly, they have done themselves no favours with the free world by convicting the award-winning Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga of inciting violence by carrying a placard two years ago calling for political reform.
The magistrate said the protest could have incited other people to join the anti-government demonstration and cause a breach of the peace. She sentenced Dangarembgwa and a companion Julie Barnes to a suspended prison sentence and a fine of US$120.
The magistrate said they were intent on provoking violence. ‘Clearly they wanted to pass a message. It was not peaceful at all. They were expressing opinions and it was meant to provoke.’ For their part, Dangarembgwa said they had only been exercising their freedom of expression.
After the hearing she said the verdict was an attack on freedom of expression and she would appeal. ‘I am not surprised by the verdict because we are in a situation where media freedom is not encouraged. So this means the space for freedom of expression is shrinking and is being criminalized.’ (See: https://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-court-finds-author-and-activist-tsitsi-dangarembga-guilty-of-inciting-violence/a-63281070.)
Among other prominent victims of the clampdown on the opposition is the leading member of the CCC Job Sikhala, who has been detained in Chikarubi prison for going on four months on accusations of inciting violence.
The deadening rule of Zanu PF appears to be putting off young people from involvement in politics. A new Afrobarometer survey shows that only slightly more than half the 18 – 35 year-olds say they will probably or definitely vote in the 2023 elections. Zanu PF Director for Communications Tafadzwa Mugwadi said he was satisfied with this but added that there was a need to ensure potential voters were assisted.
- Our 20th anniversary on 15th October is in two weeks. We sent this message to our Vigil activists: ‘Please come to our 20th anniversary event and encourage others to come. We always say we mark the occasion rather than celebrate because after 20 years of campaigning things are no better in Zimbabwe in terms of human rights abuse and lack of democracy. However our Vigil activists can be congratulated on their consistency and commitment. Unlike many human rights organisations we have not been armchair activists, we have come out onto the street week after week to be the voice of the voiceless in Zimbabwe. We look forward to seeing many old friends.’ Check https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/52384860127/sizes/z/ for flyer. Thanks to Vigil activist Chido Makawa for producing the flyer.
- 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:
- Next Vigil meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Saturday 15th October from 2 – 5 pm when we will mark the 20th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Vigil. Until then we will continue with 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.
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