All show and no substance – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

As ever, there have been two versions of Zimbabwe in the news this week. On one hand there has been the opening of the brand new parliament building; on the other a BBC report from Zimbabwe speaks of ‘a climate of fear’, with few people prepared to speak their mind.

A pompous Herald report from the wilds of Mount Hampden was beyond satire. It describes the new parliament as ‘an embodiment of splendour’ which will ‘embrace true democracy, not merely representation’. The building, it adds, apparently ‘exudes endeavour’ and will ‘shed the colonial baggage of (mis)representation’.

What on earth can all that mean? The building was a generous gift from China. But be sure they will expect something in return and you can be pretty certain the new building won’t be, as the Herald trumpets, ‘the grand door to democracy’. (See:

The Vigil is more sympathetic to the BBC’s report by Shingai Nyoka, which was altogether less positive about the situation. ‘I mind my own business’, one street vendor tells the BBC. He doesn’t wish to be named. ‘People who speak their mind . . . some end up in prison. So I keep things to myself’, the vendor said.

The BBC report says inflation today is 268% – many times higher than it was when Mugabe was ousted. Meanwhile the proportion of Zimbabweans in extreme poverty has almost doubled – from 30% in 2017 to 50% during the Covid pandemic, says the World Bank.

The BBC interviewed Ranga Mberi, editor of business news website Newzwire, who says there has been growth and investment in mining, but ‘what matters is what’s on the food table and in people’s pockets’. He adds that inflation is the big issue that people will judge Mnangagwa by (see:

Meanwhile, 43 international human rights organisations have urged the government to stop its attacks on civil society organisations in Zimbabwe (see: For its part the legal thinktank Veritas says the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill, currently being discussed, will make Zimbabwe’s bid to rejoin the Commonwealth a mockery if it is passed into law (see:

The law will make people liable to prosecution if they are considered to be undermining the country. This has not occurred to the Herald which, in its verbal orgasm about the new parliament, says ‘In a democracy, citizens have an obligation to question the way they are governed and/or represented’ . . .

Other points

 Events and Notices:

  • Next Vigil meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Saturday 3rd December from 2 – 5 pm. We meet on the first and third Saturdays of every month. On other Saturdays the virtual Vigil will run.
  • 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 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 ://



Post published in: Featured

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *