Zim Vigil Report 4th June 2016
The protest was launched on Wednesday when eleven people from the Zimbabwe Activist Alliance and other civil society organisations bedded down in the square. They said they wanted to raise a number of issues for public debate. Lynette Mudehwe, coordinator of the Activist Alliance, called for the rejection of the bond notes to be introduced by the Reserve Bank in October and said people should also not accept bank withdrawals being limited to only $50 a day.
Lynda Masarira, leader of Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance, said the government had shown it did not care for the needs of the people especially women. She complained of ‘black oppression’. The Secretary-General of the National Students’ Union, Makomborero Haruzivishe, also joined the protest, saying they were tired of watching while the fruits of Zimbabwe’s independence were being squandered by just a few individuals. (see: Camping Zimbabwe Protesters Vow to Push for Social, Economic Reform – 16 Days of Activism).
The Occupy Africa Unity Square facebook page today said they had come under attack early on Saturday morning by fourteen men. It said Lynette was grabbed and her ID taken out of her wallet. After inspecting it, they wiped their fingerprints off and returned it, holding it with what they had wiped it with, clearly indicating that they were trained. One disabled woman, Naspar Manyau, was indecently assaulted and tipped from her wheelchair towards the stove at which she had been warming her feet. The men grabbed blankets and other possessions and several activists were attacked and injured. Patson Dzamara, brother of the missing activist Itai, who was sleeping nearby managed to recover the blankets (see: Occupy Unity Square and for a video of the activists outlining their concerns / demands, see: https://youtu.be/4vEOwCzBzMk).
A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil passed a resolution of solidarity with the demonstrators: ‘The Zimbabwe Action Forum salutes the activists taking part in the sixteen-day round-the-clock protest in Africa Unity Square in Harare. We have demonstrated outside Zimbabwe House in London for fourteen years in support of human rights and free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. Only by reclaiming our human rights as guaranteed by the constitution can we achieve change and rebuild our country. Your action encourages us to continue the struggle for justice, equality and a better future for our children.’
Patson Dzamara on Monday released a photograph of what looked like his brother with his hands tied behind his back and a bandage around his head. He told a news conference: ‘Some individuals from within the evil establishment volunteered information regarding who abducted Itai Dzamara, why and where he was kept. The heinous act was executed by state security agents, in particular the military intelligence.’ He went on: ‘We can’t allow Mr Mugabe’s Mafia to continue abusing us like this. This is abnormal and we are not going to normalise the abnormal.’ (see: First Pictures of Itai Dzamara).
Even Zanu PF’s Minister of Higher Education, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has changed his tune and now admits that Dzamara was abducted. But he says he hasn’t a clue who did it . . . Clearly the professor is not as bright as he thinks he is!
The revived Occupy Africa Unity Square protest, together with Pastor Evan Mawawire’s #ThisFlag campaign with its ‘hatichada, hadichatya’ slogan, reflects widening unrest at the government’s failure to turn around the economy. Some fifty civic organisations under the banner of the Zimbabwe National Agreement Platform have also urged the public to reject bond notes. Spokesman Bishop Ancelimo Magaya said that following the illegitimate 2013 elections Zanu PF wanted to reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar to fund their 2018 election campaign. ‘The decision to print bond notes will not help anyone but the political leaders. There is no positive to bond notes and we are certain they are externalising their money. They are making massive withdrawals to relocate their wealth outside the country.’ See: Reject Bond Notes).
A different picture was not surprisingly given by the Chief Secretary to the President Dr Misheck Sibanda who said the country was on the verge of economic recovery (Bias from Propaganda Herald).The Vigil notes that his optimism flies in the face of all evidence, including indications from China that it will suspend the so-called megadeals involving energy and infrastructure investment in protest at the booting out of the Chinese from the Chiadza diamond fields. The Chinese have taken the government to court over the matter and have complained of a lack of respect for property rights (see: China and Diamonds).
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