Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Time for the stick – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

The scale of the challenge facing the MDC is becoming ever clearer as Zanu PF puts into action its well-practiced plan to rig the vote with the arrogant confidence bred of three decades of stealing elections. 

Mugabe's trusted election rigger: Registra General Tobaiwa Mudede (in glasses)
Mugabe’s trusted election rigger: Registra General Tobaiwa Mudede (in glasses)

A corrupt voters’ roll and insuperable obstacles to voter registration, together with harassment of voter education, are merely the beginning (see: http://www.mdc.co.zw/index.php/news/42-rokstories/2348-zanu-pf-trying-to-rig-the-elections-through-the-voters-roll.html – Zanu PF trying to rig the elections through the voters roll).

We are now told by Mugabe’s handlers (straight from Orwell’s 1984) that security sector reforms were never on the agenda despite Article 13 (1) of the Global Political Agreement which reads ‘State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties’.

With the unreformed hate-spewing Zanu PF media sinking from propaganda to outright lies, the Vigil this week was asked by a Malawian journalist for a comment on visiting President Joyce Banda’s alleged call for the lifting of ‘illegal’ sanctions on Zimbabwe.

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Here is what we said: ‘The Herald is a Zanu PF propaganda sheet and cannot be relied on to report anything honestly. But if President Banda did call for the lifting of ‘illegal’ sanctions she was just parroting Mugabe’s electioneering line that seeks to blame the West for Zimbabwe’s catastrophic economic decline.

The sanctions are not illegal and were targeted at people involved in human rights abuses and their companies. Trade has continued and, anyway, most sanctions have now been suspended.’ We have since learnt Malawi has denied remarks in the Herald attributed to President Banda.

More serious than the propaganda onslaught, we believe, is Zanu PF’s total non-co-operation with the South African mediation effort (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may2_2013.html#Z1 – SA facilitation team faces another ZANU PF snub).

We believe the recidivist thugs fighting for control of Zanu PF must be brought to heel by President Zuma. We certainly don’t agree with the disparaging remarks about South Africans made by the Zambian Vice President Guy Scott.

But our confidence is somewhat shaken by a statement by the convenor of the South African facilitation team, Charles Nqakula, after Zanu PF negotiators again failed to turn up for a meeting. ‘Representatives of the two MDC parties attended the meeting but Zanu PF representatives stayed away’, he said.

‘We did not hear from Zanu PF. Our effort at raising ministers Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche failed. The MDC parties we met yesterday (Tuesday) conveyed to us what they believe are the real reasons why Zanu PF did not attend the meeting of the negotiators,’ Nqakula said.

‘On our part we believe Zanu PF representatives must have had a plausible reason for staying away. We don’t believe their action was in any way an act of bad faith.’ (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may3_2013.html#Z5 – Zanu PF plans to rig polls: Tsvangirai).

The Vigil hopes Mr Nqakula was just being diplomatic and that the South Africans are working out ways of forcing Zanu PF to honour the GPA. There is no shortage of options. They’ve tried the carrot – now it’s time for the stick.

Eddie Cross, the MDC-T MP, says in his latest overview of the situation that he expects a landslide victory in the elections (see: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/comment/blogs/eddie-cross/65452/time-speeds-by.html – Time Speeds By). We are far away and less informed but the Vigil can’t imagine an MDC victory with:

• A rigged voters’ roll

• Obstacles to voter registration (except for Zanu PF and the military)

• Intimidation of MDC voters

• Corrupt electoral commission

• Clampdown on civil society organisations

• Politicised security forces

• Biased judges

• Unreformed media

• Refusal to allow UN scrutiny

• Limits on election observers

• Total non-co-operation with SADC

Other points

• More than 30 went on from the Vigil to the fortnightly meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum, which groups a variety of organisations including the Vigil, ROHR, Zimbabwe We Can, Zapu, MDC and on this occasion a representative of Simba Makoni’s party (Mavambo Kusile Dawn). Many people believed the elections had already been sewn up by Zanu PF.

Frank Mamvura of Zimbabwe We Can said he had been on the Facebook page of the former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, who had told him that change in Zimbabwe could only be brought about by those in the diaspora and it was necessary for them to organize.

Peter Sidindi, also of Zimbabwe We Can, said the Vigil was the only Zimbabwean organization that had not lost its way over the years. Rashiwe Bayipayi from Brighton encouraged us by saying great numbers were not essential for effective action.

Two people had climbed up a tree in Brighton when it was threatened with removal and the tree was still there. It was agreed we should set up a Facebook page for the Zimbabwe Action Forum and with great efficiency Thandiwe Gwarumba set it up on her ipad during the meeting.

Fungayi Mabhunu and Michelle Dube volunteered to be the administrators of the page. Michelle also agreed to minute the meeting. Several people (Tawanda Dzimba, Wellington Mukucha, Epiphania Phiri and Frank Mamvura) volunteered for a strategy team which would identify areas the Forum should be tackling, most notably fundraising.

• Thanks to David Takundwa who was there at the start of the Vigil. He rigged up the tarpaulin between our maple trees during a sudden hail storm on an otherwise lovely spring day.

• The Vigil was sorry to hear that supporter Iline Manhunzi was in hospital – people remember her for the tasty sadza she sold at the Vigil to fundraise for ROHR. We wish her a speedy recovery.

• Activist Martin Chinyanga borrowed our Mugabe mask to stage an anti-Mugabe scenario which was filmed. See our photos.

• The Vigil was interested to see Jan Raath’s criticism of the recent controversial book ‘Zimbabwe takes back its Land’. Raath, a seasoned Zimbabwean journalist, said the book was ‘jaw-droppingly wide of the truth’ (http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71619?oid=373778&sn=Detail&pid=71619 – Max du Preez wrong about ‘Zimbabwe’s flourishing farms’).

FOR THE RECORD: 69 signed the register.