Zimbabwean demonstrators confronted President Robert Mugabe’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa for the second time in two days when he arrived for a money-raising conference in London on Tuesday.
Chinamasa was driven up at about 8 am to a side door of the conference venue in the financial district. If he thought he would evade Vigil protesters he was mistaken.
Vigil co-ordinator Fungayi Mabhunu spotted ZIM 1, the Ambassador’s car, and when Chinamasa got out Fungayi demanded to know what he had done with the $15 billion Mugabe says has disappeared from diamond revenues.
‘He was really shaken’, said Fungayi.
The Vigil was congratulated on its work by former coalition finance minister Tendai Biti.
‘Well done guys you are doing a good job’, he said when he arrived for the conference. He was happy to be photographed with us and took a bundle of our leaflets to hand out at the meeting.
Congratulations also came from Zimbabwean journalist Peta Thornycroft who was covering the conference which Zanu PF hopes will help get loans and investment to make up for the $15 billion it has looted.
The Vigil hears that at Monday’s meeting at Chatham House international affairs think tank in London Chinamasa had no answers to questions put to him. ‘He was arrogant and rude’, our source said.
As the protest got underway Fungayi received the following WhatsApp message:
‘05/07/2016, 11:13 MESSAGE FROM ZRP OFFICER: I am a member of the security forces at a very high level. I want to assure Zimbabweans that the generality of the security forces are all with you. We have seen our bosses panicking. We are having a lot of pressure coming from the first family more than from our bosses.
The security forces resources are too little and the personnel resources are too demotivated to be in thestreet fighting the same people who didn’t only kept us going but also give us accommodation. Who are we without the masses. We rent your houses. We use your free transport to go to work.
Our teargas banks are very dwindled and the government knows that we cannot last a week, Our cars are broken down, we only have a few and we all know you will burn them down soon, We have no reason to be fighting the people whom we are meant to be protecting.
Please don’t beat these young police officers unless they threaten or beat you up. Personally I urge you to continue protesting peacefully, return violence where u are provoked. Target minister private businesses. The few police officers injured will make it clear to others that they should stop hitting people.
We will need nurses to look after us yet we are beating them and harassing. We need teachers to teach our children well in class yet we are beating and harassing us. We know we only got paid before you because we are used to protect this corrupt government. The terrible corruption going on in the roadblocks is a disgrace for most of us in police, but it’s a enrichment tool for few bosses. We want to be a respectful force.
We need this reform the masses of Zimbabwe have initiated. Zimbabwe Republic Police force can not control Harare if you the people of Zimbabwe decide to protest from all Harare locations, how can we control the whole country on protest— the bosses know. Politicians are not sleeping. Mpoko is afraid he is the easiest target.
Mnangagwa is very reluctant to advise because Mugabe does not listen. Grace have started preparing for exile, they are afraid and they know the sooner they run away the better. Keep going out brothers and sisters. The country has no money. The security forces will not be paid this month because chinamasa could not getloans from Europe.
And chinamasa coming empty handed will make Mugabe and his family start shaking. Trust me. Don’t lose hope. Genuine police are all behind you. I am one of them. Don’t kill us we love you. We are part of you. Yes return fight for those who are assaulting civilian.
Watch the situation, you will realise that some police officers will not beat people even when some are beating. Do not loot private businesses. Don’t let police take some protesters easy, fight and get them free. Thank you. Please share this messages. From a high rank ZRP’
For video of the Vigil confronting Chinamasa at Chatham House check: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz9L0dL9aUs. There will be a fuller report on today’s events later.
Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http:/www.zimvigil.co.uk.