Amid speculation that President Robert Mugabe may call an early election in March to wrongfoot the opposition, the Election Watch organisation has shown that the mooted polling date could not be achieved if the proposed Biometric Voter Registration is used.
Election Watch calls on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to make alternative arrangements so that at least an updated and cleaned up existing voters’ roll is available for inspection. It warns that without a completely credible voters’ roll there cannot be a credible election next year, whether in March or any other month.
ZEC has consistently said it intends to produce a completely new voters’ roll using BVR. But the exercise has not yet started and the Election Watch report will heighten opposition fears that ZEC will once again be unable to produce an acceptable voters’ roll, opening the way for another rigged election.
The approach of the election has been accompanied by a sharp fall in the value of bond notes, with no end in sight to the queues of people trying to withdraw their money from banks. The bond note fall is shown by the widening gap between the Old Mutual’s share price on the Zimbabwe stock exchange and the price of the shares in Johannesburg and London. Worse news is expected to confirm that this year’s government budget deficit may exceed half the budget.
A further dose of reality came with the publication of a report ranking Harare as one of the worst cities in the world in which to live. The Economist Intelligence Unit looked at a 140 cities and rated Harare in the last ten, among worn-torn capitals like Damascus and Tripoli.
Try ‘rebranding’ that Tourism Minister Mzembi! You could start by clearing up Mugabe’s litter . . .
- It was agreed at the Vigil to hold a demonstration outside the Embassy on Tuesday 5th September from 11 am to 1 pm against the outrageous behaviour of Grace Mugabe and her litter. We will write a letter to Mrs Mugabe which we will try to present via the Zimbabwean Ambassador. We were encouraged by the example of ROHR supporter Linda Masarira and others who have started a petition to apologise to the South African people for the behaviour of Grace Mugabe in their country. To sign the petition go to: https://www.change.org/p/south-african-high-commission-to-zimbabwe-apology-to-the-people-of-south-africa-from-zimbabweans.
- The Vigil was interested to see a youtube video of last week’s diary about Grace’s adventures in Johannesburg on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4N4OcbyFnc.
- ROHR is continuing its fundraising activities for the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform and a boat trip on the Thames is planned for Saturday 23rd September after the Vigil. There will be more information as plans firm up.
- We were pleased to have Phillip Mahlahla back with us. He was in detention and taken to the airport for deportation but for health reasons was not put on the plane. He has been a very regular attender at the Vigil.
- Other good news is the arrival of Etines Kapiya’s twin babies. She has named them Dennis and Rose. Everyone signed a card for her. Thanks to Isabell Gwatidzo for collecting the signatures.
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Isabell Gwatidzo, Babula Gwatiringa, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Junior Madzimure, Phillip Mahlahla, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Esther Munyira, Beverley Mutandiro, Evy Muyezwa, Patricia Nyamunda, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Pearl Shambare, Vincent Shoniwa and Dean Zhuwau. Thanks to Roseline, Esther and Mavis for looking after the front table, to Babula, Junior, Evy, Alfredy and Faith Ndhlovu for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Alfredy, Vincent, Pearl, Isabell, Jonathan, Junior, Babula and Beverley for putting up and taking down the banners.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.
FOR THE RECORD: 30 signed the register.