The Vigil’s sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) expressed the desperation in Zimbabwe by taking part in a Valentine’s march in Harare with the theme ‘I love you Zimbabwe’.
We received this message from a ROHR member:
‘The march started at the corner of Inez Terrace and Speke Avenue. We marched into Julius Nyerere then into Nelson Mandela singing the national anthem. As we approached Second Street towards Parliament, where we intended to place a bouquet, we encountered the full force of the vicious riot police. They beat up people badly with baton sticks. Three people are hospitalized at Westend Hospital. One ROHR member is in a bad state.’
Earlier in the week, speaking at the official launch of the aid appeal, Vice-President Mnangagwa spoke of a food disaster, as if it had suddenly arisen although experts had been warning of it for atleast the last six months.
Perhaps he made the mistake of believing the lies of Agriculture Minister Mad Made who said only recently that Zimbabwe had plenty of food in stock. Mnangagwa will also no doubt back Mad Made’s insistence that any aid should not include GM food. So donors beware: you could be wasting your money sending us poisonous food when people can starve in a non-GM way.
Mnangagwa was precise about Zimbabwe’s requirements, which he said amounted to $1,572,009,953. This included money to repair irrigation equipment and livestock support and restocking, as well as soap, pharmaceuticals and three dollars for sanitary ware.
In short, Zimbabwe needs everything except GM food. Mnangagwa seems to think money grows on trees. Try shaking a baobab. But perhaps our all-weather friends in Beijing will cough up the money as weather includes drought.
The problem is that the experts the Mugabe regime have failed to listen to have warned that leaving an appeal for help too late would mean that many people would die. Apart from raising themoney, there is the transport question. Poor harvests in the region means that the food required is simply not available locally and it is now impossible to bring in enough from overseas to avert disaster.
People will starve. Mugabe may not acknowledge it, but people are already starving. Perhaps Mugabe will call off his $800,000 92nd birthday bash next week to devote the food to the suffering masses. It’s what they call a no-brainer . . . obviously the right thing. But the Vigil fears that in Zanu PF’s case no-brainer must be taken literally.
Fortunately Saving Grace now comes in. Having been scrimping and skipping meals like the poor, she now finds herself in a position to share her goodies with the masses – or at least the people who attended her rally in Chiweshe.
Her donations were listed as follows:
- 531 tonnes of maize
- 100 tonnes of rice
- Internet equipment
- 120 knapsacks
- 7.982 litres of cooking oil
- 5 tonnes of clothes
- 12.000 pairs of shoes
- 50x 300 bags of cement
- 3, 00O kg of salt
- 3,OOO ’tablets of food’
- 2,000 kg of sugar
- raincoats with a combined weight of 1,095 kg
Perhaps the raincoats were in case the drought is broken – otherwise vote Zanu PF and eat raincoats. But the Vigil asks why, given this largesse, the Zanu PF plutocracy could not simply pass the hat around themselves and come up with a mere $1.5 billion from their foreign bank accounts.
We are continuing our pressure on farm looter Dr Nyatsuro in Nottingham with another protest outside his clinic on Friday 26th February and on the following day we will submit our petition to 10 Downing Street. It calls for Dr Nyatsuro’s British citizenship to be revoked.
Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Martin Chinyanga, Kevin Gondo, Isabell Gwatidzo. Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip J Mahlahla, Jenniffer Maritsa. Esther Munyira, Cathrine Musa, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Benjamin Simbarasi and Sharon Zimuto. Thanks to Cathrine and Esther for looking after the front table and to Chipo and Isabell for running the lucky dip.