The Right to Public Mass Protest
Was shown not to exist in Zimbabwe by the perceived actions
of the staff at the Zimbabwe Embassy.
setting up, there was a visit from the Metropolitan police.
There were three officers.
The initial conversation started out with the
officer asking the expected questions.
He almost seemed to know who to go to.
Mr Philip Malhahla, was quick to answer, “We are here usually from
around 11:00 am until around 01:00 pm,”he said in a calm manner.
“We are peaceful people,” he continued.
“We are here all the time,” shouted one of
the ZHRO members.
“I know!” the officer
replied, as the conversation continued.
officers left by going back to their car which was parked near Raymans, along
It was rather unusual but
not surprising as the ZHRO Wednesday Weekly Vigil protest has been going for
some years now and has not been visited by police at the start in this way for
On this day quite a number of folks had arrived by 11:30am
and setting up had already been commenced.
Folk inside the embassy could be seen looking
at the protest and gesticulating towards those protesting.
“They must have called the police,” one of
the protesters said.
“We are not going anywhere,” Chipochedenga Parirenyatwa
“Apa ndepedu apa (This is now
our space and time),” she continued.
current right to protest in Zimbabwe is being met with threats by among others
Victor Matemadanda who on the 28th
of July 2019 is quoted to have
said, “We will send Soldiers who are trained to kill.”
This has resulted in the MDC President Nelson
Chamisa being reluctant to call the masses out to protest in fear for the
likely massive loss of life, yet it is a basic human right the world over to
Shortly after the Police left, a middle aged man came from
within the Zimbabwean Embassy and said he was from a company that is trying to
build hospitals in Zimbabwe.
He said the
Zimbabwe government would pay deposits first, then the UK companies would go to
Zimbabwe and start the building of the hospitals with their own money.
He seemed keen to insist that no Government
officials would be getting their hands on the money. Government Ministers can simply get
the contracts for the supply of Labour, Machinery, Materials or Financial
Products then hey Presto, like magic, what he has said is thrown out with the
He also seemed keen to point out that the Zimbabwe
Government would be paying for the Hospitals in instalments, which obviously
means foreign currency.
Most of the
remittances of foreign currency to Zimbabwe, are from the Diaspora and not from
The keenness of the Zimbabwe
Embassy to stop the Wednesday Vigil protest then became as clear as day.
They (The Zimbabwe Embassy)
actually meeting with the UK companies to try and strike the deals during the
ZHRO Protests and ZHRO Protesting could potentially affect the outcome of their
deals, as ZHRO know how to make noise.
“I am actually shocked that you have not poured water on
me,” said the middle-aged man.
statement was greeted with laughter by the ZHRO team he was talking to.
He then subtly tried to push the government
line that Zimbabwe was actually better off, now without the $USD as main tender
than with the $USD.
He followed on
saying that the main fault for the current crises in Zimbabwe lies with the
Mugabe regime and that Mnangagwa was actually trying to fix things. This is despite the fact that
Mnangagwa was in Government for almost all of the time that Mugabe was in
Rushiwe Bayisayi, then responded to this by saying, “even if
you are not in Government, then you do well.
At the end of the day, it is Government that will come in and say, Oh,
look at what we have done.
He had no answer for this.
He then praised the currency changes and likened what is
happening now in Zimbabwe to what happens in the UK. “ One needs to take money
to the bank or bureau de change” he said with a smile.
“If the money can not be changed here (in the
UK), it is B*&@ S^*$
, its is proper B*&@
S^*$,” Chipo Parirenyatwa exclaimed.
day it can be changed here (in the UK), I will say it is good.
Till then sorry.”
The other challenge is that the Zimbabwe
dollar was removed using Parliament voting and Law makers actually voted on
The reinstatement of the
Zimbabwe Dollar would thus most likely have needed to be reinstated through the
Parliamentary voting system.
This may be
seen as a lack of due process on the part of the Government.
This is going by the explanation given by the
former Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
The next topic was regarding the alleged corruption charges
against a female ZANU PF Member of parliament.
(Her name has been left out to avoid prejudicing the case as
it is live in court.)
Its all a smoke screen some said.
“IT’S FAKE,” Rashiwe Bayisayi pointed out.
“Her bags were being carried for her,” Sarah
“She could be going
home every day,” Sarah Bayisayi continued.
“Apparently Ginimbe used to have Chicken Inn (deep fried chicken take
away) every day,” she continued.
allowed to have their relatives deliver food to them,” he responded, “so….”
“The axe of the law needs to fall on everyone in an equal
measure,” stressed Rashiwe Bayisayi.
“Wiwa was in mahand crafs (Hand calfs), yet she (name withheld) was
walking like a free person and she had her bags and food being carried for
This was in reference to a
statement by Themba Mliswa in parliament where he said, Ziyambi Ziyambi must
erect a VIP section for Kleptocrats.
This statement was said on the 30th
of July 2019.
When he was shown pictures of ZANU PF stone bakeries, the
man looked on in shock.
going backwards,” Sarah said.
varikurwara (These ones are ill)” Chipo added.
“It looks like a stone bread oven he said in shock.”
“IT ACTUALLY IS A STONE OVEN,” another ZHRO
“How can you as children
accept to be run by ancestral spirits (ne Mudzimu), whilst you are so young?”
Chipo Parirenyatwa asked.
“Those old ones never want to leave,” Chipo Parirenyatwa
said in a calm voice.
The stone baked
ovens are reportedly to be used for the commercial baking of bread for the
There is a picture of a stone
bakery within the grounds of ZANU PF Headquaters.
The reason the Government is pushing the idea
of the stone bakeries, is that there are up to 18 hour power outages in some
parts of Zimbabwe, thus making it difficult for companies (such as large scale
bakeries) that rely on a steady supply of electricity to operate.
Chipochedenga Parirenyatwa then thanked the man for coming
out to have a chat.
“As you can see your
jacket is clean and dry.
There is no
If those ones in there come out,
we will spray them,” she joked, whilst pointing at the Embassy.
The Vigil then got on and started with a Prayer as
Announcements that were made
included that for the 110km Walk for freedom that is going to start early in on
Saturday the 10th
of July in Brighton.
Later on, towards what was meant to be the end of the Vigil
protest, a council employee accompanied by his colleagues came and asked about
The conversation was similar
to that had with the Police.
The council employee left within 5 minutes
and this made those attending the Vigil increase their volume and stay for much
longer at the Vigil than was initially intended.
Some people who looked like they were from
the companies that had been talked about earlier were later seen leaving the
Zimbabwean Embassy, whilst folk in the Embassy continued looking on and
gesticulating at the vigil.
acted as a prompt for the end of the Vigil.
Thank you to all who attended the Vigil.