Report on the demonstration against the presence of Mnangagwa at COP26 : By Deborah Harry
On the 31st of October 2021, myself, and a number of MDC Alliance members from the UK South West District took the long journey to Glasgow for a demonstration against the presence of the dictator of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa at the COP26 Summit.
Reasons for attending the demonstration
There are several reasons why Emmerson Mnangagwa should not have been invited to attend this summit and below are a few of them:
• Mnangagwa does not care about ordinary Zimbabweans lives, let alone the future of the country and world. He knows nothing about climate change and if he did, he wouldn’t care about it unless there was personal gain for him and his close allies.
• Mnangagwa is leading as the most corrupt and ruthless leader in Zimbabwe’s history. A government that is looting resources, including mass deforestation being carried out by their Chinese network. Mass deforestation has been shown to worsen climate change.
• Mnangagwa is not the legitimate president of Zimbabwe, having taken power via a coup in 2017 and rigging the 2018 General Election for which he also sent the military to crush the 1.8. 2018 protests at which the people of Zimbabwe were demanding the results of the July harmonised elections. Many people from the MDC Alliance have been abducted, jailed, and killed by state agents under his rule. Zimbabweans know that this is not the person voted for by the majority, yet he was going to use his presence at COP26 seeking endorsement by the international community.
Since his rise to power by force, Mnangagwa has suspended all democratic processes including by-elections, arrested journalists and MDC Alliance members and officials as well as making it a criminal offence to organise or attend demonstrations. In the midst of this, Mnangagwa and Zanu PF created a fake opposition party that is rightfully being ignored by the Zimbabwean people.
Because of the above reasons and more, in particular the fact that people in Zimbabwe are no longer able to voice their opposition to Mnangagwa’s rule openly, it was very important that we attend the demonstration in Scotland and give a voice to the voiceless. We wanted to make it clear to Mnangagwa and the large entourage he brought over that we are not scared of him and will stand up to him in broad daylight.
Organisation and journey to the demo
Because of the long distance to Scotland, as well as fears about Covid, attendance from people living in England was always going to be difficult. As such there were a few of us from Reading Branch who were able to make the trip. Nonetheless, at the demo, there were going to be several people and groups attending from all the four corners of the UK. As the Reading Branch organizing secretary, I co-ordinated with members who were attending the demo. Individuals were given suggestions on what to do and everyone was clear about their roles. My role was to get #Zanupfmustgo T-shirts. Norah Bomani purchased traveling tickets and designed banners. Abigail Makope made arrangements for our accommodation while
Annah Chikoti organized the designs of flags with various massages.
We took the coach to Glasgow, and as expected the journey was long. We left England just before midnight on Sunday October 31st and arrived in Glasgow around 5 am on November 1st.
There were several groups in attendance at the demo were members from ROHR, ZHRO including MDC Alliance members from various districts in England and Scotland. Famous human rights campaigners and journalists were there namely Chief Ndiweni, Simba Chikanza from ZimEye. We were all singing and chanting anti Zanu PF songs while proudly carrying our placards. A number of passers-by were fascinated by our demo and so approached us asking for more information about the situation in Zimbabwe. Many were misinformed and were under the impression that Zimbabwe had improved since Mugabe left. We had to correct the false narrative by telling them the real truth, which is that Mnangagwa has proved to be even worse than Mugabe.
Overall, the demonstration was a success and was broadcasted live on ZimEye, followed by several hits on social media by Zimbabweans who are pleased to see Mnangagwa being exposed for what he really is, rejected by the people of Zimbabwe at the polls in July 2018 and for callously sending the Zimbabwe National Army on 1.8.2018 who killed six innocent citizens in broad daylight.