Outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London

Every Saturday from 14.00 - 18.00 since October 2002

Zimbabwe Vigil Mission Statement:

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London, will take place every Saturday from 14.00 to
18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe.

The Vigil will continue until internationally - monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

Looking for Vigil pictures? See them on Flickr Click here 

 
Cognitive Dissonance – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th October 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 October 2014 21:40

The British government has expressed concern at the lack of progress in reforming the electoral process in Zimbabwe. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in its latest update on Zimbabwe published on 16th October, says the newly passed Electoral Amendment Act still contradicts the new constitution, with no sign of further amendments being planned.

 

It observed: ‘This does not bode well for meaningful constitutional reforms around the electoral process in Zimbabwe, especially concerning voter registration or access to the voters’ roll.’ (See: Zimbabwe – Country of Concern: latest update, 30 September 2014 – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/zimbabwe-country-of-concern/zimbabwe-country-of-concern-latest-update-30-september-2014).

 

The Foreign Office’s comments come as the European Union is apparently preparing to make further concessions to Mugabe next month, despite Zanu PF’s failure to allow free and fair elections and respect the rule of law. The Vigil points to the refusal of the Zimbabwean authorities to release the voters’ roll as constitutionally required. Apparently the Electoral Commission’s computer is still out of order more than a year after the disputed elections!

 

We believe that if, as appears likely, the EU resumes direct financial support for the Mugabe regime some of this aid money should be devoted to ensuring that the electoral roll is made available in digital form so that it can be subjected to objective scrutiny.

 

Sources in Zimbabwe tell the Vigil that this would be ‘the smoking gun’ exposing the illegitimacy of last year’s elections and lay the groundwork for a new voters’ roll. One of our informants says money given by Western donors to NGO workers to produce a computerised copy of the voters’ roll has been wasted. He says ‘they have done an atrocious job’.

 

‘My quest is somehow to convince the donors that the roll audit will be the catalyst for change’, he writes, adding that the money needed to complete the job properly was a comparatively small amount compared to the benefits.

 

‘A key issue in any discussions between the EU and the Zimbabwe government must be the legitimacy of the Zimbabwe government following the serious allegations about rigging in the 2013 elections. A comprehensive audit of the elections, including that of the 2013 voters' roll, should be a major issue in any negotiations, given that the Cotonou Agreement, which is the basis for the dispute between the EU and the Zimbabwe government, insists on good governance, human rights and the rule of law.’

 

Our source continued: ‘Does the EU not consider that the 2013 elections were equally as flawed as the previous four elections, and that this should be clarified by a full investigation before any substantive re-engagement with Zimbabwe takes place?’

 

The Vigil’s view of the situation in Zimbabwe is apparently far too negative according to a columnist of the London Times, Matthew Parris. A former British Conservative MP who was brought up in Zimbabwe, he has had another happy holiday there and says ‘Zimbabwe is a safe and ordered place with a stable economy: one of Africa’s more advanced countries and probably the continent’s best-educated. I blush as a journalist to suggest that the reason we think it’s in chaos is that we British have read so much about Zimbabwe in our newspapers . . .’

 

Well, we at the Vigil wonder which British newspapers he’s been reading because Zimbabwe hardly ever gets a mention as far as we can see. For his flatulent waffling (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/620-you-can-take-the-boy-out-of-africa--- on our Campaigns page).

 

As far as the economy being stable, perhaps Mr Parris should read the latest article by Eddie Cross MP in which he says ‘my own prediction for the current year is for a decline in GDP of not less than 5% . . .The financial stress on everyone is palpable. (See http://www.eddiecross.africanherd.com/Graceland). Or Mr Parris could look at Cathy Buckle’s latest piece: ‘Every month more and more people lose their jobs as companies close and the economy contracts (see: Of raindrops and weevils and poisonous pesticide – http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=170). But Cross and Buckle are no doubt partial because they live in Zimbabwe, unlike Parris who seems to have gone on a Tourist Board freebie.

 

As for Zimbabwe being ‘one of Africa’s more advanced countries’, the patronising Mr Parris might take a look at a video of one of Dr Grace’s rallies at which she claims to ‘speak in tongues’. She is now not only mother of the nation but an intellectual and a prophet and pastor (see: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152897194633083). For the views of Vigil supporter Dr Clifford Mashiri on Dr Grace’s dangerous campaign (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/619-grace-mugabes-hate-filled-witch-hunting-is-worse-than-ebola on our Campaigns page).

 

Other points

  • Last week the diary reported on a meeting in London addressed by Senator David Coltart on behalf of a Zimbabwean charity providing scholarships for needy and promising school children. He took issue with what we said and you can read our exchange of emails on our campaigns page (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/621-complaint-about-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-of-11th-october-2014l-). We are sorry if we expressed ourselves clumsily last week.

  • Thanks to Helen Rukambiro, Mavis Chisvo, Thobile Gwebu, Collen Mupazviruho and Eunice Mucherechedzo for arriving early to help set up. Thanks also to the Swaziland Vigil for providing delicious sadza, stew, cakes and puddings to fundraise for their cause. There was so much food that they were able to feed some of the homeless people who gather in the area.

     

    For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 25 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 25th October at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Middlesbrough General Meeting. Saturday 25th October from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Refugee Centre, 49 Grange Road, Middlesbrough TS1 5AU. For more information please contact: Angelina Huni (Chair) 07871367239, Ndumiso Ncube (Organizing Secretary) 07532080247, Xoliso Sithole (Treasurer) 07476558655, Levinia Ncube (Vice Organising Secretary) 07404772407, Helen Sibanda (Secretary) 07799574994.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st November from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 1st November from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Hope for Zimbabwe’. Tuesday 4th November from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, London. Hosted by the Mike Campbell Foundation with Ben Freeth, MBE, Christina Lamb, OBE, Dame Linda Dobbs (Chair). Tickets: £15. For more information, check:  http://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/page/events-2014.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy

 
Let them eat yoghurt – Zimbabwe Vigil’s 12th Anniversary Diary: 11th October 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 October 2014 12:58

The Vigil was represented at a charity meeting in London on a wet evening last Wednesday to hear a talk by former Education Minister David Coltart. We were sorry we had taken the trouble to go when the chairman announced he didn’t want any questions of a political nature. We made our escape as soon as decently possible – but not before being told we should be raising money for Zimbabwean charities.

 

People who have followed our activities for the past 12 years will know that Vigil supporters have raised thousands of dollars for struggling schools in Zimbabwe and other projects including supporting the work of pastors helping the poor in David Coltart’s own Bulawayo area. We don’t go on about this because the Vigil’s focus is political. We believe it is idle to discuss Zimbabwe’s problems without looking at the political context. To be blunt, politics is the elephant in the room. Or to offer another cliché: charity begins at home (as the recent IMF mission to Zimbabwe concluded).

 

Why we went to the meeting was to learn about the state of education in Zimbabwe. We would have liked to have known, for instance, what Mr Coltart’s views are on Dr Grace’s two-month PhD (and whether we can still register in time to get our doctorates in our Christmas stockings). Or why the pass rate at O and A levels has dropped. Or why, if Zimbabweans are the most literate people in Africa, we are in such a mess with our young men beating people up for a few drunken dollars or worshipping at the shrine of the Mugabes.

 

Are these the marks of the educated?

·         About 300 pastors and their wives went to Dr Grace’s ‘children’s home’ in Mazowe to be told that Mugabe had been anointed by heaven: ‘In their requests to the First Lady, the pastors said they wanted to be considered for farms and be given stands to prepare for their retirement from the ministry. In response, Grace said she will take their pleas to Mugabe as long as they joined Zanu PF and encouraged their members to buy party cards (see: Mugabe a pastor anointed by God, wife – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-mugabe-a-pastor-anointed-by-god-wife/).

  • Dr Grace told a rally in Gweru: ‘“Nobody will remove me from the farm which I took. Blood will be spilt if anyone attempts to remove me from that farm . . . Women, we need land, so let us take it. Even if we don’t farm on the land, that is not a problem as long as you have it and it’s yours.’ (see: Pictures & Audio: I will spill blood – Grace – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-pictures-audio-i-will-spill-blood-grace-newsday-zimbabwe/).

    At a rally in Harare she said: ‘Nobody is buying my yoghurt. Business is very bad because of sanctions. You can’t even find a person who can buy a packet of milk’ (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-no-one-buying-my-yoghurt-grace-moans/ – No one buying my yoghurt, Grace moans).

     

    Mr Coltart was speaking on behalf of one of the many charities in the UK trying to help the people in Zimbabwe. This particular one is providing scholarships for children who might not otherwise achieve their full potential – a wonderful goal. But the Vigil’s task is different. As our mission statement puts it: 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’.

     

    The Vigil is not a charity. It is a protest organisation and one of our regular dispiriting experiences is to see plump linen-clad NGO people at London meetings, dozing between lunch and dinner while contemplating the plight of their valiant industry struggling for funds to pay £100,000 salaries and packages including children’s school fees, accommodation, cars and other necessary expenses . . .

     

    As far as we are concerned these people are looking in the wrong direction. It is not for the Vigil to become a charity but for charities to confront the politics of Zimbabwe. Wake up and taste the yoghurt.

     

    Other points

  • On the Vigil’s 12th anniversary we were blessed with a warm and sunny afternoon and had a good turnout. Several people brought treats: thanks to Cephas Moswasa for the anniversary cake, Epiphania Phiri for the tin of chocolates and the ROHR Reading branch for sadza and stew.

  • More than 20 people went on to a meeting of our Zimbabwe Action Forum to discuss the way forward and socialise on our anniversary.

  • We were horrified to see a procession of ghoulish people with blood oozing out pass by the Vigil. But we learnt it was a demonstration by health workers drawing attention to the curse of Ebola. The Vigil notes the donation of $32 million by emerging economic giant China to help deal with the epidemic in West Africa. It compares with an estimated $1 billion from the US and several hundred million dollars from the UK. But perhaps the Chinese will build a crematorium (with Chinese workers).                                                                                                                       

  • Thanks to Patricia Masamba, Mavis Chisvo and Helen Rukambiro for arriving early to help set up. Thanks also to Helen for looking after the front table during the Vigil.

  • At the Vigil our new wristband proved popular. Instead of just saying ‘Mugabe must go’ it now reads ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’, hedging our bets.

     

    For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 47 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 18th October from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 25th October at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st November from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Hope for Zimbabwe’. Tuesday 4th November from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, London. Hosted by the Mike Campbell Foundation with Ben Freeth, MBE, Christina Lamb, OBE, Dame Linda Dobbs (Chair). Tickets: £15. For more information, check:  http://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/page/events-2014.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy

 
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Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2010
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