While Mugabe continues to flaunt himself abroad, there has been a deafening silence from the Zanu PF regime about the abduction of civil rights activist Itai Dzamara despite a court order to search for him.
On 9th April, exactly a month after Dzamara’s disappearance, the United States reiterated its call to the Zimbabwean authorities to mobilise their full resources to investigate the abduction and repeated its support for his right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
For its part, Amnesty International marked the month since Dzamara’s disappearance with a statement saying there seemed to be no credible investigation taking place. It said ‘It is also worrying that police and state security agents have not been fully complying with the order to keep the High Court informed. If someone can just disappear without a trace it begs the question who is safe in Zimbabwe?’
Even ousted Vice-President Mujuru claimed to be outraged by Zanu PF’s indifference to Dzamara’s fate. ‘One wonders if the Politburo ever spared any moment to enquire on the disappearance or lack of news on the whereabouts of young Itai Dzamara and what his young family is going through. My prayers go to all those who are hurting in silence,’ she said, adding: ‘Given the prevailing economic hardships, the looming food crisis and the declining inflows to the fiscus, the Politburo’s silence on these matters is deafening.’
Zimbabwean exiles in the UK have made repeated unsuccessful attempts in the past month to deliver a letter to the Zimbabwe Embassy in London seeking information about Dzamara, with whom we were in contact as late as the day before his disappearance. Now the Vigil has informed the police that we are to hold a special demonstration outside the Embassy on Friday 17th April. (For text of our letter to the police see our campaigns page: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/678-text-of-letter-to-the-westminster-police.)
As we explain in the letter to the police, we plan to send a small delegation into the Embassy to present the Ambassador with the (now battered) letter. But the Vigil fully expects the Embassy to be closed because they are likely to have heard of our protest, in which case we will push the letter under the front door.
During the Friday protest we will take the opportunity to present a letter to the nearby South African High Commission expressing our alarm at the new upsurge of xenophobic violence against people fleeing to South Africa from oppression and poverty elsewhere in Africa. For details of Friday’s protest see ‘Events and Notices’ below.
The Vigil will be marking 35 years of Zimbabwean decline on Independence Day on Saturday 18th April. For Cathy Buckle’s assessment of Mugabe’s achievements see: http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=180 – Wo are we? Zimbabwe at 35.
Channel 4 TV had an interesting half hour programme about satire in Zimbabwe on 10th April. To watch this, check: Unreported world: Standing up to Mugabe – http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/on-demand/60446-003. You will need to sign in to watch the programme.
A Zimbabwean writer Mushiringi De Villiers has written to us about a book he has written ‘Bread and Butter Issues: The Tyranny of Ignorance’. If you are interested in reading the book you can whatsapp sms him on +263 773 572 786.
Thanks to Roda Majoni, Nichodemas Nicholas Moyo, Fungayi Mabhunu and Thobile Gwebu who were there at the start of the Vigil to help set up.
FOR THE RECORD: 40 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
Vigil for Itai Dzamara. Friday 17th April from 10.30 – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR. We will attempt to deliver a letter to the Zimbabwean Ambassador demanding information about the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara. We will also deliver a letter to nearby South Africa House expressing alarm at xenophobic violence against foreign nationals including Zimbabweans, in South Africa.
Independence Day Vigil, Saturday 18th April from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. We will be marking 35 years of Zimbabwean decline.
ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 18th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Chair: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Secretary: Brenda Chavhundura 07428227530, Organising Secretary: Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.
ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 18th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Faith Shimongola (Vice Chairperson) 07500960117, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214. This meeting will be held in a separate area to the ROHR Central London branch meeting.
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 us.
Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 18th April 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.
Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 25th April at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
ROHR Executive Meeting: Saturday 2nd May at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.
12 Years: Zimbabwe Association Exhibition Launch. Tuesday 5th May from 6 – 8 pm. Venue: Oxford House in Bethnal Green, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery and shares the oral histories of Zimbabwean asylum seekers' experiences in the UK from 2001 to the present. This exhibition contains material from the Zimbabwe Association archive, an extensive collection of records of individual cases, legal documents, press cuttings, reports, correspondence, and TV and radio recordings. To book: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/12-years-zimbabwe-association-exhibition-launch-tickets-16235246058?ref=enivtefor001&invite=NzczMTg2NS9jby1vcmRpbmF0b3JAemltdmlna
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.