As we gathered outside the Zimbabwe Embassy for yet another wet Vigil the skies suddenly cleared and warm sunshine broke through. We arrived generally pessimistic about the SADC summit in Maputo but before the day was out our lives faced transformation.
‘Good people, good, good people, it has been an incredible and unbelievable day’ Tendai Biti said on his Facebook page. ‘SADC rose to the occasion and scuttled the evil and Machiavellian machinations of the chaos faction of Zanu PF.’
First reports say that Mugabe arrived at the meeting with the biggest entourage of any leader which tried to bully the summit organisers, saying they wanted a very short meeting. But President Zuma was ready for them and they were soon put in their place. ‘A successful meeting’ he later told SABC.
Mr Biti said all President Zuma’s recommendations were adopted, including a demand that the Constitutional Court be requested to postpone elections for 14 days to enable reforms to be made. The security forces would be required to publicly affirm their commitment to the rule of law, SADC observers were to be deployed immediately and SADC representatives were to sit in JOMIC and not merely to receive reports as demanded by Zanu PF.
Commenting on the development, MDC Education Minister David Coltart tweeted: ‘There are three reasons why SADC resolution is critically important; Firstly, it is a victory for the respect for the rule of law and the new Constitution; secondly, it means that voter registration and roll inspection can be completed before nomination day and, thirdly, it constitutes a major political faux pas by Zanu PF hardliners and will be damaging and embarrassing.’
The Vigil is grateful to President Zuma for standing up to Zanu PF, although they will still do everything they can to prevent free and fair elections. But now we know we are not alone.
Next Saturday the Vigil will be participating with the MDC in the 18th round of the monthly 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest. This month the theme is ‘No reforms, no elections’.
· There is to be a demonstration under the banner ‘Zimbabwe: Never Again’ outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Thursday 27th June to mark the fifth anniversary of the presidential run-off in 2008. We will be joined by members of ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. See ‘Events and Notices’ for full details.
· Demand for tickets to the screening of ‘Beatrice Mtetwa and the rule of law’ on Tuesday 18th June has been so great that it has been moved to a larger hall. See ‘Events and Notices’ for address of the new venue.
· We were happy to be joined by old friends Josie Zhuga and Batson Chapata who have been prevented from coming lately because of health problems.
· Thanks to Rose Maponga, Charles Dumisani Ndlovu, Tendai Chadehumbe, Kelvin Kamupira, Francesca Toft (in a back brace after a car accident), Mollie Mujati, Georginah Makaza and Peter Sidindi who came early in the pouring rain to set up.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.
FOR THE RECORD: 37 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
• Screening of ‘Beatrice Mtetwa and the rule of law’. Tuesday 18th June at 7.45 pm. NB Change of Venue: London School of Economics, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, 54 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ. It is hoped there will be a question and answer session with Beatrice. The event is free. For the film trailer, check: http://vimeo.com/58496261. For more information, check: http://www.ibanet.org/mtetwafilm.aspx and to register for tickets email:
. There is another screening of the film on Wednesday 19th June at 8.30 pm at the Lexi Cinema, 194b Chamberlayne Road, London NW10 3JU. Discounted £5 tickets (quote discount code: Zimbabwe) can be purchased at the box office 08717 042 069 or by visiting: http://bit.ly/15CCCLd.
• Round 18 of the Free Zimbabwe Global Campaign (FZGC). Saturday 22nd June outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The theme is ‘No reforms, no elections’. The ROHR Reading Branch is taking an active role in this protest and is asking people to join them at the Embassy at 1 pm. Contact Tawanda Dzimba 07880 524 278.
• Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 22nd June from 6.30 – 9.30 pm – PLEASE NOTE: change of date for this forum. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
• Culture without Borders. Tuesday 25th June onwards. For more information contact Wiz Bishop at the Zimbabwe Association 020 7739 8226,
- Storytelling with Chenjerai Hove. Tuesday 25th June from 11 am – 2 pm. Venue: Spitalfields City Farm Yurt, Buxton St, London E1 5AR
- Solidarity with Zimbabwean victims of torture. Wednesday 26th June from 11.30 am – 2.30 pm. Venue: Oxford House Theatre Oxford House, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG.
- Chenjerai Hove in Birmingham. Thursday 27th June from 6 – 9.30 pm. Hosted by the ZA regional Drop-in Centre at Carrs Lane Church, Birmingham B4 7SX.
- Arts and Culture Consultation with the Zimbabwean diaspora. Friday 28th June from 10.30 am – 5 pm. Venue: Oxford House Theatre, Oxford House, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG. ZA is collaborating with the Culture Cluster of the Commonwealth Organisations Committee on Zimbabwe (COCZ) on this event.
- The Britain Zimbabwe Society Research Day on Culture without borders. Saturday 29 June from 9 am – 5.15 pm. Venue: St Anthony’s College, 62 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6JF. It is followed by a BZS party with Linos Magaya and Zimbaremabwe. Venue: The Buttery, St Anthony’s College, 62 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6JF. £10 entrance on the door, cash bar, free nibbles. Contact
· ‘Zimbabwe: Never Again’ protest. Thursday 27th June from 1 – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. It is a joint protest with ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. This protest marks the fifth anniversary of the presidential run-off in 2008 marred by a brutal campaign of violence, including murder, disappearances and mass rape. Zimbabwe will hold elections again very soon. Join us to say never again to a repeat of the terrible violence of 2008 and support the call for free and fair elections that comply with the Southern African Development Community standards for democratic elections. Contact ACTSA on: 02032632001,
· ROHR Slough branch meeting. Saturday 13th July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road SL1 5JW. Contact: Grace Nyaumwe 07850 284 506 Patricia Masamba 07708 116 625
· ROHR North East Region Zimbabwe Day Fundraising Event. Saturday 27th July from 1 – 8 pm. Venue: Benton Community Centre, 17 Edenbridge Crescent, Benton, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE12 8EP. Food, drink & entertainment. Contact Givemore Chitengu 07912747744, Kennedy Makonese 07979914429, Tapiwa Semwayo 07412236229, Collet Dube 07951516566.
• Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 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.
• Facebook pages:
- Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts
- ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515
- ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835
• Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil. Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.