The Zimbabwean diaspora turned out in force to present a petition to the Prime Minister’s official residence on Saturday disowning racist comments by Robert Mugabe. The petition read: ‘Exiled Zimbabweans, supporters and friends, at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, record our disgust at the anti-white rants of Zimbabwe’s illegitimate President Mugabe. We wish to affirm our unwavering support of Zimbabwe’s constitutional requirement for non-racism.’
We had not taken into account a big Gay Pride march which also converged on Whitehall and we had to battle down a route jam-packed with gaily-dressed people.
Five Zimbabweans were allowed into 10 Downing Street to hand over the petition, which was launched at the Vigil a few weeks ago after Mugabe – speaking about the latest xenophobic violence in South Africa – said Africans should direct their anger at whites rather than fellow blacks. As he put it: ‘I give poison not for you to swallow but to give to someone else . . .’ The remarks were made during a visit to SADC Headquarters in Botswana and were greeted with applause from the staff (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_sa-needs-another-liberation-president-the-herald/ – SA needs another liberation: President).
The petition had been signed by hundreds of people from all over the world who stopped by the Saturday Vigil in the past few weeks. Here is the letter we addressed to Mr Cameron to explain the petition:
‘Zimbabwean exiles in the UK wish to disown racist comments by our country’s illegitimate ruler Robert Mugabe, the current Chair of both the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
On a recent visit to the SADC headquarters in Botswana Mugabe referred to the latest xenophobic violence in South Africa and said Africans should direct their anger at whites rather than fellow blacks.
The Zimbabwe Vigil and our associates Zimbabwe Yes We Can and the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe wish to assure you that Mugabe’s racist tirade does not represent the views of the Zimbabwean people. Indeed, his comment is an embarrassment to Zimbabweans forced by his misrule to seek the hospitality of other countries.
We take this opportunity to also repudiate Mugabe’s anti-Western tirade at the AU summit in Johannesburg this month in which he accused the West of fanning wars in Africa so that it can exploit the continent’s natural resources.
The Vigil believes that Mugabe should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court like Sudan’s President al Bashir who had to flee the AU summit after being threatened with arrest under an international warrant. Although Mugabe’s South African and other friends might refuse to arrest him, an indictment by the ICC would alleviate an intolerable burden on Zimbabwe’s finances by his incessant world travels.
You will no doubt be aware of the continuing human rights violations in Zimbabwe highlighted tragically by the abduction in March of the activist Itai Dzamara. According to the latest rule of law index, Zimbabwe is ranked 100 out of 102 countries (see: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2015/06/19/zim-ranks-lowly-on-rule-of-law-index/ – Zim ranks lowly on rule of law index). No doubt the British taxpayer will be asked to help the millions of Zimbabweans facing starvation because of the ruinous policies of Mugabe who, we believe, is helped to survive by the European Union’s policy of appeasement.
It does not surprise us that a desperate refugee, apparently from Zimbabwe, has fallen from the sky to his death in London after an attempt to reach the safety of the UK by hiding in the undercarriage of an airliner from Johannesburg.
We respectfully submit the enclosed petition: ‘Exiled Zimbabweans, supporters and friends, at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, record our disgust at the anti-white rants of Zimbabwe’s illegitimate President Mugabe. We wish to affirm our unwavering support of Zimbabwe’s constitutional requirement for non-racism.’
We enclose a report by the Mike Campbell Foundation on racial discrimination in Zimbabwe.’
· The 41-page report on racial discrimination in Zimbabwe referred to in the letter to Mr Cameron can be seen on this link: http://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/page/racial-discrimination-in-zimbabwe. The matter was drawn to the attention of the US Congress in an address this month by Ben Freeth, Mike Campbell’s son-in-law see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/697-ben-freeths-address-to-us-congress--2nd-june-2015). He recalled the racially-inspired Gukurahundi genocide of the early 1980s and went on to ask: ‘What is it that caused the fastest shrinking economy in the recorded history of the world in a peace time situation?’
· Vigil supporters danced, drummed and sang across the road from 10 Downing Street while our 5 petitioners went in to Downing Street to deliver the petition. They were: Mary Muteyerwa, Epiphania Phiri, Catherine Masinge, lazarus Matiyenga and Nobukhosi Moyo. Special thanks to Tryness Ncube and Ephraim Tapa and others who stayed behind to take care of the Vigil while the majority went to Downing Street.
· Also thanks to Hilda Gwesele, Roda Majoni, Deborah Harry, and Danny Kadiki for fundraising for the Vigil.
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: 63 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 4th July 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 an optician. 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.
· ROHR Executive Meeting: Saturday 4th July at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.
· 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.
· Vigil’s Itai Dzamara Protest. Saturday 11th July from 2 – 6 pm. The protest is to mark 4 months since Dzamara’s abduction by the CIO.
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 11th July from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 25th July 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.
· 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.
· Facebook pages:
· SW Radio Africa’s website and sound archive is being hosted on www.archive.org. Go to the site and type in swradioafrica which will link you to snapshots of their site over the years and at the top of that page a link to their website where, under podcasts, you will find the audio.