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 

 
The empty vessel – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 September 2014 07:10

As Mugabe made his thirteenth visit to Beijing, his famously enigmatic hosts must have found it Chinese torture to keep a straight face at the sight of the ancient cartoon dictator. A 21-gun salute for the empty vessel must have been the final straw, especially knowing they were expected to fill it with gold.

 

The Chinese, as well as being smart business people, have a long memory. They will remember that when Mugabe came to power in 1980 Zimbabwe’s annual gross domestic product was rather more than theirs at US$1,295 per head compared to China’s US$1,061. They will have observed in awe how he has managed to completely ruin the country so that in 2013 the GDP figures were: Zimbabwe US$446 and China US$3,583 (see: Former underdogs outperform Zim –http://www.financialgazette.co.zw/former-underdogs-outperform-zim/).

 

Like clockwork, Mugabe trotted out the tired cold war rhetoric: ‘Down with colonialism, imperialism and capitalism’ which must have seemed rather quaint to his welcoming group of Chinese capitalists, colonialists and imperialists. If Mugabe had expected them to join his chorus he must now realise that they no longer zhing from the same zhong sheet.

 

We are fortunate in the diaspora to have ready access to a broader range of news than is easily available at home and the Vigil thinks it has a responsibility not only to show the outside world what Zimbabwe is suffering but also to show people at home how misguided they would be to rely on Zanu PF’s empty promises of a better tomorrow.

 

What prompts these reflections was an eloquent article in the Zimbabwean by the economist and author Vince Musewe pleading for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to become more politically active (see: Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-things-fall-apart-the-centre-cannot-hold-the-zimbabwean/). Trying to create a coalition for change has been the Vigil’s aim from its beginning 12 years ago. We are sad to say we have met with only limited success. There are many reasons for this but the chief one could be called the fissiparous tendency. Just as every Zimbabwean has a new constitution under their mattress so when two Zimbabweans gather together they will each soon want to form their own party.

 

The Vigil organised a conference last October reaching out to all diaspora groups to work together. But even on the most basic objective – free and fair elections – support has been disappointing. Every Zimbabwean wants to be the leader and every leader wants to be the leader forever. But Vince is surely right that the diaspora has an important role to play – and not just by the remittances of many hundred million dollars sent home every year. But if Zimbabwe is to be really helped from abroad, the diaspora must learn to work together.

 

 All we can do at the moment is offer support. But, given the fissiparous tendency, support for what? The MDC renewal team’s only achievement so far seems to have been to choose a party colour! What the Vigil would like to know is if it’s true as reported that they think the 2013 election results were ok? (See: People voted Zanu PF – Mafume http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_m_people-voted-zanu-pf-mafume-dailynews-live/). For our part, the Vigil is convinced the elections were rigged. We are also puzzled by their offer to work for Zanu PF.      

 

In the meantime, we applaud the brave youths who took to the streets for a second week to be beaten for their legitimate demand that the Mugabe regime keep its promises. And we are happy that the MDC T now agrees with us that the opposition should not to take part in elections until there are reforms.

 

Other points

·        Despite our complaint above about lack of support from other groups, we were pleased that Christopher Maphosa, President of Zapu UK, joined us today.

·       Thanks to Ben Semwayo, Siza Ndebele, Elizabeth Mathe and Helen Rukambiro who were there at the start of the Vigil to help set up.

·        A special thank you to Patricia Masambe for mending and washing our cloth banners which have remained unchanged for 12 years and read: ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’.

 

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: 22 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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

  • ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 6th September from 1 – 3.30 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW.   For further information contact Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803, Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Sharon Zimuto (Secretary) 07988165394.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 13th September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 20th September from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 27th September at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • 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

 
Zhing-zhong deal – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 August 2014 17:26

As Mugabe and top ministers converged on Beijing in a desperate appeal for a financial bailout, the Vigil was alerted to indications that an illegal deal was being negotiated to rescue Zimbabwe from its economic torpor and pay the government’s pressing running bills.

 

Like everyone else, China has been put off from lending to Zimbabwe because of its reliable failure to repay loans. It has become clear to everyone that the Zanu PF regime has no conception that a loan involves repayments. As the Vigil noted last week, a leading Chinese insurance company has now refused to cover investments in Zimbabwe.

 

Another big deterrent has been the insatiable appetite for corruption of Zimbabwean ministers and officials who openly compete with each other to see how much they can screw out of any deal – even at the cost of the deal collapsing. Well, they think, there will be another one along soon. Last month Zanu PF had to cancel a $1 billion tender awarded to a dicey Chinese company for the expansion of Hwange thermal power station when it turned out that the company had no money.

Added to these obstacles are the policy inconsistencies, the frailty of the legal system and the immunity enjoyed by political insiders to do what they want.

 

Zanu PF’s golden grail is $27 billion to fund the fatuous Zim Asset programme for economic development which formed the centrepiece of its 2013 election campaign but – a year on – has failed to get off the ground because only a crook or a lunatic will invest in it. The key problem is seen as the State Procurement Board which is in the lucrative position of awarding all state tenders and was described recently by finance minister Chinamasa as ‘the capital city of corruption’.

 

According to the Mail and Guardian, the Zanu PF mafia has now offered to award infrastructure projects to Chinese state companies without going through the Board or even putting the contracts out to tender (see: Zim govt 'sells out' to China – http://mg.co.za/article/2014-08-21-zim-govt-sells-out-to-china). Chinese state companies would be given the nod to fund, build and run power, water and other projects until they recover their investment.

 

The Vigil believes this arrangement will be as satisfactory to both sides as the Marange diamond deal: the Chinese will get an equal opportunity to share in the corruption with Zimbabwean officials with no questions asked. Whether the public will be happy with the arrangement is another matter. But the deal will apparently be sweetened by a four billion dollar cash rescue package to cheer up Zanu PF in the run-up to the party’s December conference when Mugabe will be re-elected to lead the country into the zhing-zhong future.

 

Other points

·         The EU’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia is reported by the Herald to have left for home at the end of his tour of duty. It quotes the EU envoy as paying tribute to the government for its co-operation which he said ‘has turned 360 degrees in social sectors, culture, trade and even sports and gender’. While the Herald said he headed back to Brussels we think that, judging by his dubious grasp of maths, he could be spinning like a top in Harare (seehttp://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_m_dellariccia-completes-zim-mission-the-herald/).

  • Thanks to Bridget Zhakata and Patricia Masambe for being there at the start to help set up the Vigil and to Patricia and Fungisai Mupandira for bringing sadza to fundraise for ROHR Slough branch.

     

    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: 24 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting.

    Saturday 30th August at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
    ROHR Middlesbrough general members meeting.  Saturday 30th August from 2 – 4 pm.  For more information please contact Masimba Musodza (Chairman) 07581887359, Xoliso Sithole (Treasurer) 07449005447, Ndumiso Ncube (Organising Secretary) 07448522328, Helen Sibanda (Secretary) 07799574994, Paula Nyoni (member) 07460221950.

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

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 13th September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 20th September from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • 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
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2009
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2008
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