Zimbabwean Downing Street Racism Demonstration – Media release: 24th June 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 20:41

Zimbabwean Downing Street Racism Demonstration – Media release: 24th June 2015

 

Zimbabwean exiles in the UK are to present a petition to Prime Minister David Cameron’s official residence at 10 Downing Street on Saturday 27th June disowning anti-white comments by President Mugabe and calling for his arraignment before the International Criminal Court.

 

On a recent visit to the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community 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, which has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London for the past 13 years, and its associates Zimbabwe Yes We Can and the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, have written a letter to assure Mr Cameron that Mugabe’s racism does not represent the views of the Zimbabwean people.

 

David Kadzutu of Zimbabwe Yes We Can says: ‘His comment is an embarrassment to Zimbabweans forced by his misrule to seek the hospitality of other countries’.

 

The petition reads: ‘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.’

 

The petition has gained hundreds of signatures since it was launched at the Vigil two weeks ago. The signatories are people – from all over the world – who have passed by the Vigil held every Saturday outside the Embassy on The Strand near Trafalgar Square.

 

Details

2 pm: Meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR

3.15 pm: Gather for prompt 3.30 pm set off to 10 Downing Street

4 pm: Petition presentation

For text of letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/695-falling-from-the-sky-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-20th-june-2015

Contact:  Ephraim Tapa 07940 793 090, David Kadzutu 07876 887 397, Fungayi Mabhunu 07907 089 899, Rose Benton 07970 996 003.

 
Falling from the sky – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th June 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 June 2015 10:30

News that Mali is to donate $300 million to avert starvation in Zimbabwe would be warmly welcomed by the worried Zimbabwean diaspora, scrimping to send money home to help our suffering families.  But such manna from heaven is unlikely to say the least.

 

Mali’s President Keita is all big talk. On a three day state visit to Zimbabwe, he was shown over one of Mugabe’s collection of farms and said he was amazed by the ‘success stories’ of the land reform programme.

 

Urging other African countries to emulate the land seizures, he said ‘This is the way things should be done if we want to be independent’. As he put it: ‘Giving land to the people is one of the ways in which African countries can gain full economic independence (see: http://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/Mali-leader-hails-Zims-successful-land-reforms-20150618 Mali leader hails Zim’s ‘successful’ land reforms).

 

Unfortunately it turns out that – despite giving land to the people – the crops have failed because of Western-engineered climate change. Mugabe’s heir apparent Vice President Mnangagwa says $300 million is needed for food imports and Zimbabwe hasn’t got the money because Western sanctions have destroyed the economy.

 

The Vigil sees the dilemma. Mugabe – Chair of the African Union – says Africa should have nothing to do with the exploitive West (see: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/opinions/opinions-and-analysis/76140/mugabes-empty-au-speech.html – Mugabe’s empty AU speech). Anyway, Western food aid would probably be genetically modified to give Africans AIDS, Ebola and a low birth rate.

 

His exhortation to Africa at the recent AU Summit to reject the West suggests he believes that Mali and South Africa and other like-minded brothers will provide food for our people reduced to poverty by the odious self-serving capitalist, neo-imperialist, colonialist West.

 

He must see that if Africa wants to claim its rightful role with a permanent member on the UN Security Council it can at least give $300 million to Zimbabwe to save us from the evil aid from the West. As President Keita observed, Mugabe is ‘a great Pan-Africanist’. Indeed, despite the hunger in Zimbabwe, he has just donated 300 head of cattle to the AU.

 

As we gathered for our weekly Vigil outside the Embassy we mourned the death of an African refugee – reportedly from Zimbabwe – who fell to earth from a plane approaching London’s Heathrow Airport. Another man was found in the plane’s undercarriage and is critically ill in hospital.

 

They had obviously been taken in by the odious Western propaganda that it’s better to fall from the sky onto a roof in London than live in an Africa besieged by intrusive NGOs and their tools like President Obama.  

 

After the Vigil we went down the road for our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) at which we discussed the presentation of a petition to the Prime Minister Mr Cameron next Saturday. We agreed to the following letter to accompany the petition:

 

Dear Mr Cameron

 

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.’

 

Other points

·       At ZAF the following six people were chosen to present our petition to 10 Downing Street next Saturday: Mary Muteyerwa, Epiphania Phiri, Catherine Masinge, Lazarus Matiyenga, Muchineripi Chigwedere and Nobukhosi Moyo. Special thanks to Esther Nyambi who stood down as a petitioner to allow others to participate. For timings of the day see ‘Events and Notices’.

·       The Vigil drew a lot of attention as we were on the route of demonstrators who processed from the Bank of England to Westminster in protest at the government’s ‘austerity’ welfare cuts. There were so many participants it took several hours for them to pass.

 

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: 44 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·       Presentation of petition to 10 Downing Street. Saturday 27th June at 4 pm. Please could participants arrive at the start of the Vigil at 2 pm to help set up so that we will be ready to gather at 3.15 pm for a prompt move off to 10 Downing Street by 3.30 pm.

·       Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 27th June 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 Middlesbrough General Meeting. Saturday 27th June from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Teesside University, Student Centre, Clarendon Building TS1 3BA. For more information please contact Angeline Huni (Chairperson) on 07871367239 Levinia S Ncube (Secretary) 07404772407, Ndumiso Ncube (Organising Secretary) 07532080247.

·       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.

·       Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 27th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

·       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.

·       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.

·       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:

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.co/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

·       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.

 
Big issues – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th June 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 June 2015 21:30

There are big issues facing leaders at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg’s salubrious Sandton. But the Vigil believes that AU Chair Mugabe is not the person who can deal with them.

 

The theme of the meeting is worthy: ‘Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063’. Mugabe will no doubt make some appropriate noises although he is certainly doing his best to prevent a woman taking over from him. But, to be frank, there is a possibility that he may not still be around in 48 years’ time.

 

Women’s empowerment is the public face of the summit. But behind closed doors more immediately troubling problems will be raised – apart from the unexpected legal threat to Sudan’s President al-Bashir. The headline issue is the resurgence of xenophobia in South Africa but in reality this has already been exhausted at the SADC Summit in Harare six weeks ago when President Zuma asked plaintively why the incompetence of Zimbabwe and other sanctimonious neighbours was forcing their peoples to seek El Dorado in South Africa, causing unrest among the natives (see Vigil diary of 2nd May: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/687-a-feast-of-hypocrisy--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-2nd-may-2015).  

 

The Vigil hopes AU leaders will address the broader question of the global migration crisis. Surely this is something of particular concern to Africa? If the AU is to play any meaningful role, apart from working out what the position of women will be in 2063, it should discuss the implications of this mass exodus and come up with ideas on how they can encourage people to stay at home and develop the continent rather than fleeing to the West.

 

Apart from the refugees from the ferment in the Middle East and Afghanistan / Pakistan, and the steady exodus from impoverished drowning countries like Bangladesh, there are many countries in Africa where the main goal in life is to escape to Europe. These include not only the hellhole of Eritrea but even our biggest nation, Nigeria.

 

The Zimbabwean economist and opposition MP Eddie Cross has been looking at the migration statistics for Zimbabwe. In brief, he says that if the growth trend at independence had continued our population would now number 30 million. The latest census puts in at 13 million. Where are the missing 17 miliion? Mr Cross suggests that some 10 million are essentially victims of the incompetent Zanu PF regime. The other 7 million – half the current population – have simply got up and gone (see: http://www.eddiecross.africanherd.com/ – The collateral damage of poor governance – 06/06/2015).

 

With some half a million desperate people – mainly young men – gathering on the shores of North Africa who are prepared to risk their lives with unscrupulous people smugglers in the hope of getting to Europe, and – closer to us – thousands trying to smuggle themselves clinging to lorries and trains from Calais to Britain, the Vigil thinks that the African Union should ‘make a plan’ to minimize the suffering and look at the costs and benefits of migration.

 

Why, for instance, should Britain’s National Health Service recruit doctors and nurses from the third world, where they are desperately needed? Should not the developed countries at least compensate the countries of origin for the costs of training these recruits? We believe that a dialogue between Africa and Europe on migration is long overdue.

 

In a BBC radio discussion of the issue, an Oxford professorial fellow on third world issues, Paul Collier, said Europe does not have a moral duty to fulfil the dreams of migrants (see: Moral Maze 10/06/2015 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05xh31j).  Maybe not, but the Vigil thinks there are obligations. We have put forward our own suggestions for a way out of this impasse, involving UN protection zones in areas of conflict where migrants could be looked after while their asylum claims are assessed (see Vigil diary of 18th April: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/683-let-them-drown-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-18th-april-2015).

 

Other points

·       Apart from the low turnout at the by-elections boycotted by the MDC-T, the most notable thing for us at the Vigil was the frank comment made by a relative of the suspended Zanu PF Harare provincial chairman Amos Midzi, whose body was found at his farm last week. The relative said: ‘As you know for long Cde Midzi was more than a political godfather of Harare, he was a revered person. He used to control most land deals and housing co-operatives in the process pocketing good money, but after being kicked out of the party, that became impossible’ (Gamatox, Weevils clash at Midzi funeral – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/gamatox-weevils-clash-at-midzi-funeral/).

·       Prayers were said at the Vigil for the missing human rights activist Itai Dzamara. We were interested to see the following comment by a Zimbabwean foreign affairs official: ‘Our embassies are under a lot of pressure, particularly in South Africa and the UK. There are demonstrations over Dzamara on a daily basis and the situation is bad in Britain because police in that country have given the demonstrators the greenlight to do as they please’ (see: http://nehandaradio.com/2015/06/07/missing-dzamara-haunts-mugabe/). We relayed the comment to a contact in the police. His response was: ‘Do as they please?’  Well within reason. If letting people safely gather in a public place to express (within the confines of legislation) a view is to allow someone to do as they please then regrettably I'll have to plead guilty I suppose. What's the penalty? The Vigil is to hold a protest on 11th July to mark  4 months since Dzamara’s abduction by the CIO.

·       Today at the Vigil we launched our new petition: To the UK Prime Minister: 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 have arranged to present the petition to 10 Downing Street at 4 pm on Saturday 27th June. Logistics for the day are to be discussed at the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil next Saturday.

·       We were joined by members of our sister organization the Swaziland Vigil who had earlier managed to confront the Swaziland High Commissioner on her way to the Trooping the Colour ceremony, demanding to know why there was no democracy in Swaziland. We have received an email from the Zimbabwe Youth Forum demanding the release of Swazi human rights activists. We have passed this on to the Swaziland Vigil.

·       We were entertained by the sight of more than a hundred naked cyclists on their annual ride through London. The ride was to demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists.  It certainly demonstrated the necessity of clothes.

·       Thanks to those who arrived early to help start the Vigil: Charity Jere, Epiphania Phiri, Nobukhosi Moyo, Kudzai Mujawo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Mary Muteyerwa, David Kadzutu and Peter Sidindi. Hats off to Kudzai who caught the coach in Middlesbrough at 11.30 on Friday night arriving in London at 5 am. She spent Saturday afternoon at the Vigil and was to catch her coach at midnight and would arrive back in Middlesbrough at 5.30 am.

 

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: 36 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·       Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 20th June 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 Central London branch meeting. Saturday 20th June from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue:  Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Contact: Chair: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Organising Secretary: Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.

·       ROHR Middlesbrough General Meeting. Saturday 27th June from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Teesside University, Student Centre, Clarendon Building TS1 3BA. For more information please contact Angeline Huni (Chairperson) on 07871367239 Levinia S Ncube (Secretary) 07404772407, Ndumiso Ncube (Organising Secretary) 07532080247.

·       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 Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 27th June 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.

·       Presentation of petition to 10 Downing Street. Saturday 27th June at 4 pm. Logistics for the day are to be discussed at the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil on Saturday, 20th June

·       Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 27th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

·       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.

·       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:

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.co/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

·       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.

 
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