Zim activists denied UK visas – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th October 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 31 October 2016 11:24

A leading British parliamentarian has said it is disgraceful that prominent Zimbabwean civil rights campaigners are being refused visas to visit the UK to talk about the struggle against Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime. 

Kate Hoey, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, was speaking at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Wednesday at a meeting of the Mike Campbell Foundation which was set up to address injustices involved in Mugabe’s land seizures. 

She said a visa had been denied to one of the speakers invited to the gathering, Gift Konjana, who had been detained more than thirty times and his home petrol-bombed for helping destitute farm workers. 

Other activists refused visas include Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #thisflag protest, now exiled in the United States, who had been invited to address the parliamentary group as well as to speak at the London foreign policy think tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). Another excluded activist was Patson Dzamara, brother of the abducted Itai, who was also due to speak to the parliamentary group.

Ms Hoey said the British government was letting in representatives of the Mugabe regime, including people who had been involved in killings, as well as other tainted people such as Joice Mujuru, but was more and more turning away seasoned campaigners for change.

Kate said the British Ambassador to Harare Catriona Laing was angry at the refusal of visas and had taken the matter up with the relevant government department. The problem appeared to involve financial guarantees regarding their stay in the UK. Kate suggested people write to their MPs to increase awareness in Parliament of what was happening.

A speaker from Zimbabwe who was able to get a visa was Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, founder of Grace Ablaze Ministries International, making his first visit to the UK. The Bishop, who is blind, received a standing ovation for his speech in which he said the people of Zimbabwe were ‘wounded and despondent’. He spoke of abductions and a tired dictatorial leadership holding on to power by brutality. Mugabe had mastered the art of giving the impression that he allowed democratic elections but they were all rigged and people intimidated. ‘Diplomats don’t see this’, he added. 

Bishop Magaya said the Church must lead the way in dislodging the dictatorship. He said ‘the CIO put on dark glasses. Well I don’t see them. I am blind so I am not afraid. If I die I die. That is the motivation the Church should have. We must not be silent in the face of oppression, torture, politically-motivated violence. We must declare God’s judgement. Under God we will win through.’

Other points

  • In answer to a question from one of the 28 Vigil supporters at the meeting, the Bishop said people in the diaspora were automatically regarded by the regime as sell-outs and were liable to be treated as such when they returned home. Anyway, there was nothing for them if they did go back.
  • Another speaker at the gathering was Professor Craig J Richardson, an American economist and author of a book ‘The Collapse of Zimbabwe in the Wake of the 2000 – 2003 land reforms’. Asked by a Vigil supporter to comment on studies by British academics Ian Scoones and Joseph Hanlon painting land reform in a positive light, Professor Richardson said ‘The studies I have seen were carried out in a specific area and were unrepresentative. The growth they showed was because they were starting from zero, giving a misleading impression’.
  • The Vigil presented a fifth anniversary cake (made by Chipo Parirenyatwa) to Ben Freeth the executive director of the Mike Campbell Foundation. Vigil supporters ended the evening by dancing and singing Vigil protest songs for the audience as they left.
  • The picture of oppression described by Bishop Magaya was borne out by a report in the UK Guardian on Friday: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/28/record-levels-of-assault-abduction-and-torture-reported-in-zimbabwe.
  • Deborah Jandles and Edwin Kamanda of a Zimbabwe prayer group joined us today for a prayer vigil. Together with our sister Beverly Mutandiro, they led prayers for Zimbabwe to coincide with prayers being said there and Bev led the singing. We plan to have monthly prayer vigils.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Kevin Gondo, Raymond Gundula, Isabell Gwatidzo, Deborah Jandles, Josephine Jombe, Prosper Karuru, Phillip Mahlahla, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Esther Munyira, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Marlon Nyamakanga, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Douglas and Maureen Tavengwa. Thanks to Roseline, Josephine and Maureen for helping at the front table, to Esther and Nancy Makurira for handing out flyers, to Chipo P, Prosper and Nomusa Dube for selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Douglas, Marlon, Kevin, Munyaradzi and Mduduzi for putting up the banners.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.

FOR THE RECORD: 48 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 5th November from 11 am to 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 5th November from 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • 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 5th November 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. 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.
  • MDC London branch meeting. Saturday 5th November from 12.30 – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL. Contact: Sharon Moyo (branch organizing secretary 07877224113) and Clemence Munyukwi (07889 667686 branch secretary). 
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 12th November. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark twenty months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 12th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Everything must fall? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd October 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 23 October 2016 15:25

To paraphrase the famous observation by the German pastor Martin Niemöller: ‘First they came for Rhodes, then they came for Isaac Newton, next they’ll come for the constitution itself’.

The Rhodesmustfall campaign which started at Cape Town University calling for the removal of a statue of the nineteenth century imperialist was seen by many to be rather silly but nevertheless understandable.

Then students took their reforming mission further, seeking to scrap what they see as a ‘Eurocentric’ science curriculum in favour of traditional African theories. In particular, they dismissed Newton’s work as colonial. (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/826-what-did-newton-know-rioting-students-determined-to-defy-gravity).

The students have stopped short of calling it a ‘Newtonmustfall’ campaign perhaps realising this might validate Newton’s law of gravity.

Zimbabwean students have rather more pressing problems to face than removing Rhodes from his grave in the Matopos. And as far as decolonising science is concerned, they learnt to be sceptical of assertions that diesel comes from rocks in Chinhoyi.

But that doesn’t seem to apply to Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao who seems ready to reject not only Rhodes and Newton but the constitution itself, asserting that Zanu PF is the state and it can use state resources to fund party projects. 

Zhuwao is not alone among Zanu PF leaders with this mindset. Vice President Mnangagwa, addressing a Zanu PF rally ahead of the Norton by-election, said the electorate should not waste their votes on an opposition candidate as that person would not access state resources to develop the constituency. He added that, after doling out agricultural  land, Zanu PF was now providing residential stands to its supporters.

More ominously, Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira told starving Norton residents that they risked losing out on food aid if they were not Zanu PF members. So much for the constitution . . .

Other points

  • Few people are persuaded by South Africa’s explanation of its decision to leave the International Criminal Court. They believe the real reason is that South Africa’s ruling elite – like ours – don’t want to end up in jail.
  • The extra photos that were taken on 1st October with a superior camera are now on the Vigil flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157675165006465. There are some good pictures of Vigil regulars.
    The extra photos that were taken on 1st October with a superior camera are now on the Vigil flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157675165006465. There are some good pictures of Vigil regulars.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Isaac Chawasarira, Audrey Chihoho, Nelson Dauramanzi, Nomusa Dube, Munyaradzi Garikayi, Deborah Harry, Vimbayi Karumbidza, Honest Madondo, Emmanuel Magarira, Phillip Mahlahla, Cephas Maswoswa, Marlon Nyamakanga, Sharon Nziramasanga, Tawanda Rusape, Jennipher Sabe, Maureen Tavengwa and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Deborah and Maureen for looking after the front table, to Portiah, Sharon and Nancy Makurira for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Munyaradzi, Cephas, Tawanda and Prosper Karuru for putting up the banners. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.

FOR THE RECORD: 29 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Mike Campbell Foundation Fifth Anniversary: Taking Effective Steps to Fight Dictatorship – Restoring Justice, Restoring People.  Wednesday 26th October at 6.30 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. For tickets: https://event.bookitbee.com/8186/mike-campbell-foundation-5-year-anniversary-event/.
  • Special Prayer Vigil. Saturday 29th October from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 29th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 5th November from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • 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 5th November 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. 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.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 12th November. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark twenty months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
    Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil
    ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515
    ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835
 
Nothing allowed – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th October 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 October 2016 13:59

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/30049040310/sizes/m/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/30345573425/sizes/m/  

On the eve of a visit to London, the human rights activist Patson Dzamara was arrested for – as he put it – ‘sitting in a public park’. Patson – brother of abducted Itai Dzamara – was chatting in Harare Gardens with a few others wearing the Endgame tshirts. One of the others was Linda Masarira of ROHR, mother of five, only recently released from jail for taking part in protests. 

They were all bundled into a truck by police officers. When they demanded to know the charge, the police were apparently clueless saying only that it was an ‘instruction from above’. Patson messaged later: ‘For sitting in a public park we have been charged with disorderly conduct and are spending the night in cells. We are not going to cower until we get our country back.’ Latest word was that the group of six were released on bail on Saturday to stand trial on Monday. Prosecutors accused them of abusing and insulting some law enforcement agents by likening them to dogs and puppets. 

Vigil supporters in the UK who have received invitations to attend a meeting in the UK Parliament on Wednesday to be addressed by Patson wonder whether this is a clumsy effort to stop him travelling to London. Or is it just routine intimidation? The Mugabe regime is now so paranoid that it has given up any pretence of observing the constitution. Waving the flag or even wearing clothes in the national colours is an offence. 

But when it comes to brazen corruption by the elite the police are suddenly powerless. An attempt to arrest higher education minister Jonathan Moyo for stealing public funds was halted by Mugabe himself. So much for the fight against corruption . . . 

In the UK we are disappointed by the refusal of the government here to recognise how bad things are in Zimbabwe. The UK government seems to be determined to send home several of our supporters who are failed asylum seekers. Latest news is that Humphrey Dube was only saved because the plane had problems and couldn’t take off. 

The ‘country guidance’ for Zimbabwe used by the Home Office is based on the last years of the government of national unity. The situation has now worsened and the Vigil supports the following petition: ‘The country guidance for Zimbabwe last updated in 2013 currently being used by Home Office to determine asylum cases is outdated. The case law that states that Zimbabwe is a safe destination for failed asylum seekers needs to be revisited as recent atrocities tell a different story.’ To sign the petition, visit: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/168401.

Other points

  • Vigil supporters brought two magnificent cakes to mark the fourteenth anniversary of the Vigil. Thanks to Chipo Parirenyatwa, Deborah Harry and Cephas Maswoswa for the cakes and to Rashiwe Bayisayi for her banana bread. We put all the goodies on the front table and everyone gathered round holding posters reading: ‘Zimbabwe Vigil Fourteenth Anniversary’, ‘Fourteen years campaigning for human rights in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Fourteen years campaigning for democracy in Zimbabwe’.
  • Twenty or so members from our sister organisation ROHR walked 11.5 miles from East Croydon to the Vigil to raise funds. Highlights were singing outside Brixton market and the Odeon cinema at Streatham Common.
  • We ended the Vigil in pouring rain and were approached by the Who is Hussain? Muslim charity which runs, in the space outside the Embassy, a weekly food handout for the homeless immediately the Vigil ends. They asked if we could leave our tarpaulin up for them to which we agreed. They returned the tarpaulin and supporting rope to the home of the Vigil co-ordinator later in the evening. We are glad to have come to an arrangement that will help them on wet evenings.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Isaac Chawasarira, Benjamin Chigamba, Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Prosper Karuru, Emmanuel Magarira, Marian Mangani, Shailet Manyange, Sharon Moyo, Tracy Mupeti, Douglas Tavengwa, Maureen Tavengwa and Elector Zvorwadza. Thanks to Sharon, Josephine, Roseline Mukucha and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table, to Benjamin, Isaac, Prosper, Deborah, Maureen, Douglas, Tracey and Shailet for putting up the banners and to Phillip Mahlahla and Alfredy Mukuvare for putting up the tarpaulin later in the afternoon, to Isaac, Leslyn Kamba and Marian for handing out flyers, to Chipo Parirenyatwa for selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands and to Elector for providing teabags, milk and sugar for tea to go with the cake.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.

FOR THE RECORD: 57 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe's New Citizen Activism: Where from here? Wednesday 19th October from 1 – 2.30 pm. Venue Committee Room 14, House of Commons, Westminster, SW1A 0AA. It is chaired by Lord Oates and speakers include Evan Mawarire and hopefully Patson Dzamara. To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/zimbabwes-new-citizen-activism-where-from-here-tickets-28599316325.
  • Evan Mawarire: The Significance of Social Media for Public Protest in Zimbabwe. Wednesday 19th October from 5 – 6 pm. Venue: Chatham House, 10 St James Square, London SW1Y 4LE. To register to attend the event visit: https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/significance-social-media-public-protest-zimbabwe.
  • Mike Campbell Foundation Fifth anniversary: Taking Effective Steps to Fight Dictatorship – Restoring Justice, Restoring People.  Wednesday 26th October at 6.30 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. For tickets: https://event.bookitbee.com/8186/mike-campbell-foundation-5-year-anniversary-event/.
  • Special Prayer Vigil. Saturday 29th October from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 29th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 5th November from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • 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 5th November 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 a shop. 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.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 12th November. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark twenty months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
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