The Vigil has received an apology from the UK Border Agency for comments made when asylum was refused to a Zimbabwean refugee who offered a letter of support from the Vigil as evidence.
The comments suggested the letter was worthless because of allegations that the Vigil was a money-making organization ripping off asylum seekers (see our diary of 25th June 2011: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/315-home-office-a-disgrace-objective-evidence-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-25th-june-2011). The Border Agency’s Director of Appeals and Removals Phil Douglas replied to our complaint: ‘I apologise at the outset for the offence this has understandably given.’ Mr Douglas went on to say that the comments referred to were not based on information accepted by the Border Agency. He added ‘We have already issued a desk note that includes information on researching and referencing COI (Country of Origin Information) and will ensure we further communicate existing guidance on the list of sources that should be referred to.’ For the full text of the letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/323-text-of-letter-from-ukba-to-the-zimbabwe-vigil).
While on the subject of asylum, our partner organisation the Zimbabwe Association has been asked by the Border Agency to help compile information on persecution / harassment / detention / voluntary returns to Zimbabwe. You can email Zimbabwe Association on
to request a form to input this information. The Vigil will also be circulating the form to its mailing list. The Zimbabwe Association say the most useful information is anything that is NOT in the public domain, ie things that are happening to friends and family and have not been reported to newspapers.
The Vigil has also been assured by the British government that it is to try to overturn a legal decision to grant a CIO torturer permission to remain in the UK, which was given on the grounds he might be tortured if returned to Zimbabwe! For details of this ludicrous decision (see diaries of 21st and 28th May 2011: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/308-malawi-cuts-off-its-own-nose-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-21st-may-2011 and http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/311-vigil-demands-no-haven-in-uk-for-cio-torturer-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-28th-may-2011). The government’s attitude was explained in a letter in response to representations by management team member Sue Toft. The Foreign Secretary William Hague said the government’s policy was that the UK should not be a refuge for war criminals.
· Vigil regular Mercy Muranganwa was with us as usual accompanied by her two children. They came direct from an all-night prayer vigil.
· Our condolences to Vigil regular Lungile Ncube whose mother died this week. The Vigil took a collection for him.
· Two Community Police Officers came by (quite early in the Vigil) and asked where everyone was. They said the Duty Sergeant in the nearby Charing Cross police station was wondering if he was going deaf because he could not hear our singing and drumming.
· Desperation of Zimbabwe Tourist Authorities. A London freelance journalist informed us that he had received the following email via the NUJ freelance directory: ‘Dear Journalist. We would like to invite you to join us at the next press trip to Zimbabwe taking place from the 18-24th of August 2011. The pre requisites are that you provide us with a brief 50 word profile and the benefit your visit to Zimbabwe would bring to the tourism sector. Kindly note that participants are expected to pay for their own air fare at a discounted rate on Air Zimbabwe. You will be hosted on arrival in Harare, Victoria Falls, Hwange and Great Zimbabwe on full board except extras. Please contact Felicia Munjaidi at the Zimbabwe Tourist Office in London on 07930454099 or
. We look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely, Felicia Munjaidi.’ His response was ‘not until Mugabe goes’.
· The Vigil seldom agrees with Welshman Ncube about anything so we were agreeably surprised by his condemnation of the Constitutional Outrage programme (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jul30a_2011.html#Z11 – Constitutional timelines nonsense).
· A reminder of the ROHR Woking fundraiser next Saturday (see ‘Events and Notices’ section for details). ROHR Woking invites Vigil supporters to go on from the Vigil next Saturday.
· The Vigil was joined by members of the new Zimbabwe We Can Movement (see diary of 18th June 2011: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/314-the-three-alternatives-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-18th-june-2011)
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: 73 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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.
· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE.
· ROHR Woking Summer fundraising barbeque. Saturday 6th August from 2 pm till late. Venue: The Old Ford, Lynchford Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot GU12 5QA. Everyone is invited – come and enjoy a fun-filled day out. Braai, sadza, rice, chicken, salads, cakes, snacks, drinks. Games for children including karaoke. Boot sale, auction and raffle with amazing prizes. Contact: Stanford Munetsi 07584161806, Pauline Nyikadzino 07906726477, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 and Jermaine Volkwyn 07908522993.
· ROHR Ipswich launch meeting. Saturday 6th August from 2 – 5.30 pm. Venue Citizens Advice Bureau, Tower Street, Ipswich IP1 3BE. ROHR National Executive and a well-known lawyer present. Contact: Dhumisani B Muchipisi 07432722907, Lovemore Muzadzi 07552560184, R Chifungo 07795070609, P Chibanguza 0798406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
· ROHR Manchester Meetings. Saturday 13th August (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future meetings: 10th September, 8th October, 12th November, 10th December. Same times / venue.
· ‘Rituals’. Tuesday 23rd August at 7 pm. Venue: Amnesty International UK, The Human Rights Action Centre, 17 - 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA. This is a musical and inspirational journey through community-driven healing processes following traumatic and violent experiences in Zimbabwe. It is produced by author Stephen Chifunyise and director Daves Guzha, whose cast spent four nights in jail. They were acquitted in March in what has been described by the press as a landmark case in terms of freedom of expression and artistic creativity. Tickets from Amnesty at £5 can be booked via: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/events_details.asp?ID=1907. Amnesty is hosting this production by the Zimbabwean theatre company Rooftop Promotions following its run at the Edinburgh fringe festival.
· ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 27th August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future demonstrations: 4th September, 29th October 26th November, 31st December. Same time and venue.
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
· ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe. To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to
and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
· Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa (
) if you are interested in taking part.