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‘Shame on You’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th May 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 20 May 2012 15:54

Vigil supporters had a busy week helping our Swazi friends protest against King Mswati’s visit to the UK for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We were disappointed that the Queen should invite Africa’s last absolute monarch to what we would regard otherwise as a joyful celebration.

 

Why should the Zimbabwe Vigil be worried about Swaziland? Our answer is that both countries are in the same boat: we both suffer under brutal regimes which deny democracy and abuse human rights.

 

We regard any friend of Mugabe as our enemy, so if – for instance – President Sata of Zambia comes to London we will also be there to protest. We were interested to read this week of the difficulty Zambia is experiencing getting Zimbabwe to repay its debts. We also note that the new Malawian President has said that a delegation is trying to get Mugabe to repay money lent to him by the late President Mutharika (see: Malawi turns screws on Zimbabwe over debt –  http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may19_2012.html#Z7). It always amazes the Vigil that anyone could be stupid enough to lend money to Zanu PF, which never honours its promises.

 

The protests against Mswati culminated after the regular Zimbabwe Vigil today when we processed from the Zimbabwe Embassy to the Savoy Hotel about 200 yards down the Strand to greet Mswati’s guests as they arrived for a dinner he was hosting. About 30 of us gathered with our drums and posters (King Mswati buys £30m plane while his people eat cow dung’, ‘Mswati and his 30 strong entourage stay in £400 a night Savoy Hotel while his people starve’, ‘End human rights abuses in Swaziland’, ‘Mswati must go NOW!’ and ‘Democracy now for Swaziland’). As Mswati’s guests went in we heckled them with cries of ‘Shame on you, Shame on you’. Protesters also shouted ‘women abuser’ and ‘save the young girls of Swaziland’. We were not surprised by the news from South Africa that one of the king’s 13 wives has spent the past month in the Presidential Suite of the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg costing $2,000 a night (see: http://africajournalismtheworld.com/tag/swazi-queen-runs-up-huge-hotel-bill/).

 

It was a long day for the Swaziland Vigil which had gathered for their regular demonstration outside the Swaziland High Commission at 10 am today before presenting a petition to 10 Downing Street at 1 pm protesting about the human rights abuses in Swaziland. For the letter to the British Prime Minister that accompanied the petition (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/401-swazi-letter-to-the-british-prime-minister).

 

On Friday night activists from both the Swaziland and the Zimbabwe vigils joined the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in a protest outside Buckingham Palace (see; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18099937 - Diamond Jubilee: World royals gather in UK for Queen).

 

King Mswati must have been left with little doubt about what we and the Swazis in the UK thought of him after we greeted him when he arrived at the Savoy Hotel on Wednesday (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/press-releases/400-protest-in-london-over-visit-by-swazi-king). The efforts that we and others have made resulted in totally negative media coverage for him in newspapers, television and radio. As the Times reported ‘Swaziland’s King Mswati III is said to enjoy a lavish lifestyle while his subjects starve’.

 

The success of the demonstrations was largely down to the hard work of Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu and three members of the Swaziland Vigil: Flora Dlamini, Margaret Dlamini (who came to the protest on Wednesday straight after dialysis) and Jabulile Simelane.

Other points

·        We were sorry to hear that Vigil management team member Patson Mazuwa was in hospital. Fellow team member Addley Nyamutaka visited him on behalf of the Vigil and reports that he is getting effective treatment.

·        For the past few weeks we have been joined by Ellen Gonyora, Secretary General of the MDC Women’s Assembly. She and others were invited to the UK by the Labour Party for training in election campaigning. While waiting at Harare airport, she was targeted by CIO operatives who told her they would get her when she returned to Zimbabwe.  Too fearful to return, she is now seeking asylum in the UK. She has shown herself to be a committed activist, attending and contributing to all our activities.

·        Several Zapu members were with us today. They plan to join us on a regular basis. As we explained, anyone who supports our aims (ending human rights abuses and campaigning for democracy in Zimbabwe) is welcome to join us.

·        On Monday, the fifth of the monthly protests organised by the MDC diaspora will take place outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London from 1 – 4 pm. Representatives will be dispatched to the Mozambique and Zambian High Commissions – both members of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The protesters are targeting the Troika to demand it enforce media reforms and also appoint the long awaited three member team to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC). These were both resolutions of SADC and the Troika is supposed to see to the implementation.

 

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: 57 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·        Fifth 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest organized by the MDC diaspora. Monday 21st May from 1 – 4 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. Representatives will be dispatched to the Mozambique and Zambian High Commissions – members of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 2nd June from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 2nd June from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·       ROHR North East Meeting. Saturday 16th June from 12 - 3pm. Venue: Gateshead Council Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1HH. 3mins walk from Gateshead Intercharge and Metro station before Gateshead Central Police station. Free parking available. Come let’s talk about issues that concern our beloved Zimbabwe. For directions please contact Tapiwa Semwayo 07722060246/ 07412236229, Susan Ndlovu 07767024586 and Catherine Tshezi 07428189705.

·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011.  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

·        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. 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.

·        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://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

·        Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

·        Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

 

How can you help?

The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.