Vigil Diary 13-09-2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 13 September 2008 00:00
The power-sharing agreement of course dominated discussion at the Vigil and left us wondering about our way forward. People were doubtful that Mugabe will allow Tsvangirai real power. Others argued that a deal like this was the only way to get a peaceful handover.

We were glad at this time to have with us Abel Chikomo, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, who arrived from Zimbabwe on Friday. He echoed our doubts about the deal and said it may be about giving Mugabe a safe exit but “what about you and me?” Mr Chikomo said he was looking for changes in the treatment of NGOs in Zimbabwe and an end to hate speech and the persecution of MDC supporters. He said the British government must not be misled by Zanu-PF, whose militias were still stopping aid reaching the rural areas. He hoped the agreement was not just about power. Mr Chikomo urged people at the Vigil to “take the risk of returning home to Zimbabwe to help our emerging nation”. He said that the new Zimbabwe would require human resources and perhaps not tomorrow but when the situation allowed people should return home.

We are to have a management meeting after the Vigil next week when details of the power-sharing agreement will be known. We want, in particular, to know how long it will be until new elections are held and who will control the police. The position of the Vigil will be influenced by whether donor countries accept the new power-sharing government and provide assistance to rebuild Zimbabwe. They will only do this if they are confident that Tsvangirai is running the country.

As an interim measure we have put a hold on our two petitions calling on FIFA to move the World Cup from South Africa and urging the EU to halt government to government aid to SADC countries who do not uphold their human rights obligations to Zimbabwe. Instead we have launched the following petition: “A PETITION TO THE UK GOVERNMENT. In the light of the Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement, we call on the UK government to withhold aid to the Zimbabwe government until it is clear that it will benefit the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime.” It has already had many signatures.

We were joined by Gillian Plowman, who spoke about her new play about Zimbabwe which opens in London this month (details below). It is set against the backdrop of Murambatsvina. There is a special Zim ticket offer from £3 a ticket. Book by 20th September for 2-for-1 offers (quote ZIM when booking).

Patrick Dzimba reports that the Scottish Vigil has been restructured as follows:
* Co-ordinators: Patrick Dzimba, Roggers Fatiya, Tafadzwa T. Musemwa and Ancilla Chifamba
* Finance Group: Patrick Dzimba, Maud Dzobo and Bhekithemba Moyo
* PR: Patience Tsungu and George Murevesi.

For latest Vigil pictures see the link in the updates column.

FOR THE RECORD: 135 signed the register.


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