Vigil Diary 23-08-2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 23 August 2008 20:00

A concensus is emerging at the Vigil that the talks about power sharing will not answer our prayers. There was general agreement that it would be impossible to work with Mugabe and his gang. People recounted the latest horror stories from home. It is clear that there has been no end to the violence and intimidation. One supporter's mother had told him “Don't call me until after midnight as I will be forced to go to a Zanu-PF pungwe”. People are calling for justice: we all know people who have died or been tortured or suffered under the regime and it is really a great challenge to ask us to work with the perpetrators if they show no remorse.

A surprising number of South Africans passed the Vigil. They stopped to talk but most refused to sign our petition calling on FIFA to move the World Cup from South Africa in 2010. We were taken aback that human rights concerns in Zimbabwe were of so little concern to them. We thought they would have some lingering memory that they owe Zimbabwe something for their freedom.

It was good to have with us Ben Dalby to sing his song “Chinese Friends” about Chinese exploitation. There was a verse about Zimbabwe and it has been recently featured on the SW Radio Africa website – to listen to the song check: . We were also pleased to meet Mark Denham, a British actor, who is going to Malawi to work on a play about Zimbabwe . It is planned to take it to the Zimbabwe Arts Festival next year.

Plans are progressing on presenting our petition to European Union governments. We are approaching a prominent figure to receive the petition and below is our letter of invitation.

“ The recent meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Johannesburg , despite the report by its own observers on electoral malpractices, has in effect accepted Mugabe as the President of Zimbabwe (with the honorable exceptions of Botswana and Zambia ). We are dismayed that SADC is still betraying our people by not acknowledging their vote.

We ask whether you would be prepared to accept a petition to pass on to the relevant EU authority. Briefly, the petition calls on EU governments to suspend government to government aid to SADC members until they abide by their commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We are not referring, of course, to humanitarian aid but to balance of payment support. We do not see why, for instance, the British taxpayer should contribute £70 million a year to Malawi , whose President has been given a stolen Zimbabwe farm and has named a highway in Malawi after Robert Mugabe. We want the money saved to be used to finance refugee camps in the countries bordering Zimbabwe where Zimbabweans can seek a haven from star vation, violence and collapsing health and education systems. We are anxious that our people should not be an imposition on our neighbours prompting further xenophobic violence.

The petition has been signed by people passing the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the last six years in support of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe .

We will send copies of the petition to EU and SADC member countries but we hope you can help to get this project underway. We could either present this petition to you at the Vigil or a place of your own choosing.”

FOR THE RECORD: 174 signed the register.


•  Next Glasgow Vigil . Saturday 30 th August, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.

•  Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre . Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: T he Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street , London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park . For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).


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.