Vigil Diary 16-08-2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 16 August 2008 20:02

16 th August 2008

After the deluge of rain last week we had a sunny Vigil to exchange opinions on how things are going at home. We were pleased to see the strong support for our cause by COSATU members. The Vigil management team took soundings at the Vigil for a meeting afterwards. Despite suggestions of progress at the talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF people remain skeptical that Mugabe will yield enough power to make a real difference.

The management meeting reaffirmed our mission statement. This means we expect to remain outside the Embassy for the foreseeable future and will not accept a deal that does not provide for real change.

The meeting also discussed the strategy behind our two current petitions. Despite the talks, the Mugabe regime has still to lift the ban on humanitarian aid agencies distributing food. Unless things change dramatically the Vigil will soon present its petition calling on European Union members to suspend government aid to the SADC countries – apart from Botswana and Zambia which have spoken out against Mugabe. We want this money to be used instead to finance refugee camps in South Africa , Botswana , Zambia and Mozambique where our star ving and beaten brothers and sisters can find refuge. All reports suggest that the food situation is becoming desperate and there has been no end to the violence.

The management team noted that some other organisations have also taken up the issue of the 2010 Football World Cup and – again depending on the outcome of the talks – we will be looking to present our petition calling on FIFA to move the event from South Africa because of the instability that can be expected to follow the collapse of Zimbabwe.

The team also discussed what effect the outcome of the talks might have on Home Office decisions on asylum. If real power remains with Zanu-PF we will need to make sure that the Home Office does not make any attempt to send back Zimbabweans.

Despite our recent clarification (reprinted below) it is clear there is still some misunderstanding about the roles of ROHR and the Vigil. We will be asking ROHR representatives at the Vigil to ensure that people understand what they are giving money for.

A throwback to times past: despite all the publicity about the atrocities in Zimbabwe Mugabe still has his supporters in London . We had one of them waving his fist angrily at us from across the road. He seemed demented….. perhaps worried.


Apart from the Vigil there are 2 other organisations that operate at the Vigil on Saturday afternoons: Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) and the Zimbabwe Association. There has been confusion about the relationship of the 3 organisations so a clarification is outlined below.

The Zimbabwe Vigil: the Vigil is a non-party political group of human rights activists who protest weekly on Saturday afternoons outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London . To be a member of the Vigil all you have to do is attend on Saturday afternoons (and sign the register if you wish to). There is no cost for joining the Vigil and you do not have to be a member of the other two organisations.

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 mission statement (see above) in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fund raises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe .

The Zimbabwe Association is a member of the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition and is a support group for Zimbabwean refugees and asylum seekers. They offer members help and advice on asylum matters and have been responsible for a long-running campaign to stop detention and removals of Zimbabweans in the UK . There is a small annual fee for membership. For more information check: .

NB the 3 organisations support each other but operate separately as far as support for individuals is concerned.

FOR THE RECORD: 168 signed the register.


•  Next Glasgow Vigil . Saturday 28 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.