Vigil Diary 28-06-2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 28 June 2008 20:27

28 th June 2008

Feelings are so high that one supporter, Ignatius Sibanda, came all the way down on the overnight bus from Sunderland in the north of England . We had a Sky television crew with us all day, apparently waiting for the election result from Zimbabwe so they could interview us for reactions. We were ready to tell them “How can anyone recognise Mugabe as President?”

More and more people joined us as the day went on until there was a big crowd. As usual the singing and dancing captured public attention. The drumming was a little thin as two of our three drums are in hospital. We are told they should make a full recovery. But the dancing was given a new balletic dimension with the help of Glynnis Masuku-Zinhumwe, a dancer and choreographer from Bulawayo .

The Independent newspaper ran a front page lead on Saturday “Mugabe's secret war – in Britain . Tyrant uses threats, bribery and surveillance to silence his opponents in the UK .” ( ). We have had lots of experience of this at the Vigil. We are regularly filmed by the CIO who seem to be the main occupants of the Embassy.. You might care to look at a picture on our website. It show a man who appeared early at our special presidential run-off Vigil on Friday and took photos of everyone so we took a picture of him. We would like to know his name; we already know his address. Please if anyone is threatened in any way, let us know because it will help us to deal with the problem.

With the Zimbabwe situation so much in the public eye we had people queueing to sign the petition – to refresh your memory it is: “ A Petition to European Union Governments. We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the star ving in Zimbabwe .”

In view of President Mbeki's support of the dictator Mugabe, the Vigil is to launch a new petition calling on FIFA to move the 2010 World Cup from South Africa to a safer place.

A few other points:

•  Vigil supporters are horrified at the type of violence emerging in Zimbabwe . They blame outside influences. Supporters say that cutting off lips, gouging out eyes, attacking genitals and cutting off arms have never been known in Zimbabwe .

•  We were visited by Peter Vickers, General Secretary of the Christian People's Alliance . He was expelled from Rhodesia during the Smith regime and is seeking help with two projects he is promoting: (1) a volunteer aid programme for when Zimbabwe is free and (2) a boycott of Zimbabwean exports. The latter is problematic because the last thing we want to do is worsen the situation for our families back. What we agreed on is that efforts should be made to identify the source of all Zimbabwean products imported into the UK to try to ensure that they don't come from Zanu-PF sources.

•  Another visitor was Neil Jameson, Lead Organiser of London Citizens, who has asked the Vigil to support the “Strangers into Citizens” campaign his organization is running. There is a meeting tomorrow in London which will be attended by Vigil representatives.

•  A supporter at the Mandela concert on Friday was next to an exuberant man who said during every interval “F*** Mugabe”. Our supporter took off her Zimbabwe Vigil t-shirt and gave it to him to wear while he continued his invective.

•  At the end of the Vigil we were joined by John Stewart of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum who spoke so movingly at the service for Zimbabwean victims of torture on Thursday, the UN international day for victims of torture.

FOR THE RECORD: 191 signed the register.


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