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Lies and hypocrisy – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 22 November 2014 23:41

Photolink: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/15667072948/sizes/m/

 

Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa, speaking outside the South African High Commission in London, appealed to South Africa to reverse its policy and stand with the people of Zimbabwe and support our demand for democracy and human rights.

 

He was speaking as Vigil supporters delivered a letter to the High Commission about the findings of the South African Judicial Observer Mission sent to report on the 2002 Zimbabwe elections. This report has now been released on the instructions of the South African Constitutional Court after having being suppressed by the Pretoria government. As long suspected, the report concludes that the election could not be considered free and fair.

 

Ephraim Tapa said he had personal experience of the abuses during the 2002 elections. At the time of the vote he was being held in a Zanu PF torture base before he managed to escape from Zimbabwe.

 

‘If the report had been published at the time perhaps the international community would have insisted on a new election under international supervision’, he said. ‘The farm evictions, Murambatsvina, the 2008 meltdown would not have happened. We would have got rid of Mugabe a long time ago.

 

‘South Africa was part author of the Zimbabwe crisis’, he added. ‘They must now acknowledge that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and treat refugees better.’

 

The demonstrators pushed the Vigil’s letter under the iron gates of the High Commission, as it does not open on a Saturday. The letter read:

 

Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

c/o South African High Commission

 

Dear Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

 

Zimbabwean exiles in the UK wish to express our pain at reading the findings of the South African Judicial Observer Mission about the 2002 elections in Zimbabwe.

 

The final paragraph of the report could not be clearer: 99. However, having regard to all the circumstances, and in particular the cumulative substantial departures from international standards of free and fair elections found in Zimbabwe during the pre-election period, these elections, in our view, cannot be considered free and fair.

 

Given that the South African Presidency has consistently proclaimed the opposite, we can understand its persistent attempts to suppress the report. Zimbabweans owe a debt of gratitude to the Mail and Guardian for its brave campaign to expose the truth and to the Constitutional Court for upholding it.

 

We draw your attention to the following observation by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC(T): Zimbabwe’s problems could have been solved in 2002 if this damning report had not been swept under the carpet (see: http://nehandaradio.com/2014/11/19/full-text-tsvangirai-statement-2002-presidential-election-report-sa-judges/).

 

As our country spirals down to the abyss, we appeal to the South African government to end its support for the Mugabe regime.

 

The letter was covered with signatures of those present. Among the posters displayed were: ‘South Africa betrays Zimbabweans’, ‘South African hypocrisy’ and ‘South African lies exposed’. The demonstrators included Dr Clifford Mashiri, a former Zimbabwean diplomat, who brought his own double-sided poster: ‘Mbeki, Motlanthe and Zuma apologise. Mugabe stole 2002 elections / President Zuma apologise for misleading the world re 2002 report’.

 

Returning to the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, Dr Mashiri said: ‘The South African government has been living a lie. Since 2002 they have argued the Zimbabwean elections were free and fair while they knew all along that MDC supporters were being murdered. The international community was putting pressure on Mugabe but Mbeki said “Leave it to my quiet diplomacy”, hiding the truth. Asked about the Zimbabwe crisis, Mbeki said: “Crisis, what crisis?” The ANC was simply paying back support they had been given during their liberation struggle’.

 

In a comment on the enthralling Zanu PF cat fight, Ephraim Tapa said: ‘We have secret information that Dr Grace once wore a short skirt!’ His remark follows the sensational allegation by First Doctor Grace that she had evidence that sell-out Vice-President Mujuru had shown her thighs. ‘I trapped Mujuru and I now have recording of her in a mini-skirt, speaking ill of me and the President’ (see: http://www.zimeye.com/i-trapped-mujuru-grace-mugabe-admits/I Filmed Mujuru Having Sex, Grace Mugabe Admits).

 

Other points

  • Thanks to those who were there at the beginning to help set up: Patricia Masamba, Grace Munyanyi, Mary Muteyerwa, Tendai Chadehumbe, Fungisai Mupandira, Lucia Mudzimu, Clifford Mashiri, Mlini Dhledhlu and Tafadzwa Chigwende. Thanks also to Epiphania Phiri for once again bringing tea and cakes for cold Vigil supporters.

  • Vigil supporter Joseph Chivayo reports that the Sanctuary Summit in Birmingham last Saturday 15th November was a success (see: http://sanctuarysummit2014.wordpress.com/201-2/).

    For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 29 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 29th November at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Southampton general meeting. Saturday 29th November from 1.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL.  Speakers include Ephraim Tapa, ROHR Founder and President, and Tony Noyce, Mayor of Eastleigh. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chair) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice-Chair), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 29th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 6th December from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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 us.

 
Appeasing a dictator – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 November 2014 21:06

Photolink: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/15616446919/sizes/m/

 

The Vigil is to deliver a letter to the South African High Commission in London next Saturday protesting at their Presidency’s lies about the crucial 2002 elections in Zimbabwe. The letter follows the release of a report by two South African judges who led a judicial observer mission to cover the elections.  


Successive South African presidents since the days of Thabo Mbeki have resisted the publication of the report but their case has now been dismissed by the Constitutional Court.


The South African Presidency endorsed the elections although it is now clear that the judges had concluded that they were not free and fair (see: http://mg.co.za/article/2014-11-14-khampepe-zimbabwes-2002-elections-not-free-and-fair?ars=trueKhampepe: Zim's 2002 elections not free and fair).


Former Zimbabwean diplomat Dr Clifford Mashiri said the outcome was important for Zimbabwean asylum seekers in South Africa as it could be argued that their claims for refuge may have been dismissed on the basis of Presidential lies.


Dr Mashiri also welcomed a separate judgement by the Constitutional Court ordering the South African police to investigate Zimbabwean officials accused of torture if they go to South Africa for holidays, shopping or seeking medical treatment (see: http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-18682-Top+SA+court+orders+Zim+torture+probe/news.aspx – Top SA court orders Zimbabwe torture probe).


Dr Mashiri was speaking at a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Saturday Vigil during which we presented a petition to the Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street protesting at the European Union’s decision to re-engage with the Mugabe regime. Here is the letter we delivered to accompany the petition:

  

Dear Mr Cameron

 

Zimbabweans exiled in the United Kingdom are disappointed that the European Union is re-engaging with the illegitimate Mugabe regime although it has refused to make any reforms.

 

The EU’s sanctions were imposed twelve years ago because of the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, human rights abuses and the rigging of elections. All the conditions which prompted the sanctions are still in place: there is no rule of law, human rights continue to be abused and all elections are rigged. In addition, no attempt is being made to implement the new constitution which was adopted after a lengthy and expensive process largely financed by the European Union.

 

We would be grateful if you would facilitate the delivery of the enclosed petition to the European Union. It has been signed by some 12,000 people who have passed by the Vigil held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday. The petition reads:


A petition to the European Union: Millions of Zimbabweans have been forced into exile by the brutality, incompetence and corruption of the Zanu-PF regime of Robert Mugabe. Despite the absence of any reforms, including the holding of free and fair elections, the EU is moving to normalise relations with the illegitimate Zimbabwean regime, promising hundreds of millions of dollars in aid direct to Mugabe’s party. We urge the EU to insist that the diaspora is guaranteed the vote in future elections, as ordered by the African Union, before re-engagement goes any further.

  

We understand that the only EU sanctions left now are entry restrictions on Mugabe and his wife and an arms embargo, which are to be reviewed next February. Vigil supporters urge you to keep these in force and ask: ‘What does the EU hope to achieve by appeasing a dictator?’

  

Vigil supporters toyi-toyied to Downing Street singing ‘Vigil Yedu’. We displayed our banner: ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ while a delegation was admitted into the Prime Minister’s residence to hand over the bulky petition. The delegation consisted of: Fungayi Mabhunu, Brenda Chavundura, Mavis Chisvo, Fungisai Mupandira, Grace Munyanyi and Patricia Gatsi (Masamba).

  

 While they were in Downing Street, Vigil supporters were invited to sing with a group of Pakistani Christians demonstrating against the way they were persecuted at home. We joined them in singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in Christian solidarity – despite some misgivings at the choice of hymn! Another group kindly lent us their megaphone.

   

Nombulelo Precious Mamba and her little girl stayed behind to look after the Vigil until supporters returned to sign a new petition launched today. It reads: A petition to the European Union: With Zimbabwe’s new constitution being disregarded by Mugabe, we deplore the EU’s scramble to re-engage with his illegitimate regime. We call on the EU, and the UK in particular, to insist that: the constitution is implemented, the rule of law is respected, the voters’ roll is made available for public scrutiny as constitutionally required and the diaspora be allowed to vote.

  

The Vigil is seeking a meeting with the Foreign Office to explain to them why re-engagement with the Mugabe regime is futile if not counter-productive. We will point out that, for Zanu-PF, investment is understood as meaning a gift of wealth to them personally. They have no concept of the public good. Similarly, any aid is seen as tribute to the rulers. The governor of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank this week pointed to the growing culture of debt denial. It is becoming common, he complained, for no-one to pay their debts.

  

The Vigil was reinforced in this view by the Harare economist Vince Musewe who, commenting on Zanu-PF corruption, said: ‘What makes this situation worse is that the West has decided to re-engage with them. I have desperately tried to understand their logic – but I am failing. Zanu (PF) has dithered in aligning the constitution with the laws and if anything, that needs to be the ultimate measure of progress. The party, the army and all their cronies continue to entrench themselves in the economy whether through agriculture, mining or tourism – they remain the primary beneficiaries. I have not heard even one Western diplomat pushing for economic freedom and less state-sponsored predatory intervention in the critical resource sectors where the party is crowding out local people and creating market inefficiencies to fuel profiteering, corruption and economic inequality. Expect no fundamental change because it is business as usual for the corrupt, the greedy and the connected. They make more money when there is chaos. The system remains in place and is even getting stronger as the formal economy worsens.’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-we-have-contributed-to-our-own-demise/We have contributed to our own demise).

 

We will also point out to the Foreign Office that, at a time of growing concern in the UK at the number of immigrants arriving here, the British policy of supporting Zanu-PF’s vacuous policies will deter Zimbabwean exiles from returning home and will indeed inevitably lead to new arrivals lapping at the door of No 10. Our message is: we want to go home but please make home habitable – and not just for Mugabe.

  

We trust that the British Embassy in Harare has seen an article on the New Zimbabwe website giving a frightening picture of how exiled opponents of Zanu-PF are treated on return to Zimbabwe (see: Airport whistle-blower’s warning to returning exile – http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-18903-Airport+staffer’s+chilling+warning+for+exiles/news.aspx). The article mentions the London CIO operation which we know spends much of its time monitoring us. Another account of the ominous atmosphere for arrivals at Harare airport is described in the latest newsletter from writer Cathy Buckle (see: http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=171The revolution is eating its own children).

  

Other points

  • The last Vigil diary reported the police attack on human rights activist Itai Dzamara for protesting in Africa Unity Square in Harare. We have been inspired by his courage and his confidence of change in Zimbabwe as expressed in his facebook page of Sunday 9th November: My time in hospital has afforded me huge spaces of quietness, reflection, introspection and meditation. I am left without any doubt about three things. First, a new Zimbabwe is very possible, out of civil, peaceful and resolute means. I have seen and experienced enough during the past three weeks, to know that, beyond any doubt. Secondly, l have come to understand and appreciate that, really, the majority of us, Zimbabweans, are convinced that this is not the Zimbabwe we want. Therefore, there is only one route to take – fighting for a better nation. We have to do it, if not for today or now, but, certainly for our children and the future. The fight does not require bombs, knobkerries or machetes. It requires determination, peace and love. Lastly my presence in hospital bears testimony to the fact that there are elements and forces bent on resisting our struggle for a better Zimbabwe – including through murder.  But I have just completed a set of gym exercises this morning, to the shock of everyone, bearing testimony to the power and grace that is beyond human instinct or murder plots – just three days ago I was left for dead. I am left without any doubt at all that a new Zimbabwe is possible through our genuine efforts and without shedding blood or breaking bones. I am ready to continue playing my part and hereby challenge you to step up and do your duty. Through civil, peaceful and resolute means, we can make it because: We are the people! We are the numbers! Let’s go!’
  • Grateful thanks to Epiphania Phiri who brought hot drinks and cakes to raise money for the Vigil.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 41 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  •  Delivery of protest letter to the South African High Commission. Saturday 22nd November during the Vigil.

  • ROHR Reading branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 22nd November 2014 from 10:30 am to 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St. Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Eric Eluwasi 07532021348,Charles D Ndlovu 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi 07888310582, Nicodimus Muganhu  07877386792, Shylette Chipangura 07828929806

  • ROHR Midlands regional branch meeting. Saturday 22nd November 2014 from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Methodist Church, 10A Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AF. For information and directions, contact: Enniah Dube,  Chair 07403439707, Hilda Gwesele, Vice Chair 07939127819, Brian Mashonganyika, Secretary 07450547313,Christopher Kamuzonde, Treasurer / Organising Secretary 07449150041.

  • ROHR Southampton general meeting. Saturday 29th November from 1.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL.  Speakers include Ephraim Tapa, ROHR Founder and President, and Tony Noyce, Mayor of Eastleigh. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chair) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice-Chair), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 29th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 6th December from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly at the Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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 us.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets every month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy

  • Facebook pages:

  • SW Radio Africa’s website and sound archive is being hosted on www.archive.org. Go to their site and type in swradioafrica which will link you to snapshots of their site over the years and at the top of that page a link to their website where, under podcasts, you will find the audio.

 

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EU betrays Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 November 2014 12:23

Zimbabweans exiled in the UK are to deliver a petition to the Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street on 15th November following the EU’s lifting of sanctions against the Mugabe regime.

 

The petition has been signed by many thousands of people who have passed by the Vigil held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday. The petition reads:

 

A petition to the European Union: Millions of Zimbabweans have been forced into exile by the brutality, incompetence and corruption of the Zanu PF regime of Robert Mugabe. Despite the absence of any reforms, including the holding of free and fair elections, the EU is moving to normalise relations with the illegitimate Zimbabwean regime, promising hundreds of millions of dollars in aid direct to Mugabe’s party. We urge the EU to insist that the diaspora is guaranteed the vote in future elections, as ordered by the African Union, before re-engagement goes any further.

 

The EU’s sanctions were imposed 12 years ago because of the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, human rights abuses and the rigging of elections.

 

Fungayi Mabhunu, a spokesman for the Vigil, said: ‘We are protesting at the EU’s spineless capitulation to Mugabe even though he has made no reforms whatsoever. All the conditions which led to the imposition of sanctions are still in place: there is no rule of law, human rights continue to be abused and all elections are rigged. Now we get EU people such as the new EU Ambassador going to Harare and saying how intelligent and sharp Mugabe is. The Ambassador said he ‘had a lovely chat with Mugabe’. It is sickening. Mugabe has turned the country into a death camp.’

 

The Vigil notes that only this week a peaceful demonstrator Itai Dzamara was viciously attacked by police for exercising his constitutional right to protest in Harare’s Unity Square (see: Police savagely beat protester Itai Dzamara –http://nehandaradio.com/2014/11/07/police-savagely-beat-protester-itai-dzamara/). We have been contacted by supporters of Mr Dzamara in the UK who are planning to join us next week to protest at the assault. 

 

In another incident, which no doubt the EU’s lovely Ambassador will ignore, riot police randomly beat up people in Marondera. One of the victims was a two-year-old child out shopping with her father. The attack came amid tensions in the town following the murder by police of a combi driver Mugove Manonge for his failure to pay a $10 bribe (see: Cops attack citizens in Marondera – http://www.thezimbabwean.co/news/zimbabwe-news/73955/cops-attack-citizens-in-marondera.html). Vigil supporters led by Martin Chinyanga laid flowers on the doorstep of the Embassy today to mourn his death.

 

Other points

  • During the week Vigil supporters turned up in force to sing and drum at the Royal Geographical Society in London. The occasion was an evening devoted to Zimbabwe organised by the Mike Campbell Foundation. Mr Campbell, a commercial farmer, died in 2011 as a result of injuries caused by his abduction and torture by Mugabe’s supporters. The meeting, under the title ‘Hope for Zimbabwe’ was addressed by Mr Campbell’s son-in-law Ben Freeth, who was himself savagely beaten. He said the EU’s re-engagement with mass-murderer Mugabe was very sad. Dictators only understood pressure. On the panel of speakers was Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa, who told the large audience of his own torture at the hands of the Mugabe regime. He said re-engagement was depriving civil rights activists of support. Thanks to those who sang at the event: Brenda Chavundira, Cephas Moswoswa, David Kadzutu, Eric Eluwasi, Fungayi Mabhunu, Fungisai Mupandira, Grace Munyanyi, Helen Rukambiro, Kelvin Kamupira, Mary Eluwasi, Mary Muteyerwa, Mavis Chisvo, Patricia Masamba, Peter Sidindi, Rashiwe Bayisayi and Veli Mamba.

  • The Vigil was sorry not to be able to attend the gig by Zimbabwean comedian Walter Mzembi, arranged  by his supporters at Oxford University. But we recommend the BBC’s  Hard Talk interview with the Tourism Minister (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04ndyyq/hardtalk-walter-mzembi-tourism-minister-zimbabwe). Amazing Mzembi, full of his ‘win-win’ and ‘low-hanging fruit’ clichés, says the West owes Zimbabwe £100 billion for the illegal sanctions and blamed Britain for the brain drain from Zimbabwe. No doubt he will soon be given a doctorate by Oxford.

  • At the beginning of our wettest Vigil for many months we were pleased to be greeted by Joseph Chivayo who got up at 4.30 am to catch the cheap coach in Derby to be with us today.  He won’t be able to be with us next week because he will be a speaker at the Sanctuary Summit in Birmingham, campaigning for asylum seekers (see: https://sanctuarysummit2014.wordpress.com/201-2/).

  • On the day of the Lord Mayor’s procession through London, others who were with Joseph at the start of the Vigil to help set up were Gladys Phiri, Eunice Mucherechedza, Veli Mamba, Fungayi Mabhunu and Grace Munyanyi. Thanks also to Eunice who brought pens and a new register book for the Vigil.

     

    For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 19 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Petition presentation to 10 Downing Street. Saturday 15th November at 4 pm. Leave Vigil at 3.15 pm to walk to Downing Street. Back at Vigil by 4.45 pm.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 15th November from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th November at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 15th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 22nd November from 10:30 am to 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Information and Publicity Officer: 07532021348. 

  • ROHR Southampton general meeting. Saturday 29th November from 1.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL.  Speakers include Ephraim Tapa, ROHR Founder and President and Tony Noyce, Mayor of Eastleigh. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chair) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice-Chair), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214,

  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 6th December from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets every month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy

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Leadership paralysis – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 01 November 2014 23:06

Photolink: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/15661645246/sizes/m/

 

The Vigil can’t get excited about the EU’s decision to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe. We were told it was coming some time back. We simply point out that the sanctions (or ‘targeted measures’) were imposed because of Zimbabwe’s rigged elections and lack of respect for the law. This has not changed and the EU knows it, though they talk blithely about ‘progress’ . . .

 

The simple truth is that the EU has accepted that its policy on Zimbabwe has failed. Instead of calling Zimbabwe to account it has given up and now regards Zimbabwe as, in effect, a failed state – a view apparently supported by the IMF, which recently said Zimbabwe was ranked 244 in the world in GDP per capita, with only 3 countries in a worse state (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/626-eddie-cross-business-as-usual on our Campaigns Page).

 

After our criticism of the British Ambassador in Harare for calling Mugabe ‘iconic’, the Vigil was pleased to note the caveats in her comments on the visit by a British trade mission. Ms Laing said ‘the Government of Zimbabwe will need to take steps to improve the environment for foreign investors, including those from the UK. We are clear too that economic progress must be matched by progress on governance and the rule of law, which are sought by Investors the world over, and are important in attracting those investors who help develop the local populations’ (see: Press Statement by Ambassador Catriona Laing on UK trade mission – https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/press-statement-by-ambassador-catriona-laing-on-uk-trade-mission).

 

Finance Minister Chinamasa says the indigenisation law is to be clarified to encourage foreign investment but everyone knows that no decisions are being taken while Zanu PF tears itself apart. Mugabe himself complained that cabinet ministers must pull up their socks and get to work. But surely he was satirical as he went on to say they should cut down on expensive foreign jaunts . . . (see http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_president-slams-lazy-ministers-the-herald/ – President slams lazy ministers).

 

We are doubtful that a brief visit by British or Danish trade delegations will give them real insight into the tragedy playing out in Zimbabwe but it must have been difficult for them not to notice the paralysis of leadership in the country. As Zimbabweans in the diaspora, we can only welcome any genuine aid for the country that does not serve to prop up the regime. But we advise the EU businessmen to keep their eyes open. Zanu PF has created a culture in which agreements are never kept. As a surprised Chinamasa admitted after his last begging trip to China: they complained we hadn’t paid back our loans . . . !

 

So the message of the Vigil to the EU is: remember that there is rampant corruption, no rule of law and no prospect of free and fair elections under the current regime in Zimbabwe. The EU should take Morgan Tsvangirai’s point in his welcoming speech on Friday at his party congress: ‘Any re-engagement must be accompanied by a stubborn insistence by the international community on the universally accepted standards that ensure the guarantee of full freedoms and the enfranchising of the ordinary citizen. They must insist on key reforms that will ensure that the people put in place a legitimate government that will begin to address the challenges facing the nation.’ (See: President Morgan Tsvangirai’s opening address to the 4th congress of the MDC – https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/mdcchangingtimes/
lZ8wIrG3mYA
.)

 

And the EU must also remember that, though Mugabe may be an icon, he is nevertheless an idiot, as so described by the new Malawi Ambassador to Harare (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/october-2014-headlines/ - New Malawi envoy called Mugabe an idiot).

 

Other points

  • Even though the EU seems to be waiting unto Mugabe’s 91st birthday before it lifts the travel sanctions on him and his clever wife, the old idiot popped up at the Vigil as part of Grace’s ‘meet the people’ tour. He was suitably attired for Halloween and accompanied by three weevils disguised as devils. They carried posters saying ‘Halloween Monster Mugabe and his weevils’. Thanks to Collin Chitekwe for donning the Mugabe mask and to Ishmael Makina, Eric Eluwasi and Tania Magume (who played a small weevil).

  • After the Vigil we walked down to the Strand Continental Hotel for our regular meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum where it was decided to seek permission from the Prime Minister’s office to present a petition to Downing Street about the EU sanctions. Ephraim Tapa, ROHR President, said he believed that China was supporting Mnangagwa in the Zanu PF power struggle and it looked as if Joice Mujuru would be ousted. He said the implosion of Zanu PF would be a very good thing for democracy.

  • Thanks to Tendai Chadehumbe, Mavis Chisvo, Deborah Harry, Eric Eluwasi, Eunice Mucherechedzo and Gladys Phiri for arriving early to help set up. Thanks to Deborah, Mercy Bayipayi and Shylette Chipangura of the ROHR Reading Branch for providing delicious sadza and stew.


    For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Hope for Zimbabwe’. Tuesday 4th November from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, London. Hosted by the Mike Campbell Foundation with Ben Freeth, MBE, Christina Lamb, OBE, Dame Linda Dobbs (Chair). Tickets: £15. For more information, check:  http://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/page/events-2014.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 15th November from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 15th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th November at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 22nd November from 10:30 am to 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Information and Publicity Officer: 07532021348. 

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy

 
Normalising the abnormal – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th October 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 26 October 2014 15:17

The Vigil seldom agrees with The Herald but we do have some sympathy with the paper’s scepticism about the naïve remarks made by Britain’s new Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing.

 

Obviously he’s an iconic figure’, she told The Herald. ‘He is one of the few presidents in an African country whose name will be known in our country and in most countries – maybe because he has been in power for a long time’.

 

‘Everyone has heard about him. I’ve read about him. So it was interesting to meet him in person’, she said. ‘He gave me a signal that where we have differences we can have a mature dialogue’ (see: Mugabe an iconic figure, says British envoy – http://m.news24.com/news24/Africa/Zimbabwe/Mugabe-an-iconic-figure-says-British-envoy-20141023 which includes a video of Ms Laing).

 

The Vigil is surprised by the use of the word iconic for a ruthless dictator with blood dripping from his hands. When people talk of an icon they think of some hero like Mandela, though we accept she may have been thinking of ‘icons’ like Hitler, Mao and Idi Amin. Anyway, The Herald itself was not happy with her comments.

               

The paper carried a long article commenting on the interview, headlined ‘Ms Laing, we presume?’ Apart from routine insults offered to any British envoy, The Herald said Ms Laing’s remarks could be interpreted as ‘arrogant or patronising’.  It argued that Britain and the West really had to go down on their knees and show real repentance for the terrible things they had done to Zanu PF. Otherwise Ms Laing ‘will leave Zimbabwe a very frustrated woman if she believes that at the core of the dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain are human rights, democracy and governance issues’. That’s putting the UK in its place (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/ms-laing-we-presume/).

 

What the Vigil finds so surprising is that successive British Ambassadors have had their teeth kicked in by Zanu PF and still come out smiling. The cheerful Ms Laing’s immediate predecessor the equally cheerful Deborah Bronnert described Mugabe as ‘charming’. But where did that get us?

 

The Vigil can’t understand why the British government doesn’t get the message that grovelling to Zanu PF and stuffing aid down their throats will not work. They are just propping up a rapacious regime. Eddie Cross, MP for the MDC T, in his latest article, criticises Western aid policies. He says they solve nothing; the real problem in countries like Zimbabwe is poor governance (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/624-creating-a-more-equitable-world on our campaigns page).

 

He says: ‘Dictatorial regimes do not want education for their people; they do not want settled secure communities living in their own homes. They want their people dependent on charity – their charity and permission. They want patronage and reward to be the keys to safety and security, not freedom and enterprise. Until we are able to meet these primary needs and to satisfy these fundamental rights, the problems created in our world by inequality and poverty will never be addressed.’

 

The Vigil is not surprised that, despite reports of a bumper harvest last year, Zimbabwe is classed in the 2014 Global Hunger Index as having ‘serious hunger levels’ (see: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2014/10/20/serious-hunger-stalks-zim-despite-bumper-harvest/Serious hunger’ stalks Zim despite bumper harvest). As Cross notes in his article, life expectancy in Zimbabwe has declined since 1990 from 63 to 34 years – levels last seen 100 years ago.

 

The Vigil would like to know what Britain’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe thinks of this and whether aid money couldn’t be better spent in supporting activists working for exactly the issues that The Herald dismisses: ‘human rights, democracy and governance issues’.

 

Other points

  • At the Vigil we sold our last edition of The Zimbabwean newspaper, which has now ceased publication in print form in the UK. Our weekly diary will continue to be featured on their website. Our supporters will miss having the paper to read. It has been getting better and better.

  • Thanks to Tendai Chadehumbe, Deborah Harry, Veli Mamba, Charles Dhumasani Ndlovu, Fungayi Mabhunu and Hazvenei Mabika for arriving early to help set up.  Thanks also to Tendai for taking care of the front table throughout the Vigil and to Deborah for helping her.

     

    For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 32 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st November from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 1st November from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Hope for Zimbabwe’. Tuesday 4th November from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, London. Hosted by the Mike Campbell Foundation with Ben Freeth, MBE, Christina Lamb, OBE, Dame Linda Dobbs (Chair). Tickets: £15. For more information, check:  http://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/page/events-2014.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th November at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy

 
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