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The empty vessel – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 01 September 2014 07:08

As Mugabe made his eleventh visit to Beijing, his famously enigmatic hosts must have found it Chinese torture to keep a straight face at the sight of the ancient cartoon dictator. A 21-gun salute for the empty vessel must have been the final straw, especially knowing they were expected to fill it with gold.

 

The Chinese, as well as being smart business people, have a long memory. They will remember that when Mugabe came to power in 1980 Zimbabwe’s annual gross national product was rather more than theirs at US$1,295 per head compared to China’s US$1,061. They will have observed in awe how he has managed to completely ruin the country so that in 2013 the GDP figures were: Zimbabwe US$446 and China US$3,583 (see: Former underdogs outperform Zim –http://www.financialgazette.co.zw/former-underdogs-outperform-zim/).

 

Like clockwork, Mugabe trotted out the tired cold war rhetoric: ‘Down with colonialism, imperialism and capitalism’ which must have seemed rather quaint to his welcoming group of Chinese capitalists, colonialists and imperialists. If Mugabe had expected them to join his chorus he must now  realise that they no longer zhing from the same zhong sheet.

 

We are fortunate in the diaspora to have ready access to a broad range of news than is not easily available at home and the Vigil thinks it has a responsibility not only to show the outside world what Zimbabwe is suffering but also to show people at home how misguided they would be to rely on Zanu PF’s empty promises of a better tomorrow.

 

What prompts these reflections was an eloquent article in the Zimbabwean by the economist and author Vince Musewe pleading for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to become more politically active (see: Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-things-fall-apart-the-centre-cannot-hold-the-zimbabwean/). Trying to create a coalition for change has been the Vigil’s aim from its beginning 12 years ago. We are sad to say we have met with only limited success. There are many reasons for this but the chief one could be called the fissiparous tendency. Just as every Zimbabwean has a new constitution under their mattress so when two Zimbabweans gather together they will each soon want to form their own party.

 

The Vigil organised a conference last October reaching out to all diaspora groups to work together. But even on the most basic objective – free and fair elections – support has been disappointing. Every Zimbabwean wants to be the leader and every leader wants to be the leader forever. But Vince is surely right that the diaspora has an important role to play – and not just by the remittances of US$412 million – probably an underestimate – sent home in the first half of this year. But if Zimbabwe is to be really helped from abroad, the diaspora must learn to work together.

 

 All we can do at the moment is offer support. But, given the fissiparous tendency, support for what? The MDC renewal team’s only achievement so far seems to have been to choose a party colour! What the Vigil would like to know is if it’s true as reported that they think the 2013 election results were ok? (See: People voted Zanu PF – Mafume http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_m_people-voted-zanu-pf-mafume-dailynews-live/). For our part, the Vigil is convinced the elections were rigged. We are also puzzled by their offer to work for Zanu PF.      

 

In the meantime, we applaud the brave youths who took to the streets for a second week to be beaten for their legitimate demand that the Mugabe regime keep its promises. And we are happy that the MDC T now agrees with us that the opposition should not to take part in elections until there are reforms.

 

Other points

·         Despite our complaint above about lack of support from other groups, we were pleased that Christopher Maphosa, President of Zapu UK, joined us today.

·         Thanks to Ben Semwayo, Siza Ndebele, Elizabeth Mathe and Helen Rukambiro who were there at the start of the Vigil to help set up.

·         A special thank you to Patricia Masambe for mending and washing our cloth banners which have remained unchanged for 12 years and read: ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’.

 

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: 22 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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

  • ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 6th September from 1 – 3.30 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW.   For further information contact Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803, Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Sharon Zimuto (Secretary) 07988165394.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 13th September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 20th September from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 27th September 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

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Zhing-zhong deal – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 18:04

As Mugabe and top ministers converged on Beijing in a desperate appeal for a financial bailout, the Vigil was alerted to indications that an illegal deal was being negotiated to rescue Zimbabwe from its economic torpor and pay the government’s pressing running bills.

 

Like everyone else, China has been put off from lending to Zimbabwe because of its reliable failure to repay loans. It has become clear to everyone that the Zanu PF regime has no conception that a loan involves repayments. As the Vigil noted last week, a leading Chinese insurance company has now refused to cover investments in Zimbabwe.

 

Another big deterrent has been the insatiable appetite for corruption of Zimbabwean ministers and officials who openly compete with each other to see how much they can screw out of any deal – even at the cost of the deal collapsing. Well, they think, there will be another one along soon. Last month Zanu PF had to cancel a $1 billion tender awarded to a dicey Chinese company for the expansion of Hwange thermal power station when it turned out that the company had no money.

Added to these obstacles are the policy inconsistencies, the frailty of the legal system and the immunity enjoyed by political insiders to do what they want.

 

Zanu PF’s golden grail is $27 billion to fund the fatuous Zim Asset programme for economic development which formed the centrepiece of its 2013 election campaign but – a year on – has failed to get off the ground because only a crook or a lunatic will invest in it. The key problem is seen as the State Procurement Board which is in the lucrative position of awarding all state tenders and was described recently by finance minister Chinamasa as ‘the capital city of corruption’.

 

According to the Mail and Guardian, the Zanu PF mafia has now offered to award infrastructure projects to Chinese state companies without going through the Board or even putting the contracts out to tender (see: Zim govt 'sells out' to China – http://mg.co.za/article/2014-08-21-zim-govt-sells-out-to-china). Chinese state companies would be given the nod to fund, build and run power, water and other projects until they recover their investment.

 

The Vigil believes this arrangement will be as satisfactory to both sides as the Marange diamond deal: the Chinese will get an equal opportunity to share in the corruption with Zimbabwean officials with no questions asked. Whether the public will be happy with the arrangement is another matter. But the deal will apparently be sweetened by a four billion dollar cash rescue package to cheer up Zanu PF in the run-up to the party’s December conference when Mugabe will be re-elected to lead the country into the zhing-zhong future.

 

Other points

·         The EU’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia is reported by the Herald to have left for home at the end of his tour of duty. It quotes the EU envoy as paying tribute to the government for its co-operation which he said ‘has turned 360 degrees in social sectors, culture, trade and even sports and gender’. While the Herald said he headed back to Brussels we think that, judging by his dubious grasp of maths, he could be spinning like a top in Harare (seehttp://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_m_dellariccia-completes-zim-mission-the-herald/).

  • Thanks to Bridget Zhakata and Patricia Masamba for being there at the start to help set up the Vigil and to Patricia and Fungisai Mupandira for bringing sadza to fundraise for ROHR Slough branch.

     

    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: 24 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting.

    Saturday 30th August at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
    ROHR Middlesbrough general members meeting.  Saturday 30th August from 2 – 4 pm.  For more information please contact Masimba Musodza (Chairman) 07581887359, Xoliso Sithole (Treasurer) 07449005447, Ndumiso Ncube (Organising Secretary) 07448522328, Helen Sibanda (Secretary) 07799574994, Paula Nyoni (member) 07460221950.

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

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 13th September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 20th September from 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

LAST_UPDATED2
 
No joke – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 24 August 2014 13:19

Supporters at the Vigil beamed broadly in response to Mugabe’s appeal to Zimbabweans to pretend that all is well to the SADC Summit at the Victoria Falls. Our smiles were so big we couldn‘t help laughing at Mugabe’s request: ‘We are asking you to smile and show the region that we are a hospitable people, that we can welcome visitors. Let us all smile and for just a moment forget our problems . . . albeit under the burden of sanctions.’

 

To underline our joy at our desperate situation we held up smiley pictures with the posters: “Mugabe: ‘Smile for the SADC Summit’” and “Mugabe: ‘Smile, though your heart is breaking’”.

 

We are sure that our South African friends, in particular, will appreciate a smiley welcome at the Summit – after all they are connoisseurs in hypocrisy, as shown by their clutching at legal straws to continue preventing the publication of an explosive report said to expose the rigging of the 2002 Zimbabwe elections.

 

We welcome Zimbabwe’s return to a path of stability and prosperity and remain committed to cooperation and partnership with our valued neighbour’, joked South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, announcing a three-year extension of residents’ permits for Zimbabwean refugees. His joke was spoiled by the Daily News on Sunday quoting a highly-placed source in Pretoria: ‘It is not a secret that Zimbabwe is currently economically stressed and that things may get significantly worse soon. The growing fear is that this economic crisis will trigger ever larger volumes of economic refugees.’

 

The joke was further exposed by ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. “Zimbabwe was a food basket of Africa but is a disaster today,” he said as he reassured South African farmers that their land would not be seized forcibly and without compensation.  

 

The Daily News source will not be surprised by a report by Newsday that an undertaker has again been named as businessman of the year by one of Zimbabwe’s leading business associations (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_m_when-an-undertaker-is-businessman-of-the-year/) or that a leading Chinese insurance company is refusing to guarantee loans to Zimbabwean companies because of Mugabe’s failure to meet repayments (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_sinosure-refuses-to-secure-zim-loans/).

 

For our part, the VigiI is not surprised that Zanu PF is now turning to the EU for investment. Newsday quotes a no-doubt smiling Foreign Affairs deputy minister Christopher Mutsvangwa as saying that Zanu PF is now prepared to generously allow the West to rescue the economy. ‘They should not fear anything. Not at all. The Head of State is seized with the matter of revising laws which may be an impediment to foreign direct investment,’ said Mutsvangwa (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_zimbabwe-begs-eu-countries-to-invest/).

 

The Vigil has bad news for Mr Mutsvangwa: there is no real prospect of the EU seriously engaging in a country where Mugabe is seizing anything.

 

The Vigil was joined by members of ZAPU wearing their yellow tshirts and carrying posters such as ‘ZAPU for free and just land distribution’ and ‘ZAPU respects property rights’. They condemned the invasion of their leader Dumiso Dambengwa’s farm by Zanu PF elements.

 

Among the ZAPU representatives was ZAPU Secretary-General  Dr Ralph Mguni, who said sadly that Zimbabweans used to be respected around the world but they are now regarded as trash. The Chairman of ZAPU UK, Christopher Maphosa, whose story as a disillusioned war veteran is shown in the play ‘The Rain that Washes’ still being shown at theatres in the UK, said ‘We must all stand together as Zimbabweans. Our country does not belong to Zanu’. Another ZAPU speaker was Themba Mthethwa, who said exiled Zimbabweans had been failed by the leadership back home and must work to achieve a new independence in Zimbabwe.

 

Other points

  • The Vigil supported a petition protesting to SADC leaders about the seizure of a white-owned farm by Mugabe’s deputy chief secretary in contravention of a high court order. Sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/1rmcVZ1.

  • SW Radio Africa has now closed but is leaving a few key archive programmes on the main page of their website: www.swradioafrica.com for the interest of their listeners. The site will remain in place for a few more months. Their 13 year sound archive will be hosted by archive.org and as soon as that becomes accessible we will post the weblink on our ‘Events and Notices’ section.

  • Thanks to Brenda Chavundura, Mary Muteyerwa, Mavis Chisvo, Siphelo Moswa, Helen Rukambiro, Benjamin Semwayo and Fungayi Mabhunu who were there at the start to help set up.

     

    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: 31 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Southampton Branch general meeting. Saturday 23rd August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL. Special guest speakers. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice Chairperson), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 23rd August from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

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

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 13th September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 20th September from 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

LAST_UPDATED2
 
A voice silenced – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 9th August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 20:27

This weekend marks the end of SW Radio Africa which has been broadcasting high quality journalism to Zimbabwe for thirteen years. Coming at a time when the independent press at home is facing a growing financial squeeze, the Vigil believes the loss of this voice is a tragic blow to democracy.

 

Supporting a peaceful democratic transition is proclaimed as one of the main objectives for Zimbabwe of the UK’s Department for International Development, which must have given our country well over a billion dollars of aid during the lifetime of SW Radio Africa. It’s a pity DFID didn’t see fit to provide money to keep the radio station going as it filled the prescription for this.

 

The Vigil has often expressed our reservations about DFID’s aid to Zimbabwe. It is difficult to argue against propping up Zimbabwe’s health and education sectors but there is no doubt that foreign aid helps maintain the Mugabe regime in power, if only by relieving it of the responsibility to itself provide constitutionally mandated services.

 

Then, of course, there is the crucial question of corruption. DFID argues that it keeps a rigorous eye on how its money is spent, but much of it is channelled through multilateral organisations such as UNICEF. We notice that this week Education Minister Lazarus Dokora was caught out misappropriating a truck supplied by UNICEF . . .

 

As Zimbabweans know, corruption is total in Zimbabwe and we believe that all too many NGOs and other agencies have learnt, for their own purposes, to live with it – to the prejudice of their role and the detriment of good governance.

 

When SADC meets at the Victoria Falls this month to crown Mugabe will the assembled heads of state care that his Deputy Chief Secretary Ray Ndhlukula has ignored a high court order and taken over a farm from its white owner (although he apparently already has a farm)? The fact that it means the end of a rare pedigree herd is incidental.

 

The Vigil notes that Mugabe is off to Beijing soon to exchange Zimbabwe for a Chinese takeaway. But, however much he gets, it will make little difference to the lives of ordinary people as it will all be stolen. This will be done efficiently: Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa says he knows of no other country as well-governed as Zimbabwe.

 

Other points

  • The Vigil is glad to hear that the EU Ambassador to Harare Aldo Dell’Ariccia has ended his posting. No doubt he will feel bereaved being deprived of proximity to his hero Mugabe. We also learn that a new British Ambassador has been appointed to Harare. She is Catriona Laing and worked in DFID so perhaps she will have better access to the money bags.
  • Thanks to Joseph Chivayo, Epiphania Phiri, Aivet Phiri, Zodwa Ndlovu and Musa Sibanda who were there at the start to help set up. Thanks also to Helen Rukambiro for looking after the front table.

     

    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: 16 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 16th August from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Southampton Branch general meeting. Saturday 23rd August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL. Special guest speakers. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice Chairperson), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 23rd August from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

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

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 13th September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • 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

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Recall Ambassador – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 11:33

The Zimbabwean human rights activist Ben Freeth has written to the Vigil with information supporting our demand for the recall of EU Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia because of his support for the Mugabe regime.

 

Mr Dell’Ariccia was widely quoted as criticising NGOs in Zimbabwe, describing them as AGOs – anti-government organisations – and he was also reported as saying there was no leadership crisis in Zimbabwe.

 

As we noted in our diary last week, the EU told us in a letter that Mr Dell’Ariccia had been misreported. Ben Freeth says he spoke to the Ambassador and he repeated that he did not believe that Zimbabwe had a leadership crisis (although he did distance himself from some of the comments he is reported to have made). Freeth said that Dell’Ariccia told him there would be ‘blood on the streets’ if there was a leadership crisis.

 

In his letter to us, Freeth writes:

 

‘I disagreed with him and said that by his definition of a leadership crisis Italy (his home country) did not have a leadership crisis in the 1930s under Mussolini and nor did Germany under Hitler because they were strong leaders – dictators in fact.  The fact is though that, as dictators, they led their countries and the world into a war that killed tens of millions of people and, against the Jews, they also committed the worst genocide in world history.  

 

‘It is clear to me that a leadership crisis continues to exist in Zimbabwe: our leaders continue to lead our country dictatorially against international law; our leaders ignore international agreements like the Abuja Agreement;  our leaders ignore bilateral investment treaties and take over private property - so that almost nobody wants to invest their money in Zimbabwe to rebuild its shattered economy;  our leaders ignore international conventions like the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination;  our leaders ignore international treaties like the SADC Treaty and the SADC Tribunal – and in the “Zanufication” of SADC they managed to get the SADC Tribunal closed down. 

 

‘When dictators lead their countries into evil nobody, in truth, can say that there is not a leadership crisis, however much they want to appease those dictators.

 

‘We have seen genocide under our current leaders where 20,000 civilians, many of them women and children, were brutally murdered; we have seen Murambatsvina where 700,000 homes were callously destroyed by our current leaders; we have seen land invasions under our current leaders where over 300,000 people lost their livelihoods – and which brought about a situation where our current wheat crop in the ground is only 5% of what it was before the invasions; we have seen political violence under our current leaders where tens of thousands have been severely beaten and hundreds killed.  We have seen per capita income fall from one of the highest in Africa to one of the lowest in the world. 

 

‘If all these crimes against humanity that have led to such poverty and suffering in Zimbabwe do not constitute a leadership crisis I have to wonder what a leadership crisis really is – by the definition of the European Union?’     

 

The Vigil agrees with Freeth’s comments and again calls on the European Union to recall its ambassador for re-education in its policy on Zimbabwe outlined in their letter to us: The objective of the EU is, and has always been, to support the Zimbabwean people in achieving a more prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe . . . The EU will continue to gear its relations with Zimbabwe with a view to promoting necessary reforms.’

 

Other points

  • The Vigil marked the anniversary of the stolen 2013 elections by staging a tableau mocking the victory banquet in Harare this week held by Mugabe for his mafia henchmen. Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing our Mugabe mask, presided at a Vigil banquet flanked by supporters wearing red devils’ masks amid posters reading: ‘EU sups with devil Mugabe’, ‘Wake on anniversary of Zimbabwe’s 2013 stolen elections’, ‘One year on, six years backwards’, ‘No rule of law, endemic corruption’, ‘Where are the two million jobs?’ and ‘What’s happened to the new constitution?’ Vigil supporter Dr Clifford Mashiri said we must continue our protest and demand the diaspora vote which is allowed by the new constitution.

  • This issue was discussed at the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil. Ephraim Tapa said that, with the West moving to re-engage Mugabe, we must step up our activism. He urged Vigil supporters to contact their MPs and put forward our case. The Zimbabwean diaspora may not be allowed to vote in Zimbabwe’s elections but we can vote in the UK’s elections next year because of an anomaly in the regulations.

  • The meeting decided to send on to the Home Office an email from a former supporter who had received two letters of support from us to stay in the UK but now wished to be removed from our mailing list. We felt the Home Office should be aware of her lack of commitment to a free Zimbabwe. They might like to remove her from their list of those allowed to remain in the UK.

  • Thanks to Epiphania Phiri, Danai Maghidi, Patricia Masamba, Mary Muteyerwa, Fungisai Mupandira, Tendai Chadehumbe and Fungayi Mabhunu who arrived early to help set up. Thanks also to Patricia, Fungisai and Tendai for providing our banquet of sadza and stew to fundraise for the ROHR Slough branch.

     

    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: 35 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 9th August from 12 noon. The meeting will be held in Reading ahead of the ROHR Reading Branch Fundraiser.

  • ROHR Reading Branch Fundraiser. Saturday 9th August from 5 – 11 pm. Venue: Pakistani Community Centre, Park Hall, London Road, Reading RG1 2PA. Tickets: £6.50 or £10 for two. Drinks, BBQ, Disco. Contact: Eric 07532 021 348. For flyer, check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/90023465@N03/sets/72157645522190494/.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 9th August from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 16th August from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 23rd August at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Southampton Branch general meeting. Saturday 23rd August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL. Special guest speakers. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice Chairperson), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 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

  • Facebook pages:
    Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts
    ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515
    ROHR: https://www.facebook.co/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

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