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EU’s policy stinks – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st May 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 June 2014 21:10

There was speculation at the Vigil that the eagerness of the EU to offer hundreds of millions of dollars to the Zanu PF regime may be linked to reports that Mugabe is to step down soon.

 

The London Sunday Times last week quoted sources close to the half-blind Mugabe as saying ill health had forced him to tell his confidantes that he couldn’t continue and wanted his replacement installed by the end of the year.

 

This was followed by a report that Mugabe is to call off the Zanu PF elective congress set for December which was expected to endorse Vice President Mujuru as his successor, although EU ambassadors have made clear their fingers-clamped-to-the-nose preference for Mujuru as the less smelly face of Zanu PF.

 

Mugabe was said, however, to have been told by the Joint Operations Command to leave it to the military to manage a takeover by Mujuru’s rival, Justice Minister Mnangagwa (see: Mugabe to cancel Zanu PF succession congress – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_mugabe-to-cancel-zanu-pf-succession-congress/).

 

The remaining EU sanctions against Mugabe and Grace are the only real impediments to the EU’s embrace of the Zanu PF mafia. Mugabe’s departure would clear the way for a financial package for the unreformed regime scheduled to be discussed in November.

 

Finance Minister Chinamasa expressed confidence that the remaining targeted measures would be removed: “We have faith that the lapse of sanctions would, as promised by the European Union, pave the way for normalisation of economic relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union”, he said. The EU Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia spoke excitedly of ‘re-engagement in action’ (see http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_eu-pledges-millions-to-zanu-pf-as-part-of-re-engagement/EU pledges millions to ZANU PF as part of re-engagement).

 

The stink of the compromised diplomatic community in Zimbabwe was overpowering at a Book Café meeting in Harare at which Zanu PF murderer and rapist Buhera MP Joseph Chinotimba was welcomed as a guest of honour (and apparently ‘brought the house down’ with his jokes). MDC T spokesman Douglas Mwonsara said: “The diplomatic community is forgetting that ZANU PF committed these horrendous crimes. We see them gracing these occasions as if everything is fine, and it is outrageous” (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_violence-leader-chinoz-embraced-as-book-cafe-guest-of-honour/Violence leader Chinoz embraced as Book Café ‘guest of honour’).

 

We at the Vigil are disgusted that the EU is selling out the people of Zimbabwe by ‘normalising’ relations with the Zanu PF murder machine. We will certainly not be taking up Minister Simon Khaya Moyo’s appeal to the diaspora to return home.

 

Vigil supporter Dr Clifford Mashiri has appealed to the EU not to release the money to the Zanu PF regime until it allows the diaspora vote (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/589-reply-to-mr-emmerson-mnangagwa-restorezimdiasporavote).

 

Other Points

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 7th June from 12 noon. (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE.) 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 Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 7th June from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For direction see entry above.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 14th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Leicester Branch fundraiser. Saturday 14th June from 2 pm – 3 am. Venue: The New Joiners,73 Sanvey Gate, Leicester, LE1 4EQ.  Let’s fundraise for a worthy cause at the brand new joint everyone’s talking about. Join us for a Massive BBQ / Braai / Amawoso / Gochi Gochi Party in Leicester. Zora Butter with DJ Russey & Tjukutja with Kevin Ncube. Flyer: https://www.flickr.com/photos/90023465@N03/14343685003/in/set-72157644911552056. Contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Hilda Gwesele 07939127819, Christopher Kamuzonde 07449150041 and Bryne Mashonganyika 07450547313.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 21st June at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting. Saturday 28th June from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Erick Eluwasi, the Information and Publicity Officer On: 07532021348 

  • ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 28th June 2014 from 1 – 3.30 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW.   For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chairperson on 07708116625, Nkosikona Tshabangu Vice Chairperson 07887398247, Sharon Zimuto Secretary 07988165394, Fungisai Mupandira 077988958803, Iline Manhunzi Treasurer 07824886092 and Tichaona Mafokosho Information and Publicity 07939696521.

  • 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:

 
A still birth – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th May 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 May 2014 14:17

The Vigil welcomes the belated court challenge to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the voters’ roll used in the last elections. Ten months on and the roll has still not been made available for scrutiny as required by the constitution. The obduracy of ZEC can only support assertions that the 31st July elections were rigged.

 

This week marked the anniversary of the signing into law of the new constitution providing for improved civil liberties. What a still birth! Zanu PF has simply refused to change laws which allow it to deny people their – now constitutional – right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

 

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Harare this week to demonstrate against the abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria. The police did not bother them. Evidently, all they are interested in is shutting down criticism of the Zanu PF mafia. The Vigil supposes it would also be alright to demonstrate against the Syrian civil war or the Thai coup. But anyone who demands their civil rights is likely to be beaten and carted off to prison. 

 

Meanwhile Zanu PF’s latest begging appeal has been curtly rejected by Brazil, whose ambassador in Harare said ‘Zimbabwe is a rich country and does not need donations but investments’. All is not lost however. Zanu PF has told diamond miners to hand over their gems to the central bank so that they can be used as security for a loan. Brilliant idea! Payments for the diamonds ‘will be made soon after . . .’ Haven’t we heard this before?

 

Other points

  • Best wishes from the Vigil to Philip Maponga and Lindiwe Bare on their marriage.

  • Thanks to Rosemary Chimuka and Isaac Chatikobo who arrived early to help set up. A special thanks to Isaac who got soaking wet putting up the tarpaulin in the pouring rain. Thanks also to Bridget Zhakata 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: 26 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 31st May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 7th June from 12 noon. (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE.) 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 Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 7th June from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For direction see entry above.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 21st June at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general Meeting. Saturday 28th June from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Erick Eluwasi, the Information and Publicity Officer On: 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

  • Facebook pages:

 
Re-engagement with what? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th May 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 18 May 2014 13:58

‘Re-engagement is the only game in town’ was the message from the platform at a tightly-controlled meeting on Zimbabwe held at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London.

 

The meeting was to launch a report Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery’ by Steve Kibble and Zanu PF apologist Knox Chitiyo. Just to make sure of things another featured speaker was Zanu PF sympathiser Dr Miles Tendi, Lecturer in African History and Politics at Oxford University.

 

The Vigil had already made known its negative opinion of this report (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/584-zanu-pf-at-chatham-house--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-26th-april-2014). So we didn’t bother to apply for tickets for the event – especially as a friend of the Vigil hadn’t managed to get in, even though he is a member of the Institute (at quite a cost, he notes).

 

But another friend of ours had better luck and reported: ‘Various people in the audience brought up excellent reasons why the west's re-engagement is a bad idea. Ben Freeth was there and brought up an excellent point, but the bottom line was it doesn't matter about human rights abuses, it doesn't matter that there is no rule of law, it doesn't matter that Zanu PF is a criminal network (all points accepted by the panel) – their view was 're-engagement is the only game in town.'

 

Among business leaders at the meeting was the head of Anglo-American who felt the indigenisation policy was being implemented pragmatically as shown by the fact that although they had handed over 51% of their shares, they had still maintained control of the company. The Head of Rio Tinto also managed to get into the select meeting.

 

Our reporter says people were allowed only one question so it was impossible to get to the nitty-gritty of anything. Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to London, on the other hand, was allowed the final word on everything. (He was sitting next to the Head of Anglo and they were clearly on a very friendly basis.)

 

Our reporter added: ‘I wanted to ask what message this sends out to other governments, and did they not think that re-engagement should be based on a moral imperative ie only when some reforms have been implemented. If you engage ahead of any reforms, the message appears to be that it doesn’t matter what you do as a government, as long as you hold onto power long enough, through intimidation and rigged elections, eventually the west will come around and the west will still engage with you and throw money your way.’

 

The Vigil is appalled by the tenor of the meeting. Re-engage Zimbabwe? Since when has the West stopped engaging Zimbabwe? There is a full pack of western ambassadors in Harare falling over themselves to feed the starving and support the hopeless. Only this week the French Ambassador, Laurent Delahousse, said Zimbabwe had imposed sanctions upon itself through corruption, violation of people’s rights and other unacceptable behaviour and should stop blaming other countries. ‘Zimbabwe should adopt a culture of accountability, deal with corruption, lack of transparency in diamond deals and unclear indigenisation policy and avoid blaming the imagined Western sanctions,’ he said (see: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/news/zimbabwe/71616/zim-sanctions-self-imposed-says.html Zim sanctions ‘self-imposed’ says diplomat).

 

Whatever Chatham House thinks, it is not up to the West to change its policy towards Zimbabwe, it is up to Zanu PF to re-engage with the donor community and stop spitting in their face. The reality is that there can be no fruitful engagement unless Mugabe goes. Any Western businessman looking to “re-engage” with Zimbabwe should look at the demand by Zanu PF MP Temba Mliswa for $165 million for his cut in dodgy dealings with Zanu PF’s sponsor Billy Rautenbach (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_zanu-pf-mp-hits-out-at-rautenbach/).

 

Other points

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum met after the Vigil to discuss the progress of its diaspora initiative to promote change at home. It was agreed that ZAF would remain a platform for discussion embracing all views and would engage the Zimbabwe We Can Movement (ZWC), which is part of the Vigil Coalition, with a view to developing a political force. David Kadzutu said a ZWC meeting earlier in the day had set an annual membership fee of £15. It was noted that a request had been sent to the Home Secretary Theresa May asking for a meeting to discuss the treatment of Zimbabwean asylum seekers. The  ZAF meeting was told that a number of MPs had offered their support.

  • We were saddened to hear of the death of Vigil founder member Clifford Mahembi. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  • Thanks to Isaac Chatikobo, Tendai Bhallphi and Helen Rukambiro who arrived early 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: 27 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 31st May from 12 noon. 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 31st May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 7th June from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For direction see entry above.

  • ROHR Reading Branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 24th May. Times: outreach 11 am 2 pm, general meeting 2:30 5 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582, Nicodimus Muganhu (Chair) 07877386792, Shylette Chipangura (Secretary) 07828929806.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Marlborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatsson.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 21st June 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

  • Facebook pages:

 
Betraying the Future – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th May 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 May 2014 16:31

Everyone who wishes Zimbabwe well must be worried at indications that Zanu PF, desperate for money to keep afloat, is preparing to mortgage the country’s natural resources to secure a Chinese takeaway.

 

We at the Vigil urge the many MDCs to at least unite on this one platform: warn China that when a democratic government comes to power, as it eventually must, any such deal will be repudiated under the internationally recognised principle of odious debt. This basically means that the debt was not incurred to benefit the people but only the regime.

 

 China, which has lent $1.5 billion to Harare over the last three years, is now insisting on serious collateral for loans of the size required to keep Zanu PF in power. There is talk of a financial package of 10 billion  dollars – small change for China but big enough for Beijing to demand big concessions in return. This could involve giving China virtually sovereign powers over their operations in Zimbabwe. After all, China will have to invest billions more to exploit the resources because of Zimbabwe’s dilapidated infrastructure.

 

(To put this into perspective: an American company is trying to buy Britain’s SECOND biggest pharmaceutical company and its current unacceptable offer is more than $100 billion. Mugabe acts as if he is a power in the world; the reality is that he is a mere tick.)

 

But Zanu PF is desperate for any money they can get hold of. The Vigil believes that little of this will trickle down to the people and we will see, if they get this Chinese bailout, two parallel economies in Zimbabwe: an extractive one entirely run by the Chinese with no interference by the ‘indigenous’ and an ‘indigenous’ one bearing increasing resemblance to that of North Korea, long a model for Mugabe, cowed and brainwashed and desperately poor.

 

It is to prevent this national betrayal that the Vigil urges resistance to the mortgaging of our resources. After all, there is an alternative: ditch the crazy indigenisation policy, honour agreements, promote the rule of law and end the rhetoric of hate. Transparent foreign investment is the only way the country can be rebuilt. This is the true win-win option.

 

Other points

  • The Vigil was amused that Zanu PF thought the bogus tourism ‘award’ would not be exposed. A simple check on the internet showed that the dubious organisation involved had nothing to do with the European Union. We are surprised that Mzembi had the funds to buy them . . . but perhaps he got the money from EU aid. To make up your own mind look at the website of the European Council on Tourism and Trade – http://ectt.webs.com/home.htm.

  • We were grateful to Joseph Chivayo for being at the Vigil at the start to help set up in blustery rain. He had got up at 4 am to set off from Derby. He is an inspiration to everyone. Thanks also to others who were there are the start, namely: Helen Rukambiro, Isaac Chatikobo, Mary Muteyerwa, Kelvin Kamupira, Francesca Toft and Elizabeth Mathe, and special thanks to Helen who looked after the front table throughout the Vigil and Isaac who tirelessly climbed up and down to get our tarpaulin 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: 22 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery. Wednesday 14th May from 10 – 11 am. Venue: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, 10 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE. To register interest in the meeting, check: http://www.chathamhouse.org/events/view/199120.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th May 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 17th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 17th May at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Slough general meeting. Saturday 17th May 2014 from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham road, Slough SL2 5JW. For further information please contact Patricia Masamba (Vice Chairperson) 07708116625, Sharon Zimuto (Information and Publicity) 07988165394 and Tichaona Mafokosho (Secretary) 0793969652.

  • ROHR Reading Branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 24th May. Times: outreach 11 am 2 pm, general meeting 2:30 5 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582, Nicodimus Muganhu (Chair) 07877386792, Shylette Chipangura (Secretary) 07828929806.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Marlborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatsson.

  • 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.

  • Facebook pages:

 
The Missing link – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd May 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 May 2014 15:45

A well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) held after the Vigil appointed an interim committee to further the diaspora initiative offering an alternative political programme alongside the progressive forces in Zimbabwe. The 10-member committee will build on the resolutions of the Vigil’s all-stakeholders’ conference last October (see Vigil diary of 12th April: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/579-vigil-welcomes-new-path-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-12th-april-2014). The committee’s aim is to reach out to the diaspora with a view to agreeing a common voice and mobilize for action, liaise with progressive forces in Zimbabwe and take the change agenda forward. The committee was also mandated to organise an all-inclusive, elective diaspora convention.

 

ZAF Chair, Ephraim Tapa, said the diaspora had been excluded from the political debate in Zimbabwe but internal processes there had failed to dislodge Mugabe. The ZAF noted that the MDC, as it stands today, had run its course and the diaspora must help create a vehicle to fill the political vacuum and bring an end to the crisis. ‘We are the missing link’, Ephraim said.

 

Members of the committee are: Arnold Magwanyata, Benjamin Semwayo, Ephraim Tapa, Fungayi Mabhunu, Michelle Dube, Patricia Masamba, Rose Benton, Walter Nhliziyo, Walter Shoko and Wilbert Mukori.

 

The ZAF meeting went on to discuss sending a delegation to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to discuss the treatment of Zimbabweans seeking asylum.  The following were appointed to the delegation: Ephraim Tapa, Fungayi Mabhunu, Peter Sidindi, Rose Benton and Walter Nhliziyo.  We are sending a letter to Theresa May asking for an appointment.

 

An insight into daily life in rural Zimbabwe (which some people sent back may encounter) came in a message from a pastor whose work in the Bulawayo area is supported by some Vigil people. ‘Although we do relief work at Mazwi, it is never enough.  There is always hunger there. So women and families have to walk a long way through the bush to the municipal dump site to scavenge for food (18 km). Some of these women have been raped as they walk home and their gleanings have been taken away. I have reported this to the police. They have told us that two robbers escaped from Khame Prison and have been reported being seen in this area. They say they are investigating all the cases.  Last week three women all carrying babies on their back, and fat they had gathered from the dump site, came across a man wielding a long knife.  They ran away but one woman was caught and raped. When she came back home, one of the women who had been with her started to laugh at her, accusing her, saying that she should have run as fast as the others.  She said that since she was a widow she was probably looking for a man and that’s why she got what she got. This did not go well with the raped woman and she called on the elders; I was also called in to attend to the case. I ministered to her.’

 

Other points

  • The Vigil welcomes Morgan Tsvangirai’s call for action to pressurise Mugabe to address the economic challenges. Why has the MDC waited so long? We are disappointed that politicians are spending their time discussing the 2018 elections. The country can’t wait that long. Time for action is now (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/526-challenge-mugabe-to-deliver--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-31st-august-2013Challenge Mugabe to deliver – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st August 2013).

  • A group of Nigerians came to see us at the Vigil on their way from a protest outside the Nigerian High Commission against government inaction over the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by Islamic terrorists in Northern Nigeria.

  • We were surprised to see horses charging down the Strand and back again pulling sulkies (light carriages).

  • Thanks to Bridget Zhakata and Fungayi Mabhunu who were there at the start to help set up. Supporters came from far afield – Nicodimus Muganhu caught the bus from Manchester at 4 am and Walter Nhliziyo came from Scotland.

     

    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: 48 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Mass for Migrants. Monday 5th May at 10.30 am. Westminster Cathedral, 42 Francis Street, London SW1P 1QW.

  • ROHR Birmingham Branch general meeting. Saturday 10th May from 1 – 5 pm. Venue; Malaika House, 81 George Street, Lozells B19 1NS. For more information contact Chairperson Thandiwe Gwarumba 07503512308; Secretary Janemary Mapfumo 07412310429; Info & Publicity Team Tino Mashonganyika 07463272078 & Tecla Bandawe 07450507650

  • ROHR Southampton Branch general meeting. Saturday 10th May from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL. For further enquiries contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chair) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice Chair), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery. Wednesday 14th May from 10 – 11 am. Venue: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, 10 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE. To register interest in the meeting, check: http://www.chathamhouse.org/events/view/199120.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th May 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 17th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 17th May at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Slough general meeting. Saturday 17th May 2014 from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham road, Slough SL2 5JW. For further information please contact Patricia Masamba (Vice Chairperson) 07708116625, Sharon Zimuto (Information and Publicity) 07988165394 and Tichaona Mafokosho (Secretary) 0793969652.

  • ROHR Reading Branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 24th May. Times: outreach 11 am 2 pm, general meeting 2:30 5 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582, Nicodimus Muganhu (Chair) 07877386792, Shylette Chipangura (Secretary) 07828929806.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Marlborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatsson.

  • 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.

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