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Financing Mugabe’s Looters – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th February 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 20:11

The Vigil is advising the British government not to agree to Mugabe’s request to pay for the education of 750,000 Zimbabwean primary school children. The British government last month said it was considering the request. But the Vigil believes that if Mugabe deals with rampant corruption his regime would be able to honour the constitutional requirement that basic education must be compulsory and free (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_zimbabwe-fails-to-pay-fees-for-750000-desperate-children/Zimbabwe Fails to Pay Fees for 750,000 Desperate Children).

 

The Vigil’s view is explained in a letter to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID). Our letter follows up DFID’s response to concerns we expressed about development assistance to Zimbabwe falling into the hands of the rapacious Mugabe gang (see Vigil diary of 7th December 2013: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/551-mugabe-grabs-aid-money-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-7th-december-2013).

 

DFID acknowledges that some British money had been routed through the Mugabe regime in contravention of DFID’s funding policy in Zimbabwe and said it was strengthening its controls ‘to ensure that there can be no repeat of this kind of mistake in future’ (see our campaigns page for full text of DFID’s letter: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/565-reply-from-dfid--6th-february-2014).  Here’s our reply to Ms Greening:

 

The Zimbabwe Vigil is glad to hear from your Department that you will continue to monitor every penny of UK aid being used to help the people of Zimbabwe and will undertake robust due diligence on all your ‘ implementing partners’.

 

We are grateful for the UK’s continuing humanitarian relief for Zimbabwe in the face of ungrateful insults from the Zanu PF regime but we have doubts that foreign aid will benefit the people of Zimbabwe rather than prop up the illegal regime.

 

In particular, the Vigil advises you not to agree to Mugabe’s request to pay for the education of 750.000 Zimbabwean primary school children. Recent revelations from the heart of the Zanu PF mafia have exposed how Zimbabwe has been impoverished by corruption on an Olympian scale. While the average income is a dollar or so a day, the Zanu PF cronies running the bankrupt parastatal organisations are having to scrape by on as little as US$500,000 a month (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_ministers-slept-on-duty-charamba-newsday-zimbabwe/Ministers slept on duty – Charamba).

 

The Vigil believes that if this looting was stopped there would be plenty of money to pay for all deprived Zimbabwean primary school children to go to school. We think Mugabe’s funding request is particularly provocative because he is challenging you to, in effect, finance his looting of the Zimbabwean economy.

 

Other points

  • The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia is reported to have said that Mugabe has been invited to attend the AU / EU summit scheduled for Brussels on 2 / 3 April. The Vigil would be disgusted if this is true but if he does go to Belgium for a nonagenarian sleepover, we will be there to try and keep him awake.

  • Our sister organisation, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), staged a protest demonstration in Harare on Friday in a show of support for Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni’s fight to cleanse the city council of corruption. (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_harare-residents-march-in-support-of-mayor/Harare residents march in support of Mayor).

  • We are distressed that our good supporter Try Mahachi has been detained facing deportation to Zimbabwe. Try has played a powerful role at the Vigil, leading the singing, drumming and prayer and we will do all we can to secure his safety.

  • People at home have had heavy rains and flooding but we think we have had worse here in the UK. After the wettest January for 250 years, February has been no improvement. We started the Vigil in  pouring rain and strong winds  which even blew over our heavy table. Thanks to those who valiantly guarded the Vigil and put up the tarpaulin: Bridget Zhakata, Audrey Mandaza (and small daughter Mwanatsa), Rosemary Maponga, Tendayi Chataika, Sekai Kawada, Tarsisos Gomwe, Patricia Nyawo and Fungayi Mabhunu. Particular thanks to Fungayi who got soaked tying the cat’s cradle of rope to our four maple trees to support the tarpaulin.

     

    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:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see ZAF entry above. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 15th February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 22nd February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting. Saturday 15th March from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu (Chairman) 07877386792, Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582.

  • 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.

  • Facebook pages:

  • Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). For more information about this organisation, check: www.zunde.org.

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Mugabe’s Square Egg – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st February 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 14:36

A delegation took time out from the Vigil to go across London to the Botswana High Commission to deliver a letter of thanks to President Ian Khama for denouncing SADC’s endorsement of Zimbabwe’s rigged elections. The delegation carried posters reading: ‘Zimbabwe Vigil salutes Botswana’ and ‘Thank You President Khama’.

 

The letter reads: Exiled Zimbabweans at the Zimbabwe Vigil in London were heartened to read that Botswana will refuse to participate in future SADC observer missions because of SADC’s acceptance of vote rigging in Zimbabwe’s elections last July.

 

We agreed with your comment on Botswana national television that the elections were neither free nor fair and that SADC has breached its own election guidelines by letting Zimbabwe ‘off the hook’. Like you we fear that this makes it difficult to expect other SADC countries to abide by the election guidelines.

 

We note that Botswana has called for an audit of the election results but we fear this is impossible as Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has just upheld a lower court ruling that there was no urgency in hearing the MDC appeal asking the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the voters’ roll.

 

The voters’ roll is the smoking gun to the election rigging by Mugabe. It was expected to be released at least one month before the elections but now, six months after the elections, its release is apparently not urgent! Mugabe has clearly decided to sit on it: he is a chicken who has laid a square egg.

 

We hope that Botswana will support the Vigil’s demand that new elections be held in Zimbabwe that will meet the SADC election guidelines.

 

All freedom loving people of SADC salute you sir. You are a beacon of hope at a time when our region and continent need someone they can look up to.’

 

The Vigil is sending a copy of this letter to the current chair of SADC, President Joyce Banda of Malawi. We are taking the opportunity of drawing SADC’s attention to the 2014 report of Human Rights Watch. The report says SADC and the AU have ‘weakened international efforts to ensure restoration of the rule of law and respect for human rights’ in Zimbabwe by endorsing the July elections (see: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2014/01/24/sadc-au-slammed-zim-polls/ - SADC, AU slammed over polls).

 

But in truth the Vigil does not expect much from President Banda who has enlisted the help of the discredited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to secure her re-election in May . . .

 

Other points

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 8th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see ZAF entry above. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 15th February from 12 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson.

  • 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.

  • Facebook pages:

  • Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). For more information about this organisation, check: www.zunde.org.

 
What country friends is this? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th January 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 26 January 2014 16:34

The Vigil is to protest at a Zanu PF-backed visit to London by a delegation of Zimbabwean business leaders. The demonstration will take place on Tuesday outside the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House where the delegation will be appealing for international investment and the removal of targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.

 

The delegation is led by Charles Msipa, President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and Managing Director of Schweppes Zimbabwe.  Mr Msipa is said to be a member of a secret business committee of Zanu PF for which he mobilises funds. He played a big role in the farm invasions and is a close ally of former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, the looter in chief of state diamonds.

 

The once-respected Chatham House think tank has bent over backwards in recent years to sanitise Mugabe’s misrule. The meeting is private but we are told that the invitation to the select few reads: ‘With five consecutive years of positive growth, prospects for investment in Zimbabwe remain strong and as the dust from the election period settles the government is increasingly looking towards attracting international investors as a means of boosting further economic recovery in the country.’

 

We at the Vigil want to show them that they are wrong in thinking the ‘dust’ from the stolen elections is settling. We have asked well-known people in Zimbabwe what they think of the delegation. Here are their comments:

  • ‘There can be no real progress here until they recognise certain fundamentals – international recognition (more than the lifting of restrictions on a few individuals), the rule of law, respect for property rights, indigenisation (another form of asset grabbing). At the same time we must deal with corruption at all levels – but start at the top.’

  • ‘In local business there is huge capital flight at the moment because business confidence is so incredibly low.  Companies continue to close.  It will take more than a few sweet words from some ZANU businessmen in Chatham House to convince anyone that any investment in Zimbabwe will be safe when we look at the current laws, the past history and the policies and practices of the present!’   

  • ‘As long as there is an absence of the rule of law and property rights, and while threats hang over foreign businesses, investors will not come. It’s obvious. No-one trusts the Mugabe government; not even the Chinese. Chinamasa looked pretty glum when China, like the IMF and the World Bank, first wanted to see clear cut and credible recovery and repayment plans. Looking at the global economy, investment is shifting away from emerging markets – even South Africa, where growth in slowing. So what chance does Zimbabwe have?’

     

    Our contacts referred us to recent comments by the former Finance Minister Tendai Biti. Here’s what he said about Zanu PF’s economic policies: ‘The biggest problem with Zanu PF is that they don’t understand money and the economy. They are functionally illiterate. They think that money grows on trees. People just believe in spending, spending, spending. It’s like a broiler chicken. The broiler just eats. It doesn’t know why it’s eating. It eats itself to death. It’s consumption for the sake of consumption. It’s oblivious of where the food is coming from. It just eats 24 hours a day. So they have got a broiler chicken syndrome, they are oblivious kuti mari inobva kupi.’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_biti-attacks-ailing-mugabe-warns-of-coup/ Biti attacks ailing Mugabe, warns of coup).

     

    As we are not allowed into the meeting, we suggest the following questions might be asked of the broiler chickens:

  • For details of the Chatham House demo on Tuesday 28th January see ‘Events and Notices’ section.

  • The Vigil was caught short by sudden torrential rain and we had to hastily put up our tarpaulin. Thanks to Ishmael Makina, Nkosikona Tshabangu and Kelvin Kamupira who got soaked to the skin putting up the tarpaulin and Bridget Zhakata and Shylette Chipangura who stood guard at our table in the pouring rain.

  • Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu appears in a video discussing the film ‘The King and the People’ about the absolute monarchy of King Mswati of Swaziland (http://www.watershed.co.uk/dshed/king-and-people-directors-qa).

  • See below for the last quarter summary of the 2013 Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights (October – December).

     

    Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013: October – December 

    Saturday 5th October: Up to a quarter of Zimbabwe’s people have fled the country – among them the best educated. Reading the Herald one can see the disastrous result of this exodus. ‘Elementary studies of economics inform us that production occurs in three levels which are primary, secondary and tertiary and of the late, the fourth level which is quaternary’, goes one article The writer says a ‘paradigm shift’ in Zimbabwe is ‘the panacea that will lift our nation from the doldrums of quagmire that the economic forces of this age have relegated us to’ . . . The reality is that the flight from Zimbabwe looks, if anything, like increasing as NoPresident Mugabe reneges on his election promises of pay rises, investment in industry etc and the economy moves from primary to secondary and tertiary then ‘quaternary’.

    Saturday 12th October: With the UN Secretary-General’s congratulations on his election ‘victory’ ringing in his ears, NoPresident Mugabe ventured to join us at the Vigil as we marked our 11th anniversary. Played by Vigil stalwart Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing our Mugabe mask, he carried a poster reading ‘Thanks UN’. Betrayed by SADC, the AU, the EU and now the UN, Zimbabweans have been abandoned to our fate. How the diaspora can help the people at home was discussed at a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil. The forum was addressed by Ephraim Tapa, Vigil founder member, who is to chair the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ All-Stakeholders’ Conference which is to be held in London on 24th October.

    Saturday 19th October: The Vigil’s initiative in arranging a diaspora conference in London has met with predictable abuse by Zanu PF trolls prowling the internet. We think every CIO agent – when they are not out beating people up – spends his office hours in cyber disinformation in the relentless war against truth. Zanu PF’s latest flatulent blueprint  Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) is no asset as far as we can see. It says: ‘Government would among other things undertake a national blitz to rehabilitate water supplies, sewerage systems, roads, health facilities and schools in all urban centres, institute measures to improve processes at the Registrar General’s Office by December 2013 . . .’ Fat chance!

    Thursday 24th October: Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe was a keynote speaker at the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ conference. Kate deplored international acceptance of the outcome of the sham elections. She said it was up to the diaspora to create a powerful voice to make the UK government listen – particularly about sanctions when they come up for debate in the EU in February. She said the diaspora had a responsibility to let the world know what was happening in Zimbabwe and went on to describe the Vigil as ‘a shining light these long years’ and added ‘you have been right when politicians have been wrong’. The conference was attended by about 70 people and messages of support came from the US, South Africa, Australia and Zimbabwe.

    Saturday 26th October:  The Vigil is sending a note to the Home Office asking whether they rejoice in the presence in the UK of London-based Bishop Climate Irungu, ‘founder of World Conquerors Christian Centre’, who said ‘the people of Zimbabwe rejoiced in their current leadership’. We advise the Home Office to also look into Spirit Embassy founder Prophet Angel who says he’s worth more than $60 million and has interests in the United Kingdom. ‘Money makes me happy and I have lots of it.’ he said to thunderous applause.

    Saturday 2nd November: The Zimbabwean diaspora speaking from London has rejected the 31st July elections as rigged and has demanded new elections under international supervision after promised reforms have been made. It wants the opposition in Zimbabwe to resist Mugabe at every step and challenge him on issues such as the diaspora vote, dual nationality and the position of so-called aliens. These decisions were made at a meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil. In attendance were members of a task force nominated at the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ Conference to carry forward the work of the conference.

    Friday 8th November: Police were called to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, otherwise known as Chatham House, when a group of Vigil supporters staged a demonstration protesting at the recognition given to Mugabe’s visiting Tourism Minister (and farm looter) Walter Mzembi. Mzembi had been invited to speak during his visit to London for an international tourism conference. African diplomats in dapper black suits and shiny black shoes glared poison at the demonstrators as they went into the venue. Soon afterwards a police van arrived and a policeman went into Chatham House. He quickly re-emerged and gave us a friendly wave before driving off. (We had arranged police permission for the protest.) 1 – 0 to the Vigil.

    Saturday 9th November: It is already clear that manipulation by the mercenary Israeli company Nikuv was a decisive factor in Mugabe’s ‘victory’. The Vigil is sending an open letter to the Israeli Prime Minister and the people of Israel: For the last 33 years Zimbabweans have been fighting to end the Mugabe dictatorship so they too can enjoy the fruits of democracy and good governance. It is wholly unacceptable that their hopes for a better future were once again ruthlessly dashed because Mugabe had help from an Israeli company Nikuv. Nikuv corrupted the voters roll so that nearly one million voters were denied the right to vote on election-day. It is no exaggeration to say it was Nikuv which delivered election victory to Mugabe considering the tyrant's winning margin was one million.

    Saturday 16th November: At a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil, it was agreed to approach Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for advice on legal options open to us to challenge the rigged elections. Also discussed were calls by some MDC leaders for the lifting of the targeted measures against Mugabe cronies on the grounds that these sanctions provided a fig-leaf for Mugabe’s mis-governance. The Vigil’s view is that sanctions should be continued and indeed extended to include those who rigged the elections.

    Saturday 23rd November: As winter closes in on us at the Vigil, we are in despair at Zimbabwe’s hopeless government. We read that MDC MP Eddie Cross says that nothing is being done to tackle corruption. He says: ‘I cannot think of a single Minister (perhaps one and even he is questionable) that is not guilty of gross corruption.’

    Friday 29th November: We are grateful to Wilbert Mukori for representing us at a conference in Holland organised by the Zimbabwe Europe Network. He said it was clear the EU wanted to lift sanctions and they were prepared to accept the elections even though they know they were rigged.

    Saturday 30th November: The Vigil is launching a campaign to alert British MPs and other opinion formers to the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe as the EU moves to lift the remaining targeted measures. Supporters are being asked to send the following letter to MPs etc: Zimbabweans in the UK are grateful for the sanctuary we have been given here in these desperate days for our homeland . . . Our hopes of change were dashed in July when the elections were stolen with the help of the Chinese and the Israeli ballot-rigging company, Nikuv, ending the four year coalition with the Movement for Democratic Change . . . The end of the restraining MDC influence on the government and the exposure of the hollowness of Zanu PF election promises threaten to lead to a new lurch to a North Korean-type siege mentality. 

    Saturday 7th December: As we mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, the Vigil was shocked to learn that the UN has apparently agreed to divert some of the aid  going to help Zimbabwe’s starving people to help instead pay for the illegal regime’s pie-in-the-sky economic development plan. The Vigil is sending an open letter to the UK’s International Development Secretary: We appeal to the UK government not to allow any of its aid to be diverted to prop up the Mugabe regime and, in particular, we call on it to exercise vigilance to stop aid being denied to opponents of the Mugabe regime . .  Vigil supporters joined mourners outside the nearby South African High Commission. We recall how when Mandela visited London in 2008 we confronted him with a banner saying: ‘Mandela ignores Mugabe's terror. Shame / Mandela speak out. Support a free Zimbabwe’.  That very evening he spoke of a failure of leadership in Zimbabwe.

    Saturday 14th December: The man hired by South Africa to interpret the Mandela memorial proceedings to the deaf turns out to be a schizophrenic fraud. His gestures were apparently as meaningless as those of President Zuma, whom the Vigil remembers as a man who betrayed his promise to deliver free and fair elections to Zimbabweans.

    Saturday 21st December: The Vigil welcomes signs that the MDC is emerging from its catatonic state following the stolen elections. Five months after we at the Vigil demanded new elections the MDC has now come on board and demanded a rerun. In an end of year statement Tsvangirai said: ‘The lesson from the July 31 poll is that all reforms, including security sector and media reforms, that were agreed to under the GPA are mandatory’. Hallelujah!

    Saturday 28th December: We appeal to western embassies in Harare to urgently investigate new reports that food aid is being refused to opposition supporters.  This comes despite the announcement that the UK is pouring more money into feeding 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: 32 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Chatham House demo against visiting Zimbabwe businessmen: from 4-5 pm on Tuesday 28th January outside Chatham House, 10 St James's Square, London, SW1Y 4LE. Nearest underground: Piccadilly Circus. Directions: walk south down Regent Street then almost immediately right into Jermyn Street. Take the second road on the left, Duke of York Street which leads into St James’s Square. Chatham House is on the corner of Duke of York Street and St James’s Square. If you can’t find the venue meet outside Lillywhites, the big sports shop at Piccadilly Circus between 3.30 and 3.50 pm. There will be someone there to direct you to Chatham House.

  • ROHR Central London meeting. Saturday 1st February from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 8th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see ZAF entry above.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson.

  • 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.

  • Facebook pages:

  • Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). For more information about this organisation, check: www.zunde.org.

 
Mugabe finished – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th January 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 19 January 2014 15:52

When the Spanish dictator Franco died in 1975 the authorities in Madrid were less than franko about his condition. It was some time before his demise was announced and by then he had enough preservative pumped into his body to keep it stiff until the second coming.

 

More locally, the Vigil recalls that when President Mutharika of Malawi died a couple of years ago, his corpse – resuscitation tubes attached – was flown to South Africa for supposed ‘life-saving treatment’ while his supporters frantically tried to fix the succession.

 

Are we seeing a similar charade being played out in Harare? The Vigil doesn’t know whether Mugabe is dead or incapacitated. But it’s obvious that he’s finished.

 

The 89 year old, looking ‘frail and tired’, flew off after Christmas ostensibly on a month-long holiday, but really to consult his doctor in Singapore. His prostate cancer had spread and he had already lived years longer than the doctor predicted.

 

The Zanu PF source Baba Jukwa then reported that Mugabe had collapsed. The state media said he had cut short his holiday and flown home but that he was ‘as fit as a fiddle’. Some fiddle!   A photograph showed him being greeted by Vice-President Mujuru at the airport. But people immediately noticed that the picture was identical to one taken a year ago when Mugabe flew back from a trip to Addis Ababa.

 

The real scandal is that Zanu PF put a sick old man up for election when he had nothing to offer Zimbabwe. His work is done: he has bankrupted Zimbabwe, turning it from one of the most prosperous countries in Africa to one of the world’s poorest. It’s time now for ‘Heroes’ Acre.

 

Other points

  • A meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil discussed plans to stage a demonstration in Brussels next month when the EU decides whether to renew the targeted sanctions against Mugabe. It was agreed to run a petition to the EU demanding that there should be no recognition of the illegitimate Mugabe regime. Disappointment was expressed at the failure of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to respond to our request for advice on a legal challenge to the stolen elections. We were pleased to be joined by Eldridge Culverwell, an activist from the Vigil’s early days who is now working with Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). See ‘Events and Notices for their website. Among others who attended were Wilbert Mukori who came down from Manchester. It was good to welcome back political commentator Dr Clifford Mashiri.

  • We are glad SW Radio Africa has put a link to our website on their website’s front page.

  • Vigil supporter, Joseph Chivayo who comes down from Derby on the 5 0’clock bus to be with us, features in the Derby Telegraph about his work for the community (see: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/asylum-seeker-helping-people-streets-Derby/story-20371296-detail/story.html – The asylum seeker who is helping people on the streets of Derby in his local newspaper). 

  • Thanks to Bridget Zhakata, Patricia Masamba (who climbed up and down to put up the high banners) and Helen Rukambiro who arrived early to set up the Vigil.

  • See below for the third quarter summary of the 2013 Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights (July – September).

     

    Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013: July – September  

    Saturday 6th July: Someone defined stupidity as doing the same thing again and expecting a different result. The reverse could also be true: intelligence could be defined as doing the same thing and expecting the same result. On this basis the MDCs are stupid and Zanu PF intelligent. Since it’s now obvious that the elections have already been thoroughly rigged and that none of the long-promised reforms will be implemented, the Vigil could challenge Tsvangirai and Ncube to honour their threats to boycott the elections. But it is clear there is no chance they will do this.

    Friday 12th July: A petition calling for free and fair elections was presented to the Zimbabwe Electoral Offices and the Home Affairs Ministry in Harare by a large group of activists from the Vigil’s sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR).

    Saturday 13th July: The Vigil sent a letter to President Zuma in the hope of putting some spine into SADC: ’President Mugabe has made it clear that he will not respect the requirements of the recent SADC meeting in Maputo and has continued to obstruct any attempt to implement the reforms he undertook to make under the Global Political Agreement. Furthermore, there is clear evidence that the elections on 31st July are already being systematically rigged.’

    Thursday 18th July: The Vigil / ROHR had a meeting with the Zimbabwe desk of the British Foreign Office and we gave them our analysis of the situation at home. Vigil founder member and President of ROHR Ephraim Tapa said our delegation was dismayed that concern seems to have shifted from ‘free and fair elections’ to ‘credible elections’.

    Saturday 20th July: While SADC met in Maputo, a demanding Mugabe (played by Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask) kept all of us at the Vigil hard at it stuffing ballot boxes for the elections on 31st July. Unusually considerate, he saved us a bit of work by marking a cross against his name before handing out the ballot papers from a seemingly inexhaustible supply. After the Vigil we gathered at the India Club for our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum.   Ephraim talked about the rigging of the elections and said nothing could be expected from SADC, which was just a trade union of presidents.

    Saturday 27th July: With only four days to go before the elections, the Vigil ‘commends’ President Mugabe on his ‘credible’ re-election for another 5 year term. Despite overwhelming evidence that the elections on 31st July are being rigged, the SADC Summit on 20th July had four ‘commendations’ and a ‘credible’ in its brief four-point communique released after meeting to consider complaints by the MDC about the election arrangements.President Mugabe (again in the form of Fungayi in our Mugabe mask) was again at the Vigil to stuff ballot boxes. He had with him two large black bags marked ‘Nikuv’, the Israeli company being paid millions to help the Zanu PF vote riggers.

    Wednesday 31st July: As votes were cast at home, the Vigil staged a six hour demonstration in protest at the rigging of the vote. About 70 Vigil supporters were joined by members of Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and representatives of the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party. The protest was covered by a variety of news organisations who showed particular interest in the Vigil’s depiction of how Mugabe was stealing the elections. Fungayi (in our Mugabe mask) was filmed stuffing ballot boxes with votes from large black bags labeled Nikuv. During the afternoon Vigil supporters moved en masse around the corner for a boisterous demonstration outside the South African High Commission, where the following letter was delivered: ‘Dear President Zuma: Zimbabwean exiles and supporters deplore the refusal of President Mugabe to ensure the elections are free and fair. There is overwhelming evidence that the poll has been comprehensively rigged and we have no confidence that the results will reflect the will of the people. The Zimbabwe Vigil calls on the Southern African Development Community to organise new elections in keeping with the agreed roadmap and SADC election guidelines.

    Saturday 3rd August: After the predictable failure of the MDC in the elections, Morgan Tsvangirai must consider his position. The custom in most countries is that a losing candidate stands aside – particularly if he has lost several elections.  The Vigil believes that Tsvangirai must take responsibility for a succession of decisions which have been fatal to the opposition in Zimbabwe.  Here are a few of the MDC decisions which have puzzled us, as we have clearly recorded in our diaries: 1) The mad split over the Senate, 2) Pulling out of the Presidential run-off in 2008, 3) Joining in the flawed GNU, 4) Failure to pull out of government when Mugabe immediately disregarded the GPA, 5)Being distracted by the ludicrous 4-year-long constitution-making exercise, which produced an abortion of a document when the MDC should have spent the time concentrating on getting a level playing field  for elections, 6) Allowing vital roadmap issues to be delayed until they were impossible to implement, 7) Agreeing to take part in the latest elections when none of the MDC or SADC requirements had been met.

    Saturday 10th August: There has been a call in London for a conference of the Zimbabwean diaspora to discuss the way forward following the rigged elections. The call came from Ephraim Tapa who said the MDC project had run its course and Zimbabweans were looking to the diaspora to come up with an alternative programme to save Zimbabwe. the Vigil was attended by 100 Zimbabweans from all parts of the UK, including members of the MDC.

    Saturday 17th August: Supporters of the Vigil and associated groups have agreed to arrange an all-stakeholder meeting in London in October to give the diaspora an opportunity to discuss ways of working together to restore Zimbabwe. The decision was made at the Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil. The Forum was addressed by Dewa Mavhinga, Senior Researcher for Africa with Human Rights Watch and a former regional co-ordinator for Southern Africa of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. He was in Zimbabwe for the elections and gave us a firsthand account of how they were rigged. Mr Mavhinga, who has had meetings with the leadership of most SADC countries, said they had made it clear that, as long as the violence of 2008 was avoided, they would rubberstamp the election outcome.

    Saturday 24th August: The Vigil launched our new petition calling on the UK and the European Union to follow the lead of the United States and continue sanctions. The petition reads:Following the rigged elections in Zimbabwe, we urge the European Union to re-impose the targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his cronies. We further call on the EU to suspend government aid to all Southern African Development Community countries until they abide by their commitment to uphold human rights in Zimbabwe.’ Ephraim Tapa said: ‘Altogether the EU gives billions of dollars each year to pay for the misgovernment and corruption of Southern Africa. Why? Let them look East for aid.’ A South Korean film crew spent the afternoon interviewing several of us about the situation in Zimbabwe.

    Saturday 31st August: The Zimbabwean diaspora is puzzled that a month has passed since the stolen elections and a seemingly punch-drunk opposition has given no sign of a strategy to confront Mugabe, let alone stage demonstrations against Zanu PF’s blatant chicanery. We at the Vigil are sorry that the MDC did not decide to boycott parliament to make a powerful statement to the world about the election rigging – especially necessary since the puzzling withdrawal of the MDC’s legal challenge against the outcome. Mugabe promised that civil servants and others would be given pay rises. We urge the MDC to support the legitimate demands of workers for this promise to be honoured.

    Saturday 7th September: After the Vigil many supporters went on to our Zimbabwe Action Forum at which we discussed plans for an all-stakeholders’ meeting of the diaspora to be held in London. It was proposed that the diaspora should be invited to coalesce around ideas such as: 1) Scrapping indigenisation and encouraging foreign direct investment, 2) Giving freehold title to farmers to enable them to get bank loans or sell their properties, 3) Restructuring the diamond mines, 4) Privatising the parastatals, 5) Requiring senior elected and non-elected leaders to disclose their assets, 6) Replacing the judiciary and reforming the police and armed forces.

    Saturday 14th September: A pompom from the Vigil for NoViolet Bulawayo who has been chosen as one of the finalists for the prestigious Man Booker prize for best novel of the year written by someone from the Commonwealth (still including Zimbabwe!) NoViolet, whose book is titled ‘We Need New Names’, gave an interview to the UK’s Guardian newspaper about a visit home in April – the first time she had been back for thirteen years. It is clear that she shares our fears as we face the consequences of another stolen election. ‘It was a strange country,’ Bulawayo told the Guardian. ‘I went there in search of the Zimbabwe I knew and it was a shock: power cuts, water cuts, just driving down the streets the potholes were amazing, and 80% of the population not working. Just seeing the desperation, wherever you went, people were struggling. That was a picture of the country that I never knew.’ For all Zanu PF’s big talk, a bleak picture is painted in the latest economic report on Zimbabwe by the World Bank.

    Saturday 21st September: While we sang ‘Ishe Komberera Africa / Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica’ outside the Embassy at the end of the Vigil, Zanu-PF supporters in the UK were attending ‘official victory Celebrations’ elsewhere in London. Zanu-PF supporters continue to claim asylum in the UK on the fraudulent basis of political persecution in Zimbabwe. The Vigil will continue to expose those who do this. We believe they should be sent home to pressure NoPresident Mugabe to clear up the mess there which has made it unpleasant for even Zanu-PF people to live in.

    Saturday 28th September: The Vigil was glad to hear from Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, that she is planning to attend our conference on the future of Zimbabwe to be held on 24th October. Kate welcomed this initiative, agreeing there was general despair at the situation following the stolen elections. We are now sending out invitations to people and groups who we think might be interested in sharing their views on how Zimbabweans can work through this despair to a better future.

     

    See next week’s diary for the final part of the 2013 Vigil Highlights.

     

    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:

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st February 2014 from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 25th January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Birmingham branch general meeting. Saturday 25th January from 1:30 – 5 pm. Venue: Malika House, 81 George Street, Lozells, Birmingham B19 1NS. Contact: Thandiwe Gwarumba  07503512308, Janemary Mapfumo 07412310429, Tino Mashonganyika 07463272078 and Tecla Bandawe 07450507650.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see ZAF entry above.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 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:

  • Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). For more information about this organisation, check: www.zunde.org.

 
The noose tightens – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 11th January 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:57

With Mugabe’s return from his latest Asian holiday he will be able to celebrate his 90th birthday in some style. His office has been allocated $206 million in Chinamasa’s budget – nearly six times as much as he was given last year by Gono’s stingy lawyer Tendai Biti, when he had to restrict his foreign shopping trips to less than one a month. 

 

$200 million or so should cover his travel costs this year – after all it is more than the combined allocations for:

  • The Ministry of Industry and Commerce – $7.4 million

  • The Ministry of Energy and Power Development – £23.4 million

  • The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development – $8.6 million

  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development – $155.2 million

    (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_massive-jump-in-2014-budget-allocation-for-mugabe-s-office/  Massive jump in 2014 budget allocation for Mugabe ’s office).

     

    The Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha says his $7.4 million will pay for the day to day running of his ministry but not allow him to do anything. The Vigil thought that Zanu PF promised at the elections to revive industry, particularly in Bulawayo. And, for that matter, agriculture and energy as well . . .

     

    It must have come as sad news to Chinamasa that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have turned down his appeal for money to keep bankrupt Zimbabwe afloat. But he can always look East. For the starving millions in the rural areas, however, it is even sadder news that the World Food  Programme has failed to meet its fundraising target for Zimbabwe (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_food-situation-worsens-in-zimbabwe/Food Situation Worsens in Zimbabwe).  But judging by their miserly response to the plight of the Philippines after their devastating typhoon, the Vigil doubts that any appeal for Chinese help will be productive. Perhaps the starving should look instead to Mugabe’s $200 million of government money. But they shouldn’t hold their breath – if indeed they have any left.

     

    Other points

  • Our attendance was buoyed by people coming from a ROHR Executive Meeting held at our local headquarters, the nearby Strand Continental.

  • We were cheered to get a New Year message from Zimbabwean economist Dale Dore: ‘Well done, Vigil! Please send my best wishes to all your members who persevere so bravely, even when others have given up hope and when the future looks so bleak.’

  • We were pleased to hear from the Chickenshed Theatre about a planned national tour of Vigil supporter Christopher Maphosa’s biographical story ‘The Rain that Washes’. Members of the Vigil who have seen it can thoroughly recommend it. The itinerary follows:

  • Fri 17 & Sat 18 Jan – Ustinov Studios, Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET

  • Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY

  • Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD

  • Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ

  • Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD

    Booking details for individual venues and future dates can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson

  • Thanks to Rose Maponga, Dumi Tutani and Aivet Phiri for arriving early to help set up.

  • See below for the second part of the 2013 Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights (April – June).

     

    Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013: April – June

    Saturday 6th April: Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa, who has just returned from an undercover visit to Zimbabwe, says he believes the result of the referendum on a new constitution was rigged. Ephraim, a former leader of the Civil Service Employees Union, has not been home since he was given political asylum in the UK after being tortured and fleeing Zimbabwe in 2002.  Ephraim said ZEC’s report of an unprecedented high voter turnout was being disputed and its cooking of the figures was an indicator of things to come.

Wednesday 10th April: A Vigil delegation had a useful meeting with the Zimbabwe Desk at the UK Foreign Office. We told them that we expected rigged elections and Ephraim spoke of the tangible fear he detected in Zimbabwe. He predicted that disillusionment with the MDC would produce apathy during the elections. We were assured that the British government’s only aim was to see free and fair elections resulting in a government of the people’s choice. The Foreign Office expressed confidence in the facilitation of SADC.

Saturday 13th April: That prosecutors have now charged civil rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa with calling police ‘cockroaches’ shows an unexpected sensitivity. Mind you, the police do seem to be all over the place, scuttling away as soon as the light shines on them, only to regather in the dark. But their boss Patrick Chinamasa shows more than sensitivity. He says the UN cannot visit Zimbabwe to discuss funding the elections. To check if things are ok would, in his paranoid mind, be furthering the regime change agenda. The UN must instead just hand the money over.

Saturday 20th April: Waving a pistol at Vigil supporters, President Mugabe (played by Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask) appeared outside the Zimbabwe Embassy to mark Independence Day. Carrying a poster reading ’33 years in power’, he was beset by Zimbabwean exiles with rival placards such as: 33 years of oppression, 33 years of looting, 33 years of lawlessness and 33 years of rigged elections. Vigil supporters signed a letter to President Zuma drawing his attention to moves underway for massive vote rigging. After the Vigil, Ephraim Tapa joined us at the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum to talk about his time in Zimbabwe. He spoke of the daily hardships of the people living the ‘economy of the stomach’ and how when he visited people’s carefully kept homes in Harare their faces fell when he asked to use the toilet.

Saturday 27th April: We at the Vigil were glad to hear Morgan Tsvangirai insist that reforms laid out in the GPA must be implemented before the elections. But the Vigil wants him to go further and spell out that, if the reforms are not made, he will not take part.

Saturday 4th May: The scale of the challenge facing the opposition is becoming ever clearer as Zanu PF puts into action its well-practised plan to rig the vote. Eddie Cross, the MDC-T MP, says he expects a landslide victory. The Vigil can’t imagine an MDC victory with: a rigged voters’ roll, obstacles to voter registration, intimidation of MDC voters, corrupt electoral commission, clampdown on civil society organisations, politicised security forces, biased judges, unreformed media, refusal to allow UN scrutiny, limits on election observers and total non-co-operation with SADC.

Saturday 11th May: The British newspaper the Guardian runs a full page on Zimbabwe by David Smith reporting from Harare. He writes: ‘The Zimbabwean president will retain power in this year's elections through fair means or foul; the poll will be relatively peaceful and deemed "credible" by the west; then sanctions will be lifted against Mugabe and his inner circle, ushering him back in from the cold.’ The message from the Guardian is that the coming election must be accepted however flawed. The Vigil begs to disagree. We believe that SADC should stand by the Global Political Agreement it foisted on the MDC. And if it doesn’t the MDC should refuse to take part in the charade.

Saturday 18th May: South Africa must ‘go to hell with their treachery and leave us alone’ fulminates Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo. His tirade follows the ‘outrageous’ remarks by South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim who said that the MDC parties had ‘a legitimate argument’ in demanding further reforms before the elections.  The Vigil sent the following letter to President Zuma: On behalf of oppressed Zimbabweans we apologise for the insolent remarks by Zanu PF functionaries about the comments by Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim suggesting that Zanu PF should implement the GPA. We trust that South Africa will spell out to Zanu PF the consequences of a rigged election . . .

Saturday 25th May: ‘We are sorry and we pass our condolences to his family’ said MDC T MP for Mazowe Central Shepherd Mushonga. Who was the noble soul he was lamenting? None other than Elias Kanengoni, the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Organisation, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for the shooting of former Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi but was pardoned by Mugabe. The late lamented was also named by MDC T as one of the people responsible for the massacre of 14 party activists at Chaona village in Chiweshe in May 2008. The Vigil’s exasperation with this hypocrisy were prompted by a sycophantic television documentary on the Mugabe family made for the SABC by Dali Tambo, son of South African liberation hero Oliver Tambo. ‘Flowers, silver cutlery and a box of tissues adorn the spotless white tablecloth’ reports the British Guardian newspaper, which was given a preview of the programme. ‘Mum chortles’ as the first family tucks in . . . ‘You're very loving, you're kind, you're generous’, she gushes to the President . . .

Saturday 1st June: The Vigil applauds Tendai Biti’s promise that an MDC government will firmly support action on corruption. All public officials will be required to declare their assets every year. ‘Guys I have four underwear,’ he told SW Radio Africa. ‘Guys I’ve got four vests. Guys I’ve got four bras – size 46B.’ We would like to check next year if Mr Biti is still size 46B but, sadly, the Vigil doesn’t think it’s likely that the MDC will form the next government, having allowed themselves to be out-manoeuvred by Zanu PF for four years to the extent that there is no time left to ensure a level playing field for the elections that Zanu PF’s tame judges say must be held by the end of next month. The Zimbabwe Action Forum, at our fortnightly meeting after the Vigil, was told by Andy Moyse of the Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Project: ‘Zanu PF will control the elections as they have always done’.

Saturday 8th June: We disenfranchised Zimbabweans think that Zanu PF spokesman Gumbo can’t be serious in describing President Zuma’s advisor Lindiwe Zulu as ‘a mad woman’ for insisting on the promised reforms before elections. The Vigil hopes that Zuma will dismiss the decision of the aptly-named ‘con’court to order elections by the end of next month. No doubt the ‘mad woman’ will have informed him of the opinion of Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba that the ruling ‘defied logic’.

Saturday 15th June: We arrived at the Vigil generally pessimistic about the SADC summit in Maputo but before the day was out our lives faced transformation. ‘Good people, good, good people, it has been an incredible and unbelievable day’ Tendai Biti said on his Facebook page. ‘SADC rose to the occasion and scuttled the evil and Machiavellian machinations of the chaos faction of Zanu PF.’ Mr Biti said all President Zuma’s recommendations were adopted, including a demand that the Constitutional Court be requested to postpone elections for 14 days to enable reforms to be made. The security forces would be required to publicly affirm their commitment to the rule of law, SADC observers were to be deployed immediately and SADC representatives were to sit in JOMIC and not merely to receive reports as demanded by Zanu PF. 

Tuesday 18th June: About 20 Vigil supporters attended a meeting in London at which a new film was shown ‘Beatrice Mtetwa and the rule of law’. We were happy to be introduced to Beatrice, who said the new constitution would not of itself restore the rule of law. This would require full commitment by all parties. At present the voters’ roll was in a shambles and perpetrators of political violence were still at large. Even if changes were made now there was not enough time left to affect people on the ground.

Saturday 22nd June: After a brief ray of hope from the SADC Summit in Maputo, the week since then has seen prospects of free and fair elections again dimming as Zanu PF refuses to implement agreed reforms. The Vigil learns Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube were left kicking their heels at State House for three hours on Friday, waiting vainly for Mugabe to pitch up for a crucial meeting. What the Vigil would have liked to see from Tsvangirai and Ncube is a decision to present an ultimatum to Zanu PF and SADC: no reforms, no elections. The Vigil was joined by MDC members, as well as ROHR and Zimbabwe We Can supporters. Their signatures quickly filled pages of our newly-launched petition: ‘Zimbabweans in the diaspora and supporters call on political parties at home not to take part in the forthcoming elections unless Zanu PF implements the reforms demanded by SADC at its summit in Maputo on 15th June 2013. We believe that, unless these reforms are made, the results of the elections will not be credible’.

Thursday 27th June: Vigil supporters took part in a demonstration outside the Embassy to mark the fifth anniversary of the abortive presidential run-off. Centrepiece of the demonstration was a stark ‘tree of hope’ on which were hung messages wishing for free and fair and non-violent elections written on red paper roses by people who had called at our regular Saturday Vigil. The tree was then taken to Southwark Cathedral and installed there by the Sub-Dean, Canon Bruce Saunders, who led us in prayers for peace and justice in Zimbabwe.

Saturday 29th June: Regular supporter Peter Sidindi condemned African leaders for being taken in by Mugabe’s revolutionary posturing when he was exactly the opposite of a freedom fighter. Ephraim Tapa, leader of ROHR and the We Can Movement said that as from today we were without a parliament and without reforms ahead of the coming elections.

 

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:  50 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 18th January from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 18th January 2014 from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see entry above.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 25th January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 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:

Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). For more information about this organisation, check: www.zunde.org.
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