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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.

  • Facebook pages:

 
Zanu PF at Chatham House – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th April 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 April 2014 16:44

Zanu PF at Chatham House – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th April 2014

 

The Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, known as Chatham House, claims to be an objective and independent-minded think tank. It is nothing of the sort, judging by the Vigil’s experience of how it deals with Zimbabwe.

 

Chatham House misses no opportunity to give a platform for Mugabe’s propaganda. It has been happy to host, among others, the smarmy Zanu PF minister and part-time farm looter Walter Mzembi, who declared that Mugabe was misunderstood. Then there was the British academic Joseph Hanlon who said after an exhaustive few weeks’ research that land reform in Zimbabwe was a success (and that Mugabe was misunderstood). There followed a ZAnu PF business delegation who said, guess what? Mugabe is misunderstood!

 

Chatham House has just published a long report on Zimbabwe by Knox Chitiyo and Steve Kibble entitledZimbabwe’s International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery’. It comes as no surprise to the Vigil, given the involvement of Dr Chitiyo, that the report concludes that Mugabe is misunderstood. Dr Chitiyo is, after all, a former senior lecturer in History and War Studies at the University of Zimbabwe. So he should know.

 

The report betrays its bias from the outset: ‘A landslide victory by the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) in Zimbabwe’s elections in 2013 resulted in its comprehensive recapture of the state. The endorsement of the results by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Marketfor Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Union (AU) and the UN confirmed ZANU-PF’s grip on power. It also symbolized Zimbabwe’s re-admittance into the international community . . .’

 

The Vigil is not sure what the authors mean by ‘confirmed Zanu PF’s grip on power’ – rubber-stamped would be at least more literate. As for the assertion that this so-called endorsement ‘symbolized Zimbabwe’s re-admittance into the international community’ we at the Vigil scratched our heads over this. What on earth does it mean? Have they been welcomed back to the UN? We thought they had never been expelled. Have they been given money by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund? No they still owe them billions. The short answer is, like so much else in the report, nothing but dubious assertions rather than facts.

 

Along with Botswana, the Vigil is convinced that the elections were comprehensively rigged and that Zanu PF has no mandate to govern Zimbabwe. Who is Chatham House trying to fool? We hope to have an opportunity to ask them. Chitiyo is to take part in a discussion on the report at Chatham House on 14 May. The Vigil was interested to note that he is to be joined by Dr Miles Tendai, lecturer in African History and Politics at Oxford – conveniently another Zanu PF supporter who also believes that Mr Mugabe is misunderstood.  (Attendance is by invitation only. You can apply to go to the meeting through this link: http://www.chathamhouse.org/events/view/199120).

 

A Zimbabwean journalist based in the UK, Makusha Mugabe, notes the naïve tenor of the report: ‘The recommended international engagement, including removal of remaining sanctions and targeted measures on President Mugabe and his wife and on defence equipment, cannot happen if it is contingent on improvement of the governance and human rights situation, because the violations are directly related to power retention. Without the ill-governance and the human rights violations Zanu (PF) would not retain power . . .‘ For the full article, check: Chatham House Zimbabwe Report: Much Ado About Nothing - http://www.changezimbabwe.com/index.php/news-mainmenu-2/1-latest/5001-chatham-house-zimbabwe-report-much-ado-about-nothing . You can access the full report via this article.

 

Other points

  • Vigil supporter Wilbert Mukori led the Vigil’s complaint to the BBC about its recent fawning TV interview with Mugabe. We are awaiting their response (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_mugabe-bbc-interview-an-insult-to-suffering-zimbabweans/Mugabe BBC interview an insult to suffering Zimbabweans).

  • As we mentioned at our last Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) on 12th April, we will be discussing at ZAF on 3rd May forming a steering committee to carry forward the diaspora’s engagement with the emerging new political force in Zimbabwe following the breakup of MDC T.

  • This meeting will also be discussing sending a delegation to the Home Office about Zimbabwean asylum issues. We are particularly concerned about reports of the bullying attitude of Home Office case workers.

  •  Thanks to Helen Rukimbiro and Fungayi Mabhunu for coming at the start to help set up.

     

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

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 32 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 3rd May from 6.15 pm. This meeting will discuss sending a delegation to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to present a petition on the asylum issue. It will also form a steering committee to carry forward the diaspora’s engagement with the emerging new political force in Zimbabwe. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • ROHR Executive Meeting. Saturday 3rd May at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. For directions see ZAF entry above.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 3rd May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

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

  • 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:

 
Craven Europe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th April 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 21 April 2014 20:40

As Zimbabwe marked 34 years of independence amid deepening hopelessness, the Vigil received a letter from the European Union which confirmed our worst fears about their pusillanimous policy towards Mugabe.

 

We had put the following simple question to Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief: We have read your statement on EU-Zimbabwe relations and are surprised at your comment that there has been progress in Zimbabwe. We Zimbabweans forced into exile closely follow events at home and have seen no progress whatsoever. President Ian Khama of Botswana supports our view that the July elections were rigged by Mugabe. The new constitution is not being observed, as the recent beating up of peaceful demonstrators confirms. There has been no improvement in the economy and instead we have official admission of widespread corruption. We ask you: What is the good news from Zimbabwe that the EU uses to justify the suspension of targeted measures against the Mugabe regime?’

 

In their reply to our letter the EU cannot think of any progress beyond the generally peaceful manner in which the 2013 elections were conducted’ – no matter that there was overwhelming evidence that the elections were massively rigged, as President Khama of Botswana believes. It’s rather like commending the generally peaceful manner in which the Nazis gassed millions of Jews.

 

The EU letter says: ‘Normalising the relationship with the government will enable the EU to play a stronger role in supporting the return to economic stability, improving the democratic environment, rule of law, respect for human rights, and the living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans.’ We ask: how?

 

Despite the EU being the biggest aid donor to Zimbabwe Mugabe recently said that Europe has an ‘evil heart’. His hatred of the West was again expressed in a fawning BBC interview. The cut and paste programme was a disgrace to the BBC, making little effort to show the conditions to which Zimbabweans have been reduced (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0404bjf – 7 days left to watch).

 

The Vigil believes Europe’s aid money would be better spent in promoting desperately needed change in Zimbabwe – not in propping up this geriatric mafia which will never relinquish power unless it is forced to. (For the full text of the EU letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/582-letter-from-the-eu.)

 

Others points

  • People are getting desperate for change in Zimbabwe. One of our supporters, Erick Eluwasi, voices this in an article on our campaigns page (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/581-zimbabwe-time-for-uprising-t4u).  He is not alone with these views.

  • We were sorry to hear that Vigil supporter Cephas Moswoswa was in hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery.

  • Thanks to Ishmael Makina, Bridget Zhakata, Sihle Sibanda and Fungayi Mabhunu who came 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: 28 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Middlesbrough Branch general meeting. Saturday 26th April from 12 – 4 pm. Venue: Humanah CIC Unit 5, BBC Broadcasting House, Brentnall Street, Middlesbrough TS1 5JA. For more information please contact: Masimba Musodza (Chairman) 07581887359, Xoliso Sithole (Treasurer) 07449005447, Ndumiso Ncube (Organising Secretary) 07448522328.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 3rd May 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 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 3rd 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 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:

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Vigil welcomes new path – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th April 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 14 April 2014 09:46

The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF), gathering after the Vigil, offered support to people at home seeking a new political path as the situation there continues to worsen. The meeting follows recent talks in Harare that Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa had with some leading politicians.

 

During a lively debate, it was noted that the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition originally included the MDC but under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai the MDC withdrew its support because we were critical of some of its decisions. For our part, we believe that in a democracy you have an obligation to be critical when you disagree.

 

The following resolution was passed: ‘The Vigil notes with great interest the developments in MDC-T. The Vigil will work with any organisation whose aims are compatible with our mission statement to secure free and fair elections and end human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, while maintaining our own identity.’

 

A second resolution was also approved expressing concern at the growing number of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers being sent home at a time when the Zimbabwean economy is collapsing.

 

It was decided that the next ZAF meeting on 3rd May will discuss sending a delegation to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to present a petition on the asylum issue. It would also form a steering committee to carry forward the diaspora’s engagement with the emerging new political force in Zimbabwe.

 

Our approach to this engagement would be along the lines of the resolutions passed at our Restore Zimbabwe conference in London on 24th October last year as follows: ‘The conference:

 

Rejects the 31st July elections as rigged

2.     Calls on the diaspora to unite in demanding new elections

3.     Condemns SADC for not ensuring the GPA was implemented

4.     Appeals to the AU to revisit its approach the Zimbabwe crisis

5.     Urges South Africa not to support the Mugabe regime

6.     Advises the EU to continue the targeted sanctions against Mugabe and to expand them to include judges and officials of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission who have demonstrated bias for Zanu PF

7.     Demands the Zimbabwean opposition resist Mugabe at every step

8.     Asks the UK government not to send home failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers.’

 

The British government has expressed concern at the corruption in Zimbabwe. Their comment came in a letter to the Vigil in reply to one we had written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to boycott the recent EU / Africa Summit in Brussels because Mugabe had been invited (for text of the letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/578-text-of-letter-from-fco-742014).

 

In the event neither man went to the meeting. Mugabe stayed away, saying it was because Grace was refused a visa. Mr Cameron was represented by his Foreign Secretary William Hague.

 

The letter to the Vigil from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the UK was supporting efforts to tackle corruption in Zimbabwe through a number of initiatives run by the Department for International Development, including supporting access to independent media ‘to facilitate public demand for transparency, accountability and integrity in Zimbabwean society’. The Vigil hopes that this could include support for SW Radio Africa which has been a beacon for people in Zimbabwe deprived of objective news and which is facing funding problems.

 

The FCO letter also spoke of serious concern ‘about the significant weaknesses identified during the 2013 elections and the lack of transparency identified by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU), and domestic observation missions, which call into doubt the credibility of the elections’. It continued ‘We believe that significant improvements in the electoral process are required along the lines proposed by international and domestic observers, if future elections are to be both credible and transparent’.

 

The FCO letter makes clear that the situation in Zimbabwe is unacceptable yet the UK Home Office seems to be stepping up the deportation of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers. How can there be so little communication between two government ministries? This is a point that we plan to make to the Home Office.

 

Thanks to Bridget Zhakata, Nobukhosi Moyo and Patricia Masamba who arrived early to help set up the Vigil.

 

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

 

FOR THE RECORD: 40 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

 

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Meeting – Saturday 19th April at 12 noon. The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 3rd May 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • ‘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:

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Graceless Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th April 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 06 April 2014 13:26

Our Mugabe mask got another outing at an EU / Africa Summit when the Vigil demonstrated in Brussels on Wednesday against the EU’s craven invitation to Mugabe to attend the meeting despite being ‘the last man standing’ on the sanctions list.

 

The mask was first ‘unmasked’ in 2007 when a large group of Vigil supporters demonstrated in Lisbon against the EU’s decision to allow Mugabe to attend the Summit there.

 

The EU must have congratulated itself when Mugabe didn’t pitch up for the Brussels meeting, complaining that the invitation did not extend to Grace. The EU rightly reckoned that Africa would ignore Mugabe’s demand to boycott the Summit because of the graceless invitation.

 

Zanu PF seems to have realised that it overplayed its hand. It knows that Zuma, in his own interests, will side with Mugabe but the rest of Africa has clearly decided that there is a limit to how far senile posturing can take us. Mugabe must change his own nappy.

 

It was left to the Vigil to represent Zimbabwe in Brussels, which must have dismayed the scores of Mugabe flunkeys on big expense allowances who normally infest his foreign trips like fleas on a goat. David Kadzutu and Peter Sidindi of our partner organisation Zimbabwe Yes We Can took turns to don the Mugabe mask and enlighten the world about Mugabe’s vision: poverty, disease and corruption. They passed around our posters reading: ‘No to vote-rigger Mugabe’, ‘EU / AU supports dictator Mugabe’, ‘EU / AU supports Zimbabwe’s illegal regime’ and ‘No to AU dictators’.

 

The ‘No to AU dictators’ poster was particularly popular with the hundreds of Mauritanian protesters we were grouped with who showed great interest in our cause. There were migrants from all over Africa demonstrating at the conference and groups were all given two-hour time slots. Judging from the leaflets we found when we arrived, our predecessors had included Rwandans protesting against their ‘dictator Paul Kagame’.

 

We were inspired by the endurance of Vigil supporter Ruwimbo Melody Tembo who left Stafford at 1.30 am to catch the coach from Birmingham at 3 am, arriving in Brussels at 5 pm and only getting back to Birmingham at 12.30 pm the next afternoon, finally getting home at 1.30 pm – 36 hours on the go for a two-hour demo!

 

We were glad that Ruwimbo and the other participants in the Brussels excursion were able to attend the Vigil today, and most of them went on to a meeting down the Strand at the India Club for our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). More than 30 people attended and heard Ephraim Tapa report on a recent visit back home during which he had discussions with embassies in Harare. More importantly, he met with prominent opposition leaders who suggested co-operation with the diaspora represented by the Vigil coalition. There was a lively discussion of this at the ZAF meeting and it was agreed that we would bring the next meeting forward to next Saturday (12th April) to enable us to reach decisions on this overture.

 

 

 

 

Other points

  • Fungayi Mabhunu reported that a friend had visited police headquarters in Harare and found them looking at pictures of the Vigil including some showing a Vigil supporter wearing our Mugabe mask. This sort of information is quite useful to present to the Home Office when they ask why Zimbabwean Vigil activists cannot be sent home.

  • We were pleased to be joined by supporters we have not seen for a while: Josie Zhuga, Louisa Musaerenge and Caroline Witts on her bi-monthly trip from Exeter.

  • Thanks to Chipo Musodza and Joseph Chivayo who were there at the start of the Vigil to help set up.

  • Statistic of the week: apparently 7,700 people are employed by the Indigenisation Ministry (see: Chinamasa in wage bill Catch-22 – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_chinamasa-in-wage-bill-catch-22/). No wonder the country is bankrupt.

  • Ominous report of the week: the Israeli-ballot-rigging company Nikuv has not only moved into the King George VI army barracks in Harare but has apparently ordered 7 container loads of ballot-rigging material for the 2018 elections (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_shock-2018-vote-claims/ – Shock 2018 vote claims).

     

    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: 64 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 12th April from 6.15 pm. NB: this forum has been moved forward a week to continue important discussion of the 5/04/2014 ZAF. 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Meeting – Saturday 19th April at 12 noon. The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ‘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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