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‘We are Zimbabwe’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th December 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 December 2016 19:58

‘L’etat c’est moi’ (I am the state) was a remark by King Louis XIV that reflected the despotic regime before the French Revolution, when the people lived in poverty, lorded over by a rich aristocracy.

Now we hear the same thing from the Zanu PF elite. ‘We are Zimbabwe’ was the response of Grace Mugabe’s son and son-in-law to protests when they illegally seized three properties in Harare. In effect: ‘you can do nothing about it. We can do whatever we want.’

Court documents about Grace’s purchase of a $1.3 million diamond ring last year – said to be a wedding anniversary present from Mugabe – showed the complete contempt with which the Mugabe mafia regard the rule of law.

The properties belonging to a Lebanese diamond dealer were seized in a dispute after Grace decided she didn’t want the ring after all. Perhaps the diamond was too small.

Among the questions we want an answer to are: how was Grace able to send the $1.3million to Dubai from her Harare bank despite exchange controls? When she decided she didn’t want the ring, how could she so confidently order the repayment to be deposited in a Dubai bank account rather than returned to Harare – when this amounted to illegal externalisation of money?

This episode will not amuse people queuing for hours outside banks trying to withdraw their own money to buy food. But it will show them why there are no dollars in circulation. Perhaps they must just accept that this is their fate under Zanu PF:  there is no corruption or illegality by the masters if they own the state.

Other points

  • The implications of Mugabe’s ownership of the state are spelt out in an article by MDC T MP Eddie Cross: ‘The threat of change to transformation’ (see: http://zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/834-the-threat-of-change-to-transformation).
  • The determination of Zanu PF to maintain their hold on power at any cost is clear from remarks by psycho minister Josaya Hungwe that the army will make sure that Zanu PF wins the 2018 elections (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-zanu-pf-will-unleash-army-to-defend-mugabe-rule-hungwe/).
  • People will no doubt be comforted by the Herald’s assurance that, despite the bond notes, Zimbabwe has ‘the strongest currency in Africa’ (see: http://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/zimbabwe-has-the-strongest-currency-in-africa-state-media-20161207).
  • They will no doubt also be reassured by the Herald’s assurance that ‘Zanu PF’s largest external district Zanu PF United Kingdom and Europe, has endorsed President Mugabe as the party’s sole candidate for the presidential election' (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-diasporans-endorse-president-for-2018-polls/).
  • We at the Vigil didn’t notice any Zanu PF cadres today when we observed twenty-one months since Zimbabwean  activist Itai Dzamara was abducted and murdered by military intelligence for protesting against Mugabe and ZanU PF.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Zodwa Bhebhe, Elizabeth Chakachaka, Daizy Fabian, Etines Kapiya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Heather Makawa, Esther Munyira, Beverly Mutandiro, Sipho Ndlovu, Jennipher Sabe, Maxmus Savanhu, Ephraim Tapa and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Esther, Heather, Daizy and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table, to Nomusa Dube for selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands, to Cathrine, Beverly, Lloyd Mudzengerere and Angela Tapera for handing out flyers, to Phillip, Portia, Zodwa, Jennipher, Elizabeth, Lloyd, Sipho, Maxmus, Ephraim and Beverly for putting up the banners and to Phillip, Maxmus, Fungayi and Sipho for putting up 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. The facebook page for our sister organisation, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO Zimbabwean HR Charity. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 38 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 24th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Prayer Vigil. Saturday 31st December from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Contact Beverley Mutandiro (07412053415) with names of Zimbabwean pastors and prayer groups who might want to participate.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 7th January.From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-two months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
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A dead parrot – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd December 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 December 2016 15:21

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/31284139141/sizes/m/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/30591382053/sizes/m/ 

The dead parrot sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus says everything we need to know about the new bond notes. (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218). For those who are not familiar with this old BBC television comedy, the sketch is about a customer who goes into a pet shop complaining that he had been sold a dead parrot. The shopkeeper says the parrot is not dead, just resting after a long squawk. 

The Zimbabwean economy seems to the Vigil to be a dead parrot. With police rushing to crush any sign of dissent over the introduction of bond notes, it was left to the diaspora in London to show the contempt with which Zimbabweans regard the latest Zanu PF rip-off.

The Vigil was particularly angered by the abduction and torture of Ishmael Kauzani after the abortive bond note protest in Harare on Wednesday. He is a member of our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe and is in hospital in a critical condition. 

‘Mugabe uses bond notes to buy wheelchair’ read one of the posters in our demonstration outside the Embassy today during which Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask was pushed around the Vigil in a wheelchair. He was urged to shoot himself rather than carry out his threat to rule until he is 100.

A central message was a display of one hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollar notes. Bond notes were shown as the successor to the dead, deceased, defunct Zimbabwean currency in the form of Mickey Mouse monopoly money.

Our demonstration was dedicated to the bravery of people like Ishmael, a Tajamuka activist and chair of the Unemployed Youth Organisation. Nqobizitha Dumakude Khumalo of the People’s Democratic Party went to visit him. He reports: ‘Kauzani was probably spotted in town and tailed. He boarded a kombi on the way home, A twin cab  without number plates followed the kombi. As they were entering Kuwadzana the car overtook the kombi and ordered it to stop. Two men then got into the kombi and instructed Kauzani to disembark. He refused and the other passengers supported him after which the men took out pistols and threatened to shoot. Kauzani had no option but to obey.

They first assaulted him and then threw him into their car. They drove along Bulawayo Road then veered off into some bushes where there were at least three other cars of identical make. The occupants are said to have celebrated his capture. It is then that they started to interrogate him about Tajamuka, its source of funding and the other members of the group.

He was also asked about the number of trained people in Tajamuka and the manner of the training they had. All this time they were mercilessly pounding him with clenched fists and booted feet. They stripped him naked and stole his cellphone and the little cash he had. They expressed their strong desire to kill for Mugabe and said that they didn’t care what human rights organisations and the international community thought. As they assaulted him they challenged him to call Trump for help.

They kicked him on the chest and face and stepped on his face and crushed his feet with heavy sticks. Before they left one of them warned him to run away or they would finish him off if they found him still on the spot. Poor Kauzani could not walk, the best he could do was crawl slowly and painfully. They returned a second time and found him still groaning and moaning as he tried to drag himself away.

They started assaulting him again lifting him high in the air and letting him fall. Many times he blacked out. Finally they said they were going to do something to ensure he did not commit mischief again. They ran him over with their car. Had he not twisted away they might have crushed him. However they ran over his two legs breaking one and severely bruising the other. They then threw him into their car and drove back into town, dumping him at Pamuzinda in front of shocked revellers who thought a corpse was being dumped on them. He was stark naked. People crowded around him and he gave the cell number of his wife. A car was found and he was carried to hospital where he is till now.’ (http://www.zimeye.net/graphic-violence-how-cio-goons-tried-to-kill-kauzani/).

We are reminded of another ROHR activist Tichanzii Gandanga who was abducted on 22nd April 2008. His legs were run over 6 times by a 4x4 truck leaving him severely injured. It looks like its back to the future again in the run up to the 2018 elections.

Other points

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO Zimbabwean HR Charity. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 53 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 10th December. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-one months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 10th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 10th December from 12 noon – 1 pm for committee meeting and from 1 – 3 pm for general members meeting. This is ROHR Southampton’s first meeting under its new committee. Venue: Swaythling Working Men’s Club, 1-14 High Road, Swaythling, Southampton SO16 2JH. Contact: Ben Semwayo (Chair) 07401611932, Grace Rukure (secretary) 07462103397 and Reuben Waretza (Publicity Officer) 07946607617.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Monthly Prayer Vigil. Saturday 31st December from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Contact Beverley Mutandiro (07412053415) with names of Zimbabwean pastors and prayer groups who might want to participate.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
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The final nail – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th November 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 November 2016 14:58

Despite the government’s last minute hesitation, the Reserve Bank has announced that it is to release its monopoly money on Monday – widely seen as the final nail in the coffin of the Zimbabwean economy. 

Human rights lawyer Irene Petras said that the authorities have ‘illegally, immorally and inhumanely set about destroying Zimbabwean lives for a second time’ – a reference to the hyperinflation era which ended with the abandonment of the Zimbabwean currency in 2009. 

The Reserve Bank says $10 million of bond notes in denominations of $2 and $5 are to be issued, along with $2 million worth of $1 dollar bond coins. But few believe it will stop there. The currency is said to be backed by the African Import and Export Bank, which has not itself confirmed this. 

Because Zimbabweans have lived through this asset stripping before, they know exactly what to expect. Savings will be wiped out by rapidly depreciating Mickey Mouse money for the benefit of the elite which will externalise all remaining US dollars in the country. 

The move is likely to be badly received by the army. Reuters news agency says it has seen a report by the Central Intelligence Organisation warning Mugabe that introduction of bond notes would cause his downfall (see: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-zimbabwe-mugabe-insight-idUSKBN13K1J2). 

There has been widespread unrest at the move although the promised ‘mother of all demonstrations’ against bond notes last week failed to gain support amid allegations that money collected for the Harare protest was misappropriated. It is reported that this prompted Tajamuka to pull out of the demonstration at the last moment. 

Zimbabwe People First spokesman Jealousy Mawarire said as much as $100,000 may have been involved. He said: ‘As long as the struggle is commercialised we will always have these solo sporadic selfie moments disguised as demos’ (http://www.myzimbabwe.co.zw/news/9337-why-tajamuka-pulled-out-on-the-demo.html). Others talk of activists ‘milking donor funds’ and ‘living large’. 

The accusations come as no surprise to us. We ourselves refuse to have anything to do with one of the protest leaders because of our own experience working with him. This person certainly fits the bill of being a ‘selfie activist’: always in the photograph, in the news, known to all the journalists, ready with a quote. 

We at the Vigil marvel at how he seems to have a ‘get out if jail free’ card. With no visible means of support, he nevertheless pops up regularly in the UK, always impeccably dressed, hustling for money. The social media protest movements need to beware the bad apple effect. 

Other points

  • We were joined by the MDC for a candlelit vigil to honour people who had lost their lives or been abused in the struggle against the Mugabe regime. It was part of our programme of prayer vigils held on the last Saturday of the month. Thanks to Beverly Murandiro for leading the prayers and to Simba Mutero and Sharon Moyo of the MDC for organising the candlelit vigil.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help: Mavis Chisvo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Gladys Meck, Zimazile Mguni, Sharon Moyo, Roseline Mukucha and Virginia Mutyambizi. Thanks to Roseline, Sharon and Gladys for looking after the front table, to Simbarashe Mutero and Maxmus Savanhu for handing out flyers and selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands and to Phillip, Mavis and Virginia for putting up the banners. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO Zimbabwean HR Charity. Please be advised that any posting on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 46 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 10th December. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-one months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 10th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Prayer Vigil. Saturday 31st December from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Contact Beverley Mutandiro (07412053415) with names of Zimbabwean pastors and prayer groups who might want to participate.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
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A new onslaught – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th November 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 21 November 2016 23:26

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/30750699100/sizes/m/ 

The ruthless crushing of the latest anti-government demonstration in Harare, combined with news that the army is recruiting thousands more soldiers, suggest that Zanu PF’s strategy for stealing elections has not changed. 

The scenario is confirmed by the announcement that the diaspora will only be allowed to vote in 2018 if they return home to register and stay on or return again for the ballot – despite the lauded 2013 constitution giving every Zimbabwean the right to vote. 

The Zimbabwean diaspora is believed to number some 4 million – the overwhelmingly majority of voting age. The registered electorate at home is put at around 6.6 million, so the diaspora would have a decisive say. 

Rita Makarau, chair of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, said that the electoral laws had not yet been aligned with the new constitution. The Vigil thinks that this is a step that Zanu PF is never likely to take, making our wonderful constitution a hollow mockery. 

The Vigil is not surprised that six activists were shot at and beaten up ahead of Friday’s planned demonstration against the introduction of ‘bond notes’. Ishmail Kauzani, who was driving one of the two cars containing the activists when they were blocked by unmarked pick-up trucks, said he managed to escape into the night under a hail of gunfire. ‘They were firing on us when we were still driving - many, many shots. It was like a war zone, a barrage of bullets’, he said. (see: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-zimbabwe-beatings-idUSKBN13D1SM). 

Although the Vigil was not surprised by the regime’s ambush we were surprised at the lack of wider support for the demonstration given the opposition’s promises to confront Mugabe on the streets. 

We were even more surprised to see Mugabe making his way down the long red carpet in Marrakech for the UN climate change convention. Not surprised by his futile attendance at yet another back-slapping event but that he could walk unassisted (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTbmGs0Pqck). 

It seems that it’s the opposition which needs help. If it is to win in 2018 it must insist that the constitution is fully implemented well before the election or it will be just another waste of time. If there’s no level playing field the opposition this time must refuse to take part in Zanu PF’s charade.

Other points

  • Ephraim Tapa, President of ROHR and founder member of the Vigil, spoke to us of the need to confront elements trying to hijack the Vigil and ROHR for their own purposes.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Yvonne Bonde, Mercy Chapepa, Mavis Chisvo, Joseph Chivayo, Enniah Dube, Nomusa Dube, Phillip Mahlahla, Edna Mdoka, Zimazile Mguni, Gladys Muduve, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Tracy Mupeti, Cathrine Musa, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Sipho Ndlovu, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Tawanda Rusape and Maxmus Savanhu. Thanks to Cathrine, Gladys and Esther Munyira for looking after the front table, to Chipo, Enniah and Nomusa for handing out flyers and selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Mduduzi, Maxmus, Sipho, Peter Gonera, Honest Madondo, Raymond Gundula and Joshua Kahari for putting up the banners.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photo can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO Zimbabwean HR Charity. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 55 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Monthly Prayer Vigil. Saturday 26th November from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Contact Beverley Mutandiro (07412053415) with names of Zimbabwean pastors and prayer groups who might want to participate. The MDC-T UK and Ireland Youth Assembly will be joining us for the last hour for a candlelit vigil in remembrance of fallen comrades, those who have suffered and continue to be persecuted under Mugabe's Zanu PF regime and the many who perished during Gukurahundi. Please bring spare glass jars for the candles. MDC-T organisers: Sharon Moyo, Youth Province Organising Secretary, 07877224113 and Simbarashe Mutero. MDC-T UK & Ireland SE District Youth Chair, 07543 611638.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 26th November from 11.30 am – 1.45 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall SE1 8XX. Phone Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Cephas Moswaswa 07931999174 for exact location.
  • ROHR Birmingham branch meeting. Saturday 26th November from 10.30 am – 1 pm. Venue: Strathallan Hotel, 225 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 9RJ. Contact: Chair Gladys Muduve 07956430115, Info & Publicity Tecla Bandawe 074 50507650.
  • ROHR Reading branch Christmas dinner party. Saturday 26th November from 7.30 – 11 pm. Venue: Spice Oven Buffet Restaurant, 2- 4 Church Street, Reading RG4 8AT. Admission: £20 eat all you can. Contact Charles 07964731721, Deborah 07578894896, Sihle 07985712749, Alice 07450323439.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 26th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 10th December. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-one months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages: 
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Campaign against visa refusal – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th November 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 13 November 2016 17:54

The Vigil has launched a petition to the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, following the refusal of visas to Zimbabwean human rights activists invited to address audiences in London.

The petition reads: ‘Exiled Zimbabweans and supporters appeal to the UK government to allow Zimbabwean civil rights campaigners to take up invitations to visit the UK so that they can tell the world about the worsening situation in Zimbabwe. A number of prominent activists have been denied entry although members of the Mugabe regime have been given visas despite having a history of human rights abuses.’

At the same time, the Vigil is calling on supporters in the UK to write to their Member of Parliament to complain at the refusal of visas to the activists. Zimbabweans resident in the UK are allowed to vote in parliamentary elections as Commonwealth citizens, even though Zimbabwe walked out of the organization more than ten years ago. (The British government has not yet updated the relevant law to exclude Zimbabweans.)

Here is a template for a letter to MPs: 

‘Zimbabweans in the UK are puzzled and distressed that leaders of non-party Zimbabwean protest groups are being refused visas to visit the UK to speak about the struggle against Mugabe’s repressive Zanu PF regime. 

Among them is Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag protest, now exiled in the United States, who was invited to address the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe as well as to speak at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Pastor Mawarire drew international attention when he wrapped himself in the Zimbabwe flag and protested against Mugabe. 

Other campaigners denied visas include Patson Dzamara, who was also due to speak to the parliamentary group. Patson is the brother of Itai Dzamara who was abducted twenty months ago by intelligence agents for his protest in Harare’s Africa Unity Square. He has not been heard of since.

We know of others excluded including Gift Konjana, who has been detained more than thirty times and his home petrol-bombed for helping destitute farm workers. He had been invited to address a meeting at the Royal GeographicalSociety by the Mike Campbell Foundation which had already bought his air ticket.

We do not accept the stated reason that these people did not have the resources to maintain themselves in the UK when they have been invited here to speak and provided with return tickets. We note that Mugabe representatives seem to be allowed free access, including people who have been involved in killings.

The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Kate Hoey says the UK’s Ambassador to Harare, Catriona Laing, is also puzzled by the refusal of visas.  Ms Laing is drawing a lot of adverse criticism in Zimbabwe because of the move.

We would be grateful if you would ask the government to clarify its policy on this matter.’

The new petition augments the petition we are already running, addressed to the UN Secretary General: ‘With mounting unrest in Zimbabwe, we urge you to appoint a Special Representative to prepare the ground for a UN Transitional Authority to take over from the failed Mugabe regime. We look to the Special Representative to initiate comprehensive negotiations so that the UN Transitional Authority can assume control of Zimbabwe’s administrative structures – foreign affairs, defence, security, finance and communications – to ensure a level playing field conducive for credible national elections.’

Other points

  • Today the Vigil held another monthly demonstration to mark twenty months since the abduction of Itai Dzamara.
  • A reminder of the Vigil and ROHR protest on Friday 18th November from 12 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. This protest is supporting a bond note demonstration in Zimbabwe.
  • The MDC-T UK and Ireland Youth Assembly will be joining us at our prayer Vigil on Saturday 26th November. They would like to have a candlelit vigil from 5 – 6 pm in remembrance of fallen comrades, those who have suffered and continue to be persecuted under Mugabe's Zanu PF regime and the many who perished during Gukurahundi. Please bring spare glass jars for the candles.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Elizabeth Chakachaka, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Beverley Mutandiro, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Maxmus Savanhu, Clerence Simelane and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Beverley, Josephine and Elizabeth for looking after the front table, to Chipo Parirenyatwa and Prosper Karuru for selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands and to Fungayi, Ephraim, Phillip Mahlahla, Jonathan, Alfredy Mukuvare, Maxmus, Prosper, Alphios Chirwa and Angela Tapera for putting up the banners and 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: 62 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Bond note protest. Friday 18th November from 12 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. This protest is supporting a bond note demonstration in Zimbabwe.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 19th November from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Phone Ephraim Tapa (07940793090) for the exact location.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 26th November from 11.30 am – 1.45 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
  • ROHR Birmingham branch meeting. Saturday 26th November 2016 from 10.30 am – 1 pm. Venue: Strathallan Hotel, 225 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 9RJ. Contact: Chair: Gladys Muduve 07956430115, Info & Publicity: Tecla Bandawe 074 50507650.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Monthly Prayer Vigil. Saturday 26th November from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Contact Beverley Mutandiro (07412053415) with names of Zimbabwean pastors and prayer groups who might want to participate. The MDC-T UK and Ireland Youth Assembly will be joining us for the last hour for a candlelit vigil in remembrance of fallen comrades, those who have suffered and continue to be persecuted under Mugabe's Zanu PF regime and the many who perished during Gukurahundi. Please bring spare glass jars for the candles. MDC-T organisers: Sharon Moyo, Youth Province Organising Secretary, 07877224113 and Simbarashe Mutero. MDC-T UK & Ireland SE District Youth Chair, 07543 611638.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 26th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 10th December. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-one months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
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