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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.

  • Facebook pages:

 
EU finances Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th March 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 30 March 2014 16:48

The Vigil will be protesting in Brussels against the invitation to Mugabe to attend the EU / Africa Summit on 2nd / 3rd April. We will be outside the European Union Parliament whether or not he turns up – indeed whether or not African delegations boycott the meeting in protest at the EU’s refusal to grant Grace Mugabe a visa.

 

As Vigil supporter Wilbert Mukori put it: ‘The EU made the mistake of allowing itself to be dictated to by the likes of Mugabe. Give him an inch and he will be back demanding a mile! The EU should put its foot down once and for all. Africa needs the EU more than the EU needs Africa just as much as the ordinary Africans need good governance more than they need EU aid. Indeed, if they had good governance the continent would not be so dependent on foreign aid.’

 

The Vigil delegation will be a small one. Even of those who have travel documents few can afford to go to Belgium as we could not book cheap tickets in advance because of the uncertainty surrounding Mugabe’s presence. The Belgian police have been helpful and told us that there will be many African demonstrators in the Place du Luxembourg outside the parliament buildings. We were told we would be positioned next to a large group of Mauritanians.

 

We don’t know the details of their quarrel with their government but we are sure that we agree on a protest against the African Union and the EU. The EU’s theme for the Summit is Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace’. The truth is they are investing in Dictatorship, Death and Destruction.

 

Why are we going to Brussels? We know things are even worse in some other African countries – Mauritania for one, as they still practise slavery. But come to think of it how would you describe the common practice in Zimbabwe of asking people to work and then not paying them? The Vigil notes that even the slaves in the Zimbabwean defence forces are beginning to realise this.

 

The Vigil will be in Brussels to tell the world that things are not ok in Zimbabwe. The standard of living has slipped back more than 50 years. The EU may be pouring in money but we’re in Brussels to tell them that Zimbabwe has an illegitimate and corrupt government that is destroying the country and we don’t think the EU should help them in this. Our message is that aid for Zimbabwe must not be aid for Mugabe and the military junta.

 

Other points

  • We are very sad to report that, despite all our efforts, our supporter Try Mahachi was forcibly removed to Zimbabwe on Thursday. We are disturbed at reports of how he was treated when he was handcuffed and put on the plane. People who are in touch with him say he is preparing a full report which he will let us have.

  • On a lovely sunny Spring day, thanks to David Kadzutu, Joseph Chivayo, Xoliso Simozo and Grace Goremusandu who arrived early to help set up. Thank to Grace and Tendai Chadehumbe for looking after the front table.

  • Thanks to Rose Maponga for playing the role of Grace Mugabe for a photo to mark our excursion to Brussels.

  • Among interesting passers-by at the Vigil today was a Jamaican who criticized Mugabe. Jamaicans for long hero-worshipped Mugabe but lost faith in him following disparaging comments he made about them.

  • We were also visited by someone who had just returned from Zimbabwe. He was very depressed about the situation and the lack of hope among ordinary people.

     

    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: 33 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Executive Meeting. Saturday 5th April at 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 5th April 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 5th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 4 April – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 April – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; 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.

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

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

  • Facebook pages:

 
Vigil supports genuine asylum seekers – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd March 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 14:38

The Vigil has made a new approach to the Home Office over the sending back of asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Our latest letter to Home Secretary Theresa May came as thousands of people demonstrated in London against the UK’s asylum policy. The letter was delivered to the Home Office by Fungayi Mabhunu.

 

Here’s the text of our letter to Ms May: We enclose a petition protesting at the proposed deportation of a committed Zimbabwean human rights activist Trymore Mahachi. It has been signed by people passing the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past twelve years in support of free elections and human rights in Zimbabwe. As explained in the petition, Trymore has played a prominent role at the Vigil and it is believed that he could well be penalised for this if he is returned to Zimbabwe. We hope, in the light of this, you will reconsider his deportation. We are disappointed not to have received a reply to a letter we wrote to you on 21st February objecting to Home Office case workers using libelous evidence against the Vigil. We enclose a copy of our letter and attachments and hope you will now respond to it.

 

The petition reads: ‘Don’t deport Trymore Mahachi: Try Mahachi is a committed activist against human rights abuses and for democracy in Zimbabwe. He has regularly attended the Zimbabwe Vigil and is a leader of our protest activities: singing of protest songs, praying for the suffering people in Zimbabwe, engaging with the public to keep them informed of events in Zimbabwe. All in all he is a high-profile activist who is likely to be known to the authorities in Zimbabwe. He is currently in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre and has been told he will be forcibly deported back to Zimbabwe on 27th March. We appeal to the Home Secretary not to send him back to a country where he could face abuse for his opposition to Mugabe and the Zanu PF regime.’    

 

For details of the libel against the Vigil see our earlier letter to Ms May sent on 21st February – see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/569-tell-us-the-good-news--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-22nd-february-2014.

 

A number of Vigil supporters took part in the demonstration against the UK’s asylum policy ending in a rally at Trafalgar Square, around the corner from the Vigil. Some of the demonstrators carried banners reading ‘No human is illegal’.

 

We sympathise with their anxiety about asylum issues but the Vigil’s view is more nuanced.  While we oppose the deportation of those who have a just claim for asylum, we are equally opposed to the system being abused by people such as Zanu PF supporters, who seem to be busier than the MDC in setting up structures in the UK (see: Zanu-PF holds historic Birmingham UK conference – http://www.zimeye.org/zanu-pf-holds-historic-birmingham-uk-conference/). Why are they in the hated UK at all if they support the illegal regime in Harare? How can anyone defend their presence here – the very people that forced millions of Zimbabweans into exile?

 

In association with our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, the Vigil is trying to track the treatment of returned Zimbabweans when they arrive home. We are particularly concerned, for instance, about a young man of 23 recently returned to Zimbabwe with no support network there after living in the UK for 5 years or more.

 

Other points

  • The Vigil is still making enquiries about a possible protest in Brussels if Mugabe attends the EU / Africa Summit on 2nd / 3rd April. We are trying to get the necessary permission from the Belgian police and would welcome any help with this. A number of people have expressed their eagerness to take part, including Swazi friends opposing the presence at the Summit of King Mswati III.

  • The Vigil is grateful to the Rohr Reading Branch for their donation from their fundraiser held last week,

     

    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: 51 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Executive Meeting. Saturday 5th April at 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 5th April 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 5th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 4 April – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 April – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; 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:

 
Asset in Wonderland – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th March 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 March 2014 15:34

As Zimbabwe sinks back to the stone age those of us driven into exile can only shake our heads in resignation at the relentless idiocy of our rulers. One brief announcement summed it up: ‘To make way for the Zim Asset Awareness Seminar, neither the National Assembly nor the Senate will meet on 12th and 13th March’.

 

The announcement explained: ‘The objective of this seminar is to raise awareness among Members of Parliament on the economic trajectory that the Government will take in the next five years as defined in the ZIM ASSET blueprint and their roles as legislators in the economic transformation of Zimbabwe’.  (See: B ill Watch – Parliamentary Committees 12/2014 of 7th Marchhttp://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/bill-watch-parliamentary-committees-122014-7th-march/).

 

Zim Asset was cobbled up, we understand, by ‘Professor’ Jonathan Moyo to bamboozle voters in last year’s elections. To pretend it is a viable plan offering a way out of our difficulties is, in the Vigil’s view, to plunge down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Zim Asset is merely a wish list, rather like the letters children write to Father Christmas. But perhaps Zanu PF believes in Father Christmas . . .

 

Zanu PF’s detachment from reality was shown in another announcement – that Zimbabwe is to review a tourism agreement with China signed in 2006. Despite the red carpet being laid out for them, only 5,000 Chinese visited Zimbabwe in 2012. And that is out of 83 million Chinese tourists who ventured abroad that year. Tourism Minister Mzembi says he is off to China next month to ‘find a way of mainstreaming them to our destination’ so that they can, no doubt, admire the old colonial infrastructure, the thriving farms and factories, the state of the art schools and hospitals, and perhaps pick up some ivory . . . (See: Zimbabwe seeks to review China tourism agreement – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_zim-seeks-to-review-china-tourism-agreement/).

 

An insight into the true dimension of Zanu PF’s Alice in Wonderland delusion is given by the party’s spokesman Rugare Gumbo: ‘It’s wrong for anyone to attribute corruption to the President. The problem affects everybody and he cannot deal with everything. It’s also wrong to say that the President can’t address the problems of corruption. They can’t be solved by one person, but a collective of people. He has the politburo and Cabinet to deal with such issues. Everyone is fighting corruption and it should be everyone’s responsibility.’ Well that’s sorted then. (See: Mugabe too old to fight corruption – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_mugabe-too-old-to-fight-corruption/).

 

Other points

  • The Vigil ran a petition today calling on the Home Secretary to stop the deportation of our supporter Try Mahachi. Here is the text of the petition: Try Mahachi is a committed activist against human rights abuses and for democracy in Zimbabwe. He has regularly attended the Zimbabwe Vigil and is a leader of our protest activities: singing of protest songs, praying for the suffering people in Zimbabwe, engaging with the public to keep them informed of events in Zimbabwe. All in all he is a high-profile activist who is likely to be known to the authorities in Zimbabwe. He is currently in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre and has been told he will be forcibly deported back to Zimbabwe on 27th March. We appeal to the Home Secretary not to send him back to a country where he could face abuse for his opposition to Mugabe and the Zanu PF regime.

  • The question of asylum was brought up at a meeting after the Vigil of our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Ben Semwayo reported on a meeting of the National Coalition for Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) at which he represented the Vigil. The NCADC has invited Zimbabweans to take part in a demonstration next week (see: Events and Notices). We would point out that the Vigil is about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and is not an asylum organisation though we support asylum claims by Vigil people on the grounds they may face persecution at home because of their activism. We also have reservations about the NCADC demand that anyone should be allowed to come to the UK. We are disturbed, for instance, by the number of Mugabe supporters here in the UK and wonder how they got leave to remain. These are the people who support the illegal regime in Zimbabwe which has forced our supporters to flee to the UK. The ZAF meeting agreed to step up monitoring of Zanu PF events in the UK and also to keep a watch on the white supporters of Mugabe who might visit here, such as the Olympic swimmer Kirsty Coventry.

  • A suggestion from the ZAF meeting was that we should ask our sister organisation ROHR Zimbabwe to try to monitor what happens to Zimbabweans who are deported home from the UK. We realise that many people do not want to have their names mentioned for fear of reprisals and we will of course respect this but we need evidence to support the claims of Vigil asylum seekers that they will be in danger if returned home.

  • Martin Chinyanga as part of his ‘diaspora feels it’ campaign laid flowers on the doorstep of the Embassy in mourning for our brothers who died hiding from the South African police down a mineshaft.

     

    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:

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

  • NCADC Protest. Saturday 22nd March. Meet in Parliament Square at 11 am to assemble for a rally in Trafalgar Square. Check: http://www.ncadc.org.uk/m22/ for further details.

  • ROHR Executive Meeting. Saturday 5th April at 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 5th April from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see entry above.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 4 April – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 April – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; 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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