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Another challenging year – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 4th January 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 05 January 2014 18:07

We at the first Vigil of 2014 were spared the worst of the storm which saw flooding in many parts of the UK. But it was still a bracing challenge spending four hours outside the Embassy protected only by a tarpaulin strung between four  trees.

 

It was our 12th New Year protesting outside Zimbabwe House and, despite our singing and dancing, dispiriting to see things get progressively worse at home. The Botswana-based Zimbabwean political commentator Tanonoka Whande now goes as far as to suggest the outcome might be violence (Yet another year of misery – Tononoka Joseph Whande – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_yet-another-year-of-misery-creeps/).

 

People often ask us why we go on when our demand for free and fair elections is denied time after time by Zanu PF chicanery, regional connivance and international indifference.  The answer is that we are determined to keep up awareness of the plight of Zimbabweans. How we do this is shown in our annual summary of Vigil highlights drawn from the weekly Vigil diaries. The first part of the 2013 summary, covering the first three months of 2013, is given below. The rest of the year will be included in other diaries this month.

 

Other points

  • The Vigil thanks supporters for their help in 2013 and wishes them the best for the coming year.

  • Thanks particularly to those who came early on such a threatening day to help set up: Danai Magidhi (who balanced precariously on our table to tie the ropes for the tarpaulin), Helen Rukambiro and Ishmael Makina.  Thanks also to ROHR Slough branch which held their meeting early so members (Patricia Masamba and Grace Nyaumwe) could come to the Vigil.

     

    Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013

    Saturday 5th January 2013: The first Vigil of the New Year was auspicious if only because it didn’t rain! (2012 had been the wettest year since English records began.) The Vigil diary noted that the exiled Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove reflected the Vigil’s view that there had been no improvement on the election situation of 2008. ‘Mugabe’s party has not changed its approach one inch’ he said. ‘As the country faints under heavy economic and political burdens, the politicians would rather punch the air with empty slogans and worthless promises that are so unrealistic that even illiterate villagers wonder how a politician can be so dumb as to promise a bridge where there is not even a river’.

    Saturday 12th January: On a bitterly cold day the Vigil kept warm by laughing at the reported remarks by Finance Minister Tendai Biti at a Zimbabwe investment conference here in London. ‘Reported’ remarks because we couldn’t afford to go to the meeting to hear for ourselves at a cost of £90 for the cheapest ticket. Biti apparently said that Zimbabwe had become ‘a safe and lucrative place to come and invest in’ and was ‘pregnant with opportunities’ . . .

    Saturday 19th January: The Vigil delivered a petition to the South African High Commission in London appealing to President Zuma to ensure that international observers were sent to Zimbabwe for the upcoming elections and calling on him to get tough with Mugabe. Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa said the diaspora were the victims of South Africa’s failure to broker peace. Ephraim and David Kadzutu of our partner organisation Zimbabwe Yes We Can attended the first of the year’s bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forums held after the Vigil. They outlined the aims of the forum which they said was envisaged as an umbrella group like the Anti-apartheid Movement embracing all Zimbabweans working for freedom and democracy.

    Saturday 26th January: The Vigil sent an open letter to Chatham House, the influential London international affairs think tank, protesting at not being allowed to attend a meeting to discuss a contentious book defending Mugabe’s land policy ‘Zimbabwe takes back its land’.

    Thursday 31st January: Vigil supporters demonstrated outside Chatham House. We had consulted leading economists in Zimbabwe for their opinions on the assertions made in the book so we were able to make available to people going into the meeting the facts the authors had ignored. A friend who managed to get in noted in an email to us: ‘Irony of whites on the platform largely justifying what happened after the land invasions and blacks outside protesting’. 

    Saturday 2nd February: One of the authors of the book, Dr Joseph Hanlon, came to a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil to defend the book. He had a rough ride. Nobody accepted his arguments. Daizy Fabian said: ‘My father was a farmer but we were taken over and lost everything and we’re not white we’re black!’

    Saturday 9th February: Every week sees the ‘credibility gap’ between Harare and the outside world grow wider. This week we were told by Tendai Biti that the elections will be free and fair – despite the failure to implement any of the GPA reforms. We think Biti should ask his new friend Gideon Gono to see what his prophet pals can do. Gono obviously thinks nothing is beyond their miraculous money making powers. Or Biti could bet his last $217 (said to be all that was left in the Treasury) on free and fair elections – the Vigil will give him a million to one.

    Saturday 16th February: The Vigil met earlier than usual to support an Amnesty International protest on behalf of WOZA. The Vigil displayed a poster protesting at the brutal treatment of WOZA at their Valentine Day’s demonstrations in Harare and Bulawayo. Roses were laid on the doorstep of the Embassy.

    Saturday 23rd February: On another cold day, we were surprised to be joined outside the Embassy by President Mugabe, tearing himself away from his 89th birthday celebrations. Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu who played the role of Mugabe in our mask, dozing off under the snowflakes. Vigil supporters tied him to his chair with the SADC bonds which we hope will produce free and fair elections: ‘International Observers’, ‘Curbs on Partisan Security Forces’, ‘Impartial Electoral Commission’, ‘Reformed Voters’ Roll’, ‘No Hate Speech’ and ‘Open Airways’. Vigil supporters then trooped off to the South African High Commission to deliver a letter for President Zuma warning him that unless the GPA reforms are implemented there is no hope that Mugabe will allow free and fair elections.

    Saturday 2nd March: The Vigil urged the United Nations not to finance the Zimbabwean elections unless UN monitors are allowed to attend. We said in a letter to the UN Development Programme: ‘The Zimbabwe Vigil understands that the Zimbabwe government has asked you to pay for the coming elections as it says it has no money. At the same time, Vice President Joice Mujuru has insisted that only observers from Southern Africa will be invited to monitor the elections. We believe that President Mugabe’s Zanu PF cronies have syphoned off billions of dollars of diamond revenue and that the President could easily arrange to finance the elections. But if the UNDP is of a mind to squander donors’ money on the Zimbabwean elections we believe it should be conditional on UN observers being allowed to monitor them. We suggest that the observers should be drawn from those countries such as the US and EU members which provide most of the funds.’ Martin Chinyanga, who has launched a campaign ‘Diaspora Feels It’, joined us at the Zimbabwe Action Forum following  the Vigil after laying flowers on the doorstep of the Embassy in memory of 12-year-old Christpower Maisiri who was murdered by Zanu PF.

    Thursday 7th March: 19 Vigil supporters attended a Mike Campbell Foundation event ‘Hope in a Desert’ at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society. The meeting was chaired by Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Zimbabwe, who paid tribute to the work of the Vigil. One of the speakers at the meeting was Dr Craig Richardson, an American associate professor of economics, who spoke of the importance of property rights for the future of the Zimbabwean economy. The executive director of the Foundation Ben Freeth, criticized two recent books by British academics which he said were white-washing the agricultural situation.

    Saturday 9th March 2013: The likelihood of election violence in Zimbabwe has prompted a petition to the British Government by Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) and the Vigil to protest at the deportation of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers ahead of the elections.

    Saturday 16th March: The main event of the day was the presentation of our petition to 10 Downing Street. Earlier, more than 100 Zimbabwean exiles gathered outside the Zimbabwe Embassy to mark Referendum Day.  We were joined by Mark Beacon of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), formerly the Anti-Apartheid Movement, who said a peaceful referendum was no guide to what would happen in the elections. He insisted that for the elections to be credible there would have to be an accurate voters’ roll and international as well as regional observers. People were invited to write messages of hope for free and fair elections on red paper roses which were deposited in a voting box. The only sour note was cast by President Mugabe (played by Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask) who, asked to vote for freedom, voted no. Fungayi later summed up the Vigil’s view: ‘The referendum is a charade. President Mugabe has once again outwitted the Movement for Democratic Change. Four years and more than $100 million have been wasted on this defective constitution when what is really needed is action to ensure free and fair elections’. After the Vigil Mark Beacon joined us at a well-attended forum at which we discussed how we could work together.

    Saturday 23rd March: Spring snow didn’t stop us as we trailed around central London visiting various embassies to protest against the harassment of those opposing Zimbabwe’s police state. Displaying posters such as ‘Free Beatrice Mtetwa’, ‘Stop harassment of Zimbabwean human rights groups’, ‘End police lawlessness’ and ‘Restore rule of law in Zimbabwe’, we first delivered a letter to the High Commission of Tanzania, the Chair of the SADC Security Troika. A copy of the letter was also left at the High Commission of South Africa, the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwe, and at the Zimbabwe Embassy.

    Tuesday 26th March: Vigil activists gathered outside a meeting in London between Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister Chinamasa and the international donor group Friends of Zimbabwe. The activists displayed posters such as: ‘Britain don’t give in to Mugabe’ and ‘No money unless rule of law’. Our supporters shouted ‘thief’ and ‘murderer’ when Chinamasa emerged from the talks.

    Saturday 30th March: One of the Vigil founders, Patson Muzuwa, reported that he had managed to smuggle himself into the Zimbabwe Embassy for a meeting on Friday attended by the three- person Zimbabwe delegation representing the GNU partners. Patson said it was clear that the delegation only wanted to meet selected members of the diaspora and people had tried to shut him up when he insisted on asking questions. When Chinamasa asked whether people had been ill-treated by Zanu PF, Patson dismayed everyone by standing up and saying ‘Yes, I have been tortured’. Patson added that Chinamasa made racist remarks, saying Zimbabweans didn’t want whites, and also made it clear that he didn’t want Zimbabweans returning home.

     

    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:  30 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 11th January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 18th January from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

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

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

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

 
Don’t take him Germany – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th December 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 13:41

The Vigil is not surprised by reports that Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Germany, Tsvangirai’s relative Hebson Makuvise, has applied for asylum there. We know that the last thing he wants to do is to return to Zimbabwe and face allegations of fraud.

 

We at the Vigil had a memorable brush with Makuvise in January 2008 when he was Tsvangirai’s representative in the UK, helping to destroy the MDC here. He tried to take over the Vigil and we called the police to eject his gang of thugs. Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton vividly recalls him waving his fist in her face while screaming ‘don’t call me a bully’. (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/201-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-28th-november-2009).

 

During his 4 year tenure in Berlin Makuvise has perfected his German to the extent that he can fluently demand ‘Knete her’ (Give me money!) The Vigil is sending the following open letter to the German Embassy in London:

 

Dear Ambassador

 

We hear that Zimbabwe’s outgoing Ambassador to Germany Hebson Makuvise has asked for asylum in Germany rather than return home to face possible fraud allegations.

 

We at the Zimbabwe Vigil would recommend , from our own knowledge of this man’s conduct when he was in the UK, that Germany should deny his application. Our interest is that we would not welcome him being given papers which would potentially enable him to resume his poisonous mischief in the UK.

 

We know that the Vigil also speaks for many Zimbabweans who have taken refuge in Germany. We would be happy to give you details of this thug’s history.

 

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 

Makuvise’s reported application emerged after it was announced that Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Australia, Jacqueline Zwambila, had asked for asylum there. She said that the July elections were stolen and she wouldn’t be safe back home.   Zimeye commented: ‘Both Makuvise and Zwambila are disliked by 90% of their party cadres who say their appointments were without merit, being regarded as cheap family appointments by Morgan Tsvangirai.’ (See: Tsvangirai’s Cousin, Ambassador Makuvise ‘Applies for Asylum in Germany’http://www.zimeye.org/tsvangirais-cousin-ambassador-makuvise-applies-for-asylum-in-germany/).

 

Whatever the squirmings of the recalled MDC ambassadors the most telling story for us in the diaspora was that if you googled Zimbabwe News on Christmas day you would find that the most widely reported story was ‘Zimbabweans face gloomy holidays’. Hopeless despair is what the outside world sees on the face of Zimbabweans. As the MDC MP Eddie Cross pointed out: This Zanu PF regime has virtually closed the doors on investment and ‘without investment there is no hope for anyone in Zimbabwe’.

 

In their Christmas message Zimbabwe’s Roman Catholic bishops lamented: ‘there are no visible prospects for improvement in the spheres of life in Zimbabwe that cry for restoration to give people hope for a better life.’ This is ‘despite the country being blessed with abundant natural resources and resilient, God-fearing and highly skilled people.’

(See: http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/mugabe-still-rules-but-zimbabwe-more-polarized-says-bishops-22646Top of Form

Mugabe still rules, but Zimbabwe 'more polarized' say bishops). The bishops went on: ’Our industrial sites carry the appearance of ghost towns because the once-vibrant manufacturing sector is now largely moribund. The dignity of our people has been severely eroded as they have become reduced to sellers of cheap goods and products at street corners in our cities in order to survive.’

 

The bishops urged re-engagement with the international community but, as the Vigil goes through its12th winter, we see  how the Mugabe regime continues to insult the donor countries.  We appeal to western embassies in Harare to urgently investigate new reports that food aid is being refused to opposition supporters (see: MDC-T supporters denied food and inputs in Mash Easthttp://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_mdc-t-supporters-denied-food-and-inputs-in-mash-east/). This comes despite the announcement that the UK is pouring more money into feeding Zimbabwe (see: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46808&Cr=food+security&Cr1=#.UryRPI-Ya1sNew UN-United Kingdom partnership aims to boost food security in Zimbabwe).

 

On the last Vigil of 2013 we were grateful to David Kadzutu, Mary Muteyerwa, Danai Magidhi and Bridget Zhakata who were there 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: 21 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Slough general meeting. Saturday 4th January 2014 from 10.30 am – 1 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL1 5JW. Contact Grace Nyaumwe 07850284506 Patricia Masamba 07708116625.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 11th January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 18th January from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

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

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

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

 
MDC joins Vigil in demanding new elections – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st December 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 December 2013 16:14

The Vigil welcomes signs that the MDC is emerging from its catatonic state following the stolen elections. Five months after we at the Vigil demanded new elections the MDC has now come on board and demanded a rerun.

 

In an end of year statement Tsvangirai said: ‘The lesson from the July 31 poll is that all reforms, including security sector and media reforms, that were agreed to under the GPA are mandatory’. Hallelujah!

 

Tsvangirai goes on ‘We will be embarking on a global advocacy campaign to the AU, SADC and the internal community on the need for the reversal of the fraudulent result of 2013. In short, the sustainable way forward is another election that will guarantee a return to legitimacy.’

 

Tsvangirai fails to explain why the MDC dropped its legal objections to the election results but the Vigil hopes the party will co-operate with our campaign to mount a court challenge based on, among other things, the failure to produce the voters’ roll. We would have thought that lawyer and party secretary-general Biti would have led the charge but he is now apparently working for the other side. We asked for help from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on 28th November but have had no response. Here is our request to them:

 

‘I hope you heard about our ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ All-Stakeholders’ Diaspora Conference in London last month.

 

For full report of the conference, check: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/537-restore-zimbabwe-conference-london--thursday-24th-october-2013. For diary of 2nd November when conference resolutions were adopted, check: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/541-diaspora-rejects-rigged-elections--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-2nd-november-2013

 

The purpose of the meeting was to agree a common platform and strategy for diaspora action on the Zimbabwe crisis following the fraudulent July elections.

 

Several resolutions were agreed including that we should explore the possibility of a legal challenge to the validity of the elections, especially in light of the refusal to release the voters’ roll.

 

We read that some people in Zimbabwe are thinking along similar lines and we will be happy to co-operate with them in any way we can.  In particular, it has been suggested that we could approach the Bar Association in London for support. As you know they have taken a close interest in Zimbabwe.

 

We would welcome any comments and suggestions that ZLHR could make.

 

Wilbert Mukori

On behalf of the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ Task Force’

 

We at the Vigil – deluged by rain on the winter solstice – agreed with Tsvangirai’s assessment of Chinamasa’s budget as ‘mere fantasy’. A forecast of 6.1% economic growth in the coming year appears to have been plucked out of thin air. Perhaps diamonds will come to the rescue? But the long-hyped Antwerp auction raised a mere $10 million for some 280,000 dirty carats. The government will apparently get $1.5 million of this (so they say): hardly  enough for Mugabe’s next shopping trip for monkey glands.

 

The question we ask is where will the government’s money come from? Goblin Chinamasa appears to hope it will come from us in the diaspora. We apparently send home  $1.6 billion a year already and he reckons we are stupid enough to put it straight into his pocket, as if we had forgotten Home Link. See what the writer Petinah Gappah says about the proposed goblin bonds (see: No, Minister. An Open letter to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasahttp://nehandaradio.com/2013/12/20/no-minister-an-open-letter-to-finance-minister-patrick-chinamasa/).  What chutzpah for the goblin to ask for money from us while denying  us the vote!.

 

Other points

·         We wish all our supporters and followers a happy Christmas and hopefully a better new year.

·         We were joined by a group from ‘Nations without States’ which included Ndebele representatives protesting about Gukuruhundi.

·         Thanks to Patricia Masamba, Shylette Chipangura, Mary Muteyerwa, Fungayi Mabhunu and Cephas Maswoswa who were with us early on a very miserable day 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:

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 28th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 18th January 2014 from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

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

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

  • Useful website: www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

 
A choice of frauds – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th December 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 December 2013 15:16

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

 

The Vigil was not surprised that Zuma was greeted with boos by the audience – or that Mugabe’s arrival was met with applause. To the disillusioned South Africans in the stadium, Mugabe’s populist politics were far more appealing than  the ANC’s arrogance and unchecked corruption.

 

From the Vigil’s point of view, it was interesting to witness the humiliation of Zuma’s advisor Lindiwe Zulu, famously described by Mugabe as ‘a street walker’ when she dared to suggest that he should honour his undertaking to SADC to introduce electoral reforms. Reined in by Zuma, she dared make no comment on Mugabe when she appeared in a BBC televised debate about the memorial ceremony broadcast from Johannesburg (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03ltbjt/Question_Time_Question_Time_Special/).  Long gone was the alluring ‘street walker’. The now sour-faced Zulu resorted to the ANC’s default authoritarian mode, threatening that those who had booed her boss would be ‘dealt with’.

 

It was left to another member of the ‘Question Time’ debating panel to explain the attraction that Mugabe has for many South Africans. Looking like a plump parody of Che Guevara in a rakish red beret, the  ‘black consciousness activist’ Andile Mngxitama promised: ‘We are going to do what Mugabe did’. Strangely enough, this didn’t seem to cheer up the street walker, even though her master had ordered her to support Mugabe.

 

Ironically, it seems to the Vigil that Mugabe will have performed a great service to South Africa. When, as we expect, the EU’s few remaining targeted sanctions against him are removed in February, he will lose the fig-leaf for his calamitous rule. We will see then how attractive a bankrupt, starving Zimbabwe will be to the South African red berets.

 

Other points

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 28th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 18th January 2014 from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

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

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

  • Useful website: www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

 
Mugabe grabs aid money – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th December 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 December 2013 19:39

As we mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, the Vigil was shocked to learn that the UN has apparently agreed to divert some of the aid  going to help Zimbabwe’s starving people to help pay for the illegal regime’s pie-in-the-sky economic development plan. Speaking after a meeting with UN officials in Harare, the deputy chief secretary to the president, Dr Ray Ndlukula, said: ‘The United Nations country team in Zimbabwe and the government have agreed to scale down on humanitarian activities and integrate humanitarian work into recovery and development.’ – in other words, cut down help for the poor and spend aid money as we tell you (see: http://mg.co.za/article/2013-12-06-00-zim-asks-for-un-bailout/  – Zimbabwe asks for UN bailout).

 

The Vigil is opposed  to giving the Mugabe regime any say in how international aid to Zimbabwe is used because there is clear evidence of Zanu PF’s corruption, including the systematic theft of the diamond revenues which should fund its economic plan. We call on the UK government not to allow any of its aid to be diverted for Mugabe’s political purposes and, indeed, to step up surveillance to make sure that British aid is not hijacked by Zanu PF supporters and denied to opponents of the Mugabe regime.

 

The Vigil is sending the following open letter to the UK’s International Development Secretary, who is in charge of the enormous £10 – £11 billion aid budget – among the largest in the world.

 

Dear Ms Greening

 

Zimbabweans exiled in the UK applaud the UK’s generous aid to our country. Our people have benefitted greatly from it. But we are alarmed by reports that the UN has agreed to reduce its humanitarian programmes in Zimbabwe and instead divert the money to prop up the Mugabe regime’s back-of- the-envelope Zim Asset economic development plan.

 

The UN agencies and its development partners provided $426 million last year under the Zimbabwe UN Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF). The programme has provided food assistance for 1.4 million people, medicines to 90% of health facilities, the distribution of school textbooks as well as other help such as agricultural inputs. It is now proposed that some of this money should help finance government plans.

 

The Zimbabwe Vigil is opposed to giving the illegal regime any say in how international aid to Zimbabwe is used as there is clear evidence of its corruption and its hijacking of diamond revenues.

 

We appeal to the UK government not to allow any of its aid to be diverted to prop up the Mugabe regime and, in particular, we call on it to exercise vigilance to stop aid being denied to opponents of the Mugabe regime.

 

Our concern has been heightened by a report in the Daily Mail today that your own audit department has found that UK tax money has already gone to the Zimbabwe regime in spite of insistence that this would not be the case (see:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2518131/UK-government-gave-80-000-taxpayers-money-Zimbabwe-government-contravention-rules.html - U K government gave £80,000 in taxpayers' money to Zimbabwe government in contravention of its own rules).

 

The main focus of our day was the death of Nelson Mandela and we recall how we helped prompt him to disown Mugabe. It was back in 2008 when he visited London to celebrate his 90th birthday. Vigil supporters and others confronted him with a banner saying: ‘Mandela ignores Mugabe's terror. Shame / Mandela speak out. Support a free Zimbabwe’.  That very evening he spoke of a failure of leadership in Zimbabwe (see diaries of 25 and 26 June 2008 – http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/diary-archive/119-vigil-diary-archive-june-2008).

 

Singing to the accompaniment of one of our drums, a large group of Vigil supporters joined mourners outside the nearby South African High Commission. ‘ANC betrays Mandela’ was one of our condolence messages left at South Africa House. We were embarrassed that the Zimbabwe flag continued to fly at full mast at Zimbabwe House when flags across London were at half-mast to mark Mandela’s death. The truth is that Mugabe was jealous of Mandela which Fungayi Mabhunu illustrated by wearing our Mugabe mask and carrying the following posters: ‘Mandela “too saintly”’ (a Mugabe quotation) and ‘Hate not Love’.  

 

After the Vigil, supporters went down the road to the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum where we were pleased to be joined by John Huruwa and Alson Gwelo of the UK branch of newly-formed Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). They expressed willingness to work with us to secure change in Zimbabwe. 

 

The meeting was chaired by Wilbert Mukori, who reported on his recent visit to the Hague to attend a meeting of the Zimbabwe Europe Network. He said the EU wanted to lift sanctions and they were prepared to accept the elections even though they knew they were rigged. (For Wilbert's thoughts on Mandela's Legacy see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/552-thoughts-on-mandelas-legacy.) Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said that the EU should demand that the diaspora be given the vote before lifting the sanctions.

 

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 28th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 18th January 2014 from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

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

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

  • Facebook pages:

  • Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts

  • ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

  • ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

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

  • Useful website: www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

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