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Campaign for Parliamentary Debate – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th February 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 09 February 2015 21:35


Zimbabweans in the UK have launched a campaign to persuade MPs to ask for a parliamentary debate on the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe in the fallow period before the UK general elections on 7th May.


 


MPs have little parliamentary business to attend to in the next three months and the Vigil understands they are being given time off to campaign in their constituencies. We believe this is a window of opportunity to press for a parliamentary discussion of the British government’s policy on Zimbabwe. After all, even if they are not British citizens, Zimbabweans have a right to vote here.


 


The Zimbabwe Action Forum, meeting after the Vigil, discussed a template letter people could send to their MPs calling for a debate:


 


Dear MP


 


I am a Zimbabwean living in your constituency. I write to ask you to support a suggestion that there should be a parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe.


 


The idea of a debate was supported by former Africa Minister, Mark Simmonds, who kindly spoke to Zimbabweans at a recent meeting in Portcullis House (see Zimbabwe Vigil diary of 24th January 2015: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/650-progress--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-24th-january-2015). He said it had been some years since the House of Commons had last discussed Zimbabwe and it was time for another debate. He was backed in this by Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, who had arranged the meeting at the request of Zimbabweans in his constituency. We were also happy to be addressed by Fiona Mactaggart, MP.


 


I am part of a network of Zimbabweans who are writing to their MPs to drum up support for the debate to be arranged.


 


I am sure you are aware of the dire situation in Zimbabwe, which was recently identified by the Wall Street Journal as the 4th worst economy in the world (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_zim-among-most-repressed-economies-the-zimbabwe-independent/). This partly explains our presence in your generous country.


 


In brief, all elections in Zimbabwe are rigged, there is no rule of law, corruption is rampant and the new constitution – largely paid for by the British taxpayer – is predictably ignored by the Mugabe Mafia. Yet Britain talks of ‘progress’ and is lifting sanctions!


 


We want the debate to ask questions such as:


  1. What is the British Government’s policy on Zimbabwe? (This is unclear at present. Why is the British Government being so ingratiating to the Mugabe regime when all it does is spit in their face?)

  2. Why has the UK lifted targeted sanctions against Mugabe’s cronies when the object for imposing them has not been achieved? (Mark Simmonds spoke of ‘progress’: what progress?)

  3. By resuming direct aid to the Mugabe government the EU is further propping up an illegal regime, allowing it to offload onto donors its obligations to the Zimbabwean people in education, health services etc.

  4. What is the UK’s policy on sending back Zimbabweans? (It is still unsafe for political activists; there are few jobs and widespread poverty.)


 


The Forum invited further input on the letter (to be sent to the Vigil Co-ordinator). In the meantime Vigil supporters can send our draft letter to their local MPs, or amend it as they please. When we get further input we will be able to write an expanded letter. But time is pressing as any new government emerging from the May elections is unlikely to have time to discuss Zimbabwe. To find your MP, click on http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/, type in your post code or constituency. This will take you to your MP and their contact details.


 


Other points


  • There was a lot of interest in our montage of photos entitled ‘Mugabe falls’. To people who say we shouldn’t poke fun at an old man we say a nonagenarian should not cling to office (without a Vice-President at each elbow).

  • The Vigil is happy to see that more and more Zimbabwean groups are joining in the 21st February protest outside the Embassy. The theme of the protest, organised by Makusha Mugabe of MDC T, is: ‘This must be Mugabe’s last year in office’. There will be full details in next week’s diary.

  • Our friends in the Occupy Africa Unity Square group tell us that one of its members, Jerimos Mugwenhi, has been brutally assaulted by security agents trying get information about the protest. The leader of the group Itai Dzamara, said: ‘We cannot tolerate this any longer’ (for the full email see our campaigns page: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/652-mugwenhi-of-oaus-brutally-assaulted-and-dumped). .

  • The Vigil congratulates Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, for winning the Dod's Parliamentary Award for International Campaigner of the Year. Kate, a staunch friend of the Vigil, says on her website that the situation in Zimbabwe remains grim and Mugabe’s violent misrule still holds back its enormous potential. ‘I will continue to speak out and campaign with Zimbabwe’s democratic forces to work for a better future for their people’.

  • Thanks to Mavis Chisvo, Shingiririrayi Yvonne Bonde, John Burke, Barbara Kachidza,Tanyaradzwa Dhundhu, Linda Sibanda, Fungayi Mabhunu and Veli Mamba for arriving early to help set up the Vigil and to Mavis for looking after the Vigil table throughout the afternoon.

     

    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: 39 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:


  • ROHR Nottingham Revival Meeting. Saturday 14th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Sycamore Centre 31 Hungerhill Rd, Nottingham NG3 4NB. For more information please contact: Chair – Chamunorwa Chisuko 07832927609, Vice chair – Nobuhle Mazula 07766927229, Info and Publicity – Miriam Mutanda 07876388963, Secretary – Anesu Mlauzi 07798641426, Organising Secretary – Harmony Mbele 07783061984, Fundraising – Irvine Huni 07955784981, Treasurer – Audrey Chamangira 07745823435. Directions: catch bus 45 from the city centre near Victoria Centre and get off at Hungerhill bus stop. Cross over the pedestrian crossing to Hungerhill and continue down the hill. It’s a 3 minute walk from the bus stop.

  • Mugabe birthday protest. Saturday 21st February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR. More information to follow.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 21st February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • 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.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 21st February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 21st February from 11.30 am – 2 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW.   For further information contact: Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Nkosi Tshabangu (Vice-Chair) 07535942709, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 28th February at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 28 February from 10.30 am – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Information and Publicity Officer: 07888310582

  • 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 Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.



LAST_UPDATED2
 
test doc PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 09 February 2015 11:58

Dear all who were at the ZAF meeting on 7/2/15

 

As agreed at the meeting I am sending you a draft of a template letter to MPs asking them for support for a parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe. Please let me have any comments by the end of Monday (9/2/15).

 

We were advised at the meeting that Alok Sharma MP was preparing a template letter for Zimbabweans to write to their MPs. I will phone his office to check what progress has been made on this and keep you undated.

 

I look forward to your input.

 

I am a Zimbabwean living in your constituency. I write to ask you to support a suggestion that there should be a parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe.

 

The idea of a debate was supported by former Africa Minister, Mark Simmonds, who kindly spoke to Zimbabweans at a recent meeting in Portcullis House (see Zimbabwe Vigil diary of 24th January 2015: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/650-progress--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-24th-january-2015). He said it had been some years since the House of Commons had last discussed Zimbabwe and it was time for another debate. He was backed in this by Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, who had arranged the meeting at the request of Zimbabweans in his constituency. We were also happy to be addressed by Fiona Mactaggart, MP.

 

I am part of a network of Zimbabweans who are writing to their MPs about the suggestion to drum up support for the debate to be arranged.

 

I am sure you are aware of the dire situation in Zimbabwe, which was recently identified by the Wall Street Journal as the 4th worst economy in the world (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_zim-among-most-repressed-economies-the-zimbabwe-independent/). This partly explains our presence in your generous country.

 

In brief, all elections in Zimbabwe are rigged, there is no rule of law, corruption is rampant and the new constitution – largely paid for by the British taxpayer – is predictably ignored by the Mugabe Mafia. Yet Britain talks of ‘progress’ and is lifting sanctions!

 

We want the debate to ask questions such as:

  1. What is the British Government’s policy on Zimbabwe? (This is unclear at present. Why is the British Government being so ingratiating to the Mugabe regime when all it does is spit in their face?)

  2. Why has the UK lifted targeted sanctions against Mugabe’s cronies when the object for imposing them has not been achieved? (Mark Simmonds spoke of ‘progress’: what progress?)

  3. By resuming direct aid to the Mugabe government the EU is further propping up an illegal regime, allowing it to offload onto donors its obligations to the Zimbabwean people in education, health services etc. (Is the UK in favour of lifting the remaining sanction against Mugabe visiting the EU? It is suggested that the decision is about to be made.)

  4. What is the UK’s policy on sending back Zimbabweans? (It is still unsafe for political activists; there are few jobs and widespread poverty.)

 

Rose Benton

Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinator

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

 

 
Forward to the Stone Age – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st January 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 February 2015 14:10

Mugabe is an appropriate choice as chairman of the African Union (AU). People at the Vigil thought that the ancient dictator, boots licked by cringing cronies, lording it over a cowed and impoverished people, certainly meets the job description.

 

The AU used to be called the Organisation of African Unity until it became so discredited that the name was changed. But as Zimbabweans know all too well, rebranding is just a means of continuing looting under another name. The unreformed organisation remains a club of paranoid megalomaniacs and kleptocrats, with the exceptions coerced into connivance.

 

So who could better fill the role of front man for Africa than Mugabe, ruler of the fourth worst economy in the world according to the Wall Street Journal  (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/
zimsit_w_zim-among-most-repressed-economies-the-zimbabwe-independent/
Zim among ‘most repressed economies’). The AU deserves Mugabe. He will show the world the true face of African leadership.

 

With typical hypocrisy, the South African head of the AU Commission set out the aims of the Summit meeting: ‘Democracy, good governance and human rights’. Well they have found the man for the task. Prepare for a new African Renaissance: this one rebranded as the Stone Age.

 

Mugabe was lucky to escape stoning on his visit to Lusaka the other day when he was met by demonstrators chanting ‘Mugabe must go’. In full-damage limitation mode, the Herald was quick to dismiss the protesters as a ’handful’.  Look at the video to see how many people comprise a Herald handful (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z-yONT73Ho).

 

Other points

  • Joke of the week: the AU is not the only useless international organisation. You could add the EU with its re-engagement with Mugabe policy. But first prize must go the United Nations. It says unemployment is at 5.42% (see:http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/2015/01/20/zimbabwe-unemployment-at-5.42-un - Zimbabwe unemployment at 5.42%: UN). Obviously,anyone selling two tomatoes (or digging their own grave) is counted as employed.

  • Thanks to Epiphania Phiri, Rachel Mudzimba and Eunice Mucherechedzo for helping to set up on a day when we were threatened with snow. Our hearts were lifted by a generous donation from an anonymous supporter.

  • You may be interested in two reports on recent visits to Zimbabwe, the first by the Australia-based Moses Chomboko of Zimbabweans United for Democracy (Zunde), which is joining us for the 21st February protest (see:  http://nehandaradio.com
    2015/01/23/zimbabwe-must-worse-somalia-admit-failure/
    ). The other report is by Australian former government minister Peter Costello (see:
    Zimbabwean Diary –   http://www.spectator.co.uk/australia/australia-diary/
    9422362/zimbabwean-diary/
    ). He says he looks forward to visiting Mugabe in Heroes’ Acre.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum will meet after the Vigil on 7th February and will discuss how to further a suggestion that there should be a UK parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe. We propose to put together a letter which supporters can send to the MPs to encourage them to support the debate in parliament. If you can’t come to the meeting you are welcome to email your input to co-ordinator@zimvigil.co.uk. The proposal for a parliamentary debate has gained a lot of traction.

     

    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: 20 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 7th February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • 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.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 14th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Mugabe birthday protest. Saturday 21st February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR. More information to follow.

  • ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 21st February from 11.30 am – 2 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW.   For further information contact: Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Nkosi Tshabangu (Vice-Chair) 07535942709, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 28th February at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 28 February from 10.30 am – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Information and Publicity Officer: 07888310582

  • 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 Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.

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Campaign for Parliamentary Debate – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th February 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 09 February 2015 12:11

link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/16282015089/sizes/z/

Zimbabweans in the UK have launched a campaign to persuade MPs to ask for a parliamentary debate on the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe in the fallow period before the UK general elections on 7th May.

MPs have little parliamentary business to attend to in the next three months and the Vigil understands they are being given time off to campaign in their constituencies. We believe this is a window of opportunity to press for a parliamentary discussion of the British government’s policy on Zimbabwe. After all, even if they are not British citizens, Zimbabweans have a right to vote here.

The Zimbabwe Action Forum, meeting after the Vigil, discussed a template letter people could send to their MPs calling for a debate:

Dear MP

I am a Zimbabwean living in your constituency. I write to ask you to support a suggestion that there should be a parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe.

The idea of a debate was supported by former Africa Minister, Mark Simmonds, who kindly spoke to Zimbabweans at a recent meeting in Portcullis House (see Zimbabwe Vigil diary of 24th January 2015: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/650-progress--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-24th-january-2015). He said it had been some years since the House of Commons had last discussed Zimbabwe and it was time for another debate. He was backed in this by Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, who had arranged the meeting at the request of Zimbabweans in his constituency. We were also happy to be addressed by Fiona Mactaggart, MP.

I am part of a network of Zimbabweans who are writing to their MPs to drum up support for the debate to be arranged.

I am sure you are aware of the dire situation in Zimbabwe, which was recently identified by the Wall Street Journal as the 4th worst economy in the world (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_zim-among-most-repressed-economies-the-zimbabwe-independent/). This partly explains our presence in your generous country.

In brief, all elections in Zimbabwe are rigged, there is no rule of law, corruption is rampant and the new constitution – largely paid for by the British taxpayer – is predictably ignored by the Mugabe Mafia. Yet Britain talks of ‘progress’ and is lifting sanctions!

We want the debate to ask questions such as:

  1. What is the British Government’s policy on Zimbabwe? (This is unclear at present. Why is the British Government being so ingratiating to the Mugabe regime when all it does is spit in their face?)

  2. Why has the UK lifted targeted sanctions against Mugabe’s cronies when the object for imposing them has not been achieved? (Mark Simmonds spoke of ‘progress’: what progress?)

  3. By resuming direct aid to the Mugabe government the EU is further propping up an illegal regime, allowing it to offload onto donors its obligations to the Zimbabwean people in education, health services etc.

  4. What is the UK’s policy on sending back Zimbabweans? (It is still unsafe for political activists; there are few jobs and widespread poverty.)

The Forum invited further input on the letter (to be sent to the Vigil Co-ordinator). In the meantime Vigil supporters can send our draft letter to their local MPs, or amend it as they please. When we get further input we will be able to write an expanded letter. But time is pressing as any new government emerging from the May elections is unlikely to have time to discuss Zimbabwe. To find your MP, click on http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/, type in your post code or constituency. This will take you to your MP and their contact details.

Other points

  • There was a lot of interest in our montage of photos entitled ‘Mugabe falls’. To people who say we shouldn’t poke fun at an old man we say a nonagenarian should not cling to office (without a Vice-President at each elbow).

  • The Vigil is happy to see that more and more Zimbabwean groups are joining in the 21st February protest outside the Embassy. The theme of the protest, organised by Makusha Mugabe of MDC T, is: ‘This must be Mugabe’s last year in office’. There will be full details in next week’s diary.

  • Our friends in the Occupy Africa Unity Square group tell us that one of its members, Jerimos Mugwenhi, has been brutally assaulted by security agents trying get information about the protest. The leader of the group Itai Dzamara, said: ‘We cannot tolerate this any longer’ (for the full email see our campaigns page: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/652-mugwenhi-of-oaus-brutally-assaulted-and-dumped). .

  • The Vigil congratulates Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, for winning the Dod's Parliamentary Award for International Campaigner of the Year. Kate, a staunch friend of the Vigil, says on her website that the situation in Zimbabwe remains grim and Mugabe’s violent misrule still holds back its enormous potential. ‘I will continue to speak out and campaign with Zimbabwe’s democratic forces to work for a better future for their people’.

  • Thanks to Mavis Chisvo, Shingiririrayi Yvonne Bonde, John Burke, Barbara Kachidza,Tanyaradzwa Dhundhu, Linda Sibanda, Fungayi Mabhunu and Veli Mamba for arriving early to help set up the Vigil and to Mavis for looking after the Vigil table throughout the afternoon.

     

    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: 39 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Nottingham Revival Meeting. Saturday 14th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Sycamore Centre 31 Hungerhill Rd, Nottingham NG3 4NB. For more information please contact: Chair – Chamunorwa Chisuko 07832927609, Vice chair – Nobuhle Mazula 07766927229, Info and Publicity – Miriam Mutanda 07876388963, Secretary – Anesu Mlauzi 07798641426, Organising Secretary – Harmony Mbele 07783061984, Fundraising – Irvine Huni 07955784981, Treasurer – Audrey Chamangira 07745823435. Directions: catch bus 45 from the city centre near Victoria Centre and get off at Hungerhill bus stop. Cross over the pedestrian crossing to Hungerhill and continue down the hill. It’s a 3 minute walk from the bus stop.

  • Mugabe birthday protest. Saturday 21st February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR. More information to follow.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 21st February from 6.15 pm. Venue: to be advised.

  • 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.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 21st February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 21st February from 11.30 am – 2 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW. For further information contact: Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Nkosi Tshabangu (Vice-Chair) 07535942709, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 28th February at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 28 February from 10.30 am – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Information and Publicity Officer: 07888310582

  • 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 Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Progress? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th January 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 January 2015 14:41

Zimbabweans in the UK have welcomed the prospect of a parliamentary debate on the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe as a means of questioning the British policy of re-engaging with Mugabe.

 

‘We want the British government to tell us what they mean by progress in Zimbabwe’ said Ephraim Tapa, President of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). He was referring to a remark by former Africa Minister Mark Simmonds at a meeting in Parliament on Monday which was organised by the MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma, after being approached by ROHR’s Reading branch.

 

Mr Sharma, hearing the anxieties expressed by the large number of Zimbabweans, raised the possibility of a parliamentary debate because it was some years since Zimbabwe had last been discussed in Parliament.

 

The idea was supported by Mr Simmonds, one of two other MPs who attended the meeting. He said the British government had a policy of ‘incremental engagement with the Zimbabwean government’ even though it was clear that the 2013 elections had not been legitimate.

 

He said there was concern in the region about the situation and there would be ‘real problems’ for Zimbabwe’s international relations if Grace became president. Nevertheless, Mr Simmonds spoke of ‘small steps of progress’, echoing the official British and EU diplomatic line.

 

Ephraim Tapa and others argued that Zimbabwe remained in crisis with rampant corruption, a compromised judiciary, a culture of impunity, with the regime being backed by the military and violence remaining a tool of control. After the meeting, Ephraim elaborated: ‘Mr Simmonds spoke of progress but there has been no progress. The situation has clearly worsened since the 2013 elections. Yes, there is a new constitution but it has not been implemented and Zanu PF is tearing itself apart with no idea how to get out of the massive hole it has dug itself into’.

 

But Ephraim welcomed the idea of a parliamentary debate. ‘It is necessary to interrogate the British government’s policy as it is not at all clear what it hopes to achieve’. Millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money in aid was helping prop up the regime.

 

He urged Zimbabweans in the UK to enlist the support of their local MP to back the suggestion of a debate. A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum is to be held after the Vigil on 7th February to discuss a template letter outlining reasons why Zimbabwe should be discussed in Parliament.

 

Despite the claimed ‘progress’ in Zimbabwe the Vigil notes the following comments in the Foreign Office’s latest update on Zimbabwe  (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/zimbabwe-country-of-concern/zimbabwe-country-of-concern-latest-update-31-december-2014 - Zimbabwe - country of concern: latest update 31 December 2014):

  • The UK government remains concerned about politically-inspired violence and harassment, repressive legislation and limited media freedom

  • Progress to align legislation with the constitution remains disappointingly slow and limited to less sensitive areas

  • We are concerned by the continued use of oppression by police to stop legitimate peaceful protests and to limit freedom of expression

  • We are particularly concerned by incidents of reported hate speech used by the First Lady Grace Mugabe. On 6 October, Grace Mugabe was quoted as saying that she would “spill blood” if anyone attempted to remove her from her Mazoe farm, illegally appropriated from a white commercial farm owner

  • We continue to remain concerned by the general lack of respect for the rule of law in Zimbabwe, particularly over property rights and security of land tenure

  • Individuals, particularly those with a high profile, remain encouraged to take the law into their own hands.

     

    This is progress?

     

    In his remarks to the meeting Mr Simmonds noted ‘some African countries are starting to get it right and serve the people’. He mentioned Mozambique among others in the region and the Vigil welcomes comments by Mozambique’s new President Filipe Nyusi (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_the-people-are-my-only-boss-nyusi/). In his first speech as Head of State, President Nyusi said he was open to considering proposals from opposition political parties. “Good ideas have no political party colours”, he said. He pledged “respect for plurality and diversity of opinions”. Nobody would be left out just because they thought differently. We remember when Mozambique used to be the poor relation of Zimbabwe. Now the situation is reversed.

     

    (In a quick report on Monday’s meeting we mentioned it had been addressed by a representative of the Occupy Africa Unity Square group. We apologise for getting his name wrong – he is David Mbinga not David Mbeki.)

     

    Other points

  • MDC-T is joining with the Vigil and other organisations to stage a demonstration on 21st February – Mugabe’s 91st birthday – protesting at the failure of his government and his refusal to hold free and fair elections. More details to come. Now that Mugabe is at home recovering from his holiday there is speculation about where his final resting place will be. One suggestion is the Zimbabwe ruins.

  • We have been invited to the British premiere of a film ‘Democrats’ by a Danish filmmaker on 5th February about the process of drawing up the new Zimbabwe constitution. For more information see: http://www.dochouse.org/film-screening/DEMOCRATS---UK-Premiere--QandA-with/417. 

    The Vigil has been asked by Paul Westwood to draw attention to his petition about the seizure of his company by Temba Mliswa, nephew of Didymus Mutasa. See: http://twitter.com/PaulPaulus13/status/464388746599620609. Perhaps Mr Westwood could pursue the Mutasa girlfriends now in Europe who were given looted farms (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_ex-minister-gave-15-farms-to-wives-lovers-the-sunday-mail/Ex-minister gave 15 farms to wives, lovers).

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Mavis Chisvo, Rachel Mudzimba, Ravie Mashingaidze, Paul Fusire and Fungayi Mabhunu. Thanks to Mavis and Helen Rukimbiro for looking after the Vigil table throughout the afternoon.

     

    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: 24 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 31st January at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 31st January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 7th February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • 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.

  • Mugabe birthday protest. Saturday 21st February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR. More information to follow.

  • ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 21st February 2015 from 11.30 am – 2 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW.   For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Nkosi Tshabangu (Vice-Chair) 07535942709, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803,

  • 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 Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.

 
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