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Tell us the good news – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd February 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:18

The EU’s fawning climbdown over sanctions has predictably been scorned by Zanu PF who will now harp on about the ‘victimisation’ of Mugabe and his wife. As the EU has now given the green light to Mugabe’s security thugs, murderers and looters, it would have been sensible to suspend all the sanctions. But there is nothing sensible about the EU’s abject decision.

 

Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, justifies the move by saying there has been progress in Zimbabwe (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_12474/ - EU Declaration on the review of EU-Zimbabwe relations 19 February 2014). We at the Vigil haven’t seen any progress at all. If anything, things have got worse.

 

As the opposition MP Eddie Cross says, the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated sharply on many fronts: economic, political, diplomatic and in general governance. Baroness Ashton talks in her statement about hopes for ‘further’ improvement in the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans. This suggests there has been some improvement that Mr Cross for one has not seen. He says ‘The great majority are living in absolute poverty and despair’ and notes: ‘I have never seen confidence levels so low. People have no faith in their political leaders, no faith in our institutions and no faith in the police or any other of our service agencies.’ (See: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/news/analysis/70575/we-have-lost-the-way.html – We have lost the way).

 

Here’s a letter we are sending to Baroness Ashton:

 

Dear Baroness Ashton,

 

We have read your statement on EU-Zimbabwe relations and are surprised at your comment that there has been progress in Zimbabwe. We Zimbabweans forced into exile closely follow events at home and have seen no progress whatsoever.

 

President Ian Khama of Botswana supports our view that the July elections were rigged by Mugabe. The new constitution is not being observed, as the recent beating up of peaceful demonstrators confirms. There has been no improvement in the economy and instead we have official admission of widespread corruption.

 

We ask you: What is the good news from Zimbabwe that the EU uses to justify the suspension of targeted measures against the Mugabe regime?

 

The letter to Baroness Ashton is not the only letter the Vigil has written this week. As mentioned in last week’s diary, the Vigil has again been libeled by the UK Border Agency. We have sent the following letter to the Home Secretary Theresa May.

 

‘One of our supporters, Joseph Chivayo, has received a document from the Home Office about his asylum case which includes the following paragraph: ‘Regard is given to the letter from Rose Benton dated 14/09/2013, the Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinator stating that you have been particularly helpful in coming on time to help set up the vigil. Objective evidence raised public awareness that the Zimbabwe vigil was exploiting asylum seekers in the UK and would on the payment of a fee issue a letter to state attendance at the vigil (www.nehandaradio.com/2009/06/30/rohr-zimvigil-exploiting-asylum-seekers). Therefore no weight is attached to the production of this letter.’

 

‘Here is his email of complaint to us: ‘Please find attached part of the document I received from the Home Office. As I mentioned before their claims are seriously flawed and the fact that they use a report from a online tiny publication to discredit Zim Vigil is quite shocking and shows true lack of understanding of what we do and how we carry out peaceful protest at Zimbabwe House. Do they even know who funded that particular article in 2009 and what their motive was? While a letter to counter some of those claims mentioned here will be good, I think overally we need to ensure they understand how we operate and the level of responsibility, dedication and transparency that we operate as. They seem to overlook the simple fact that Zimbabwe House is manned and operated by CIO operatives and they surely monitor and report back on our activism activities. The Vigil itself was formed on a non-violent standing and to date we show our disgust to ZANU PF and their inner cronies through our consistent peaceful protest every weekend for more than 10 years now, so for the Home Office to suggest my activities at the Zim Vigil are very low level activism shows lack of understanding on how we operate and dedication shown by Vigil supporters who regardless of the fact that most live on the breadline sacrifice week in and out to attend and have their say while we pray and hope the world is watching and listening. Please take a look at it and see how you can help.’

 

‘Enclosed is a scan of the relevant page about the Vigil in the information provided to Joseph by the Home Office.

 

‘The Vigil would like to point out that three years ago the UK Border Agency apologised for this libel of the Vigil and assured us that this allegation would be disregarded (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/323-text-of-letter-from-ukba-to-the-zimbabwe-vigil). 

 

‘We object most strongly to the repetition of this libel and ask for a new undertaking that the UKBA staff will stop their cut-and-paste approach to asylum cases involving Zimbabwe Vigil supporters. We draw your attention to the following commentary in the Vigil’s diary (see Vigil diaries: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/315-home-office-a-disgrace-objective-evidence-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-25th-june-2011 and http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/324-uk-border-agency-says-sorry-to-vigil-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-23rd-july-2011).

 

‘We are alarmed that Vigil activists are not being given a fair hearing. Of special concern are Deborah Harry whose date for deportation was today and who we are informed has just been removed from Yarlswood today and Try Mahachi currently at Dover Detention Centre who has been given a removal date of Wednesday 26th February.

 

‘As Joseph explains in his email to us, no person associated with the Vigil could be confident of a welcome back in Zimbabwe.’

 

The Vigil is particularly irritated because all our letters to the Home Office about asylum seekers carry the following:

 

‘IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: It has come to our attention that some asylum tribunal judges and UKBA officials have misconceptions about the Vigil. Misinformation from Zimbabwe media sites has been used by UKBA officials to discredit the authenticity of Vigil letters – please check: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/323-text-of-letter-from-ukba-to-the-zimbabwe-vigil for text of letter from UKBA confirming this information should not used in this way. The Vigil does not issue membership cards. Our supporters sign a register weekly and we log this information on our attendance database.  Our flickr photo website is password protected and photos can only be uploaded by Vigil personnel.’

 

Other points

  • The Vigil marked Mugabe’s 90th birthday with a little tableau consisting of Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Mugabe mask sleeping in a chair while his limbs were manipulated by strings. Unfortunately we couldn’t capture the ‘slurring and rambling’ that the London Times detected in Mugabe’s television interview.

  • Fungayi reported that – contrary to Baroness Ashton’s optimistic picture – his family in Zimbabwe say people are so desperate that violence could erupt.

  • This, of course, would be denied by Zanu PF’s white groupies whose support for Mugabe has shocked the astute observer Cathy Buckle (see: http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=154 – Utterly shameful).

  • We are pleased to say that our supporter Deborah Harry, who was due to be deported on Friday, is still in the UK.  

  • Thanks to Michelle Dube for climbing on the table to put up the high banners and to Helen Rukambiro and Caroline Witts for looking after the front table. Caroline, from Devon, brought with her a copy of Cathy Buckle’s new book of her letters: ‘Can you hear the Drums’ which is available from her website: www.cathybuckle.com.

     

    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: 37 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 February – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; 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 Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st March from 6.15 pm. 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.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 8th March from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th March from 12 noon. Venue: to be advised.

  • ROHR Reading branch general meeting. Saturday 15th March from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu (Chairman) 07877386792, Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582.

  • 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.

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

 
Boycott EU / AU meeting – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th February 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 February 2014 14:48

The Vigil is writing to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to boycott the EU / AU Summit in Brussels on 2 / 3 April if Mugabe attends. We think he should follow the example of his predecessor Gordon Brown who refused to attend an EU / AU Summit in Lisbon in 2007.

 

A large group from the Vigil stood in for Mr Brown in Lisbon, drawing attention to the human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe, who was reduced to hiring prostitutes from a local brothel to bulk up a counter demonstration led by the UK-based Zimbabwean ‘academic’ George Shiri (see our diaries of December 2007: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/diary-archive/115-vigil-diary-archive-dec-2007).

 

Another Zanu PF apologist, Blessing-Miles Tendi of Oxford University, now says in an article in (predictably) the UK Guardian newspaper that boycotting would be ‘both hypocritical and silly’. The Vigil believes that, on the contrary, a boycott would be both principled and sensible (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2014/02/11/britain-urged-boycott-mugabe/Britain urged to boycott Mugabe).

 

Mr Tendi thinks that Britain needs to mend fences with Mugabe: perhaps grovel a bit, apologise, invite him to Buckingham Palace again, restore his Harrods card, or better still rename Jermyn Street after him . . . The Vigil thinks it is the other way round. Mugabe needs to mend fences with the UK.

 

But Mugabe is not the sprightly nonagenarian portrayed by Mr Tendi. He may perhaps be able to stay awake long enough in Brussels to spew vitriol at the West for keeping Zimbabweans alive but his regime is simply beyond redemption. It has shown that it is incapable of changing course. All it can do is engorge itself until it bursts – like a broiler chicken.

 

Mr Tendi seems to think that because other African leaders invited to the Summit are murderers and thieves Mugabe must be acceptable. The Vigil does not buy this. The so-called sanctions were imposed on Mugabe and his cronies because of human rights abuses. There is overwhelming evidence that last July’s elections were stolen so his regime is illegitimate. Why then should sanctions be lifted?  

 

The UK remains the biggest donor of humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe. it has made it clear it would do more to help our country but Mugabe’s destructive policies and the rampant corruption of the Zanu PF regime make this impossible – not sanctions. To embrace Mugabe now would be to condone his odious rule which has reduced Zimbabwe from being one of the most prosperous countries in Africa to one of the poorest. For all their faults, you can’t say this about Angola’s Dos Santos, Swaziland’s Mswati III etc.

 

As for monsters like Dos Santos and Mswati masquerading as African leaders at the Brussels summit: we wish they would be treated in the same way as we would wish the EU to treat Mugabe. That’s not hypocrisy, it’s principle; it’s not silly, it’s sensible – if Africa is ever to more forward to real democracy.

 

Here’s our letter to Mr Cameron:

 

Seven years’ ago your predecessor Gordon Brown judged it unacceptable to sit at a table with Robert Mugabe at an EU / AU Summit in Lisbon. We understand Mugabe has been invited to a similar summit in Brussels in April. Exiled Zimbabweans believe you should follow Mr Brown’s example.

 

We ask: what has changed since Mr Brown took his stand? We believe the situation has got even worse, with stolen elections in 2008 and stolen elections last year. Recent revelations in the official media in Zimbabwe confirm how totally corrupt the Mugabe regime is. Our view is that no dialogue is possible with Mugabe’s Zanu PF and EU countries are deluded if they think they can do deals with a corrupt regime.

 

Other points

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

  • ROHR Slough branch general meeting. Saturday 22nd February 2014 from 11.30 am – 2 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough Sl2 5JW. For further details contact Patricia Masamba, Vice Chair 07708116625 or Grace Nyaumwe, Chair 07850284506.

  • ROHR Leicester branch meeting. Saturday 22nd February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: 32 Darley Street, Leicester LE2 0GA. Contact: Enniah Dube 07403 439 707, Hilda Gwesele 07939 127 819, Bryne Mashonganyika 07450 547 313. The last hour is a fundraising tea party – charge £5 per head.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 February – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; 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 Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st March from 6.15 pm. 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 Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th March from 12 noon. Venue: to be advised.

  • ROHR Reading branch general meeting. Saturday 15th March from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu (Chairman) 07877386792, Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582.

  • 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.

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

 
Financing Mugabe’s Looters – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th February 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 20:11

The Vigil is advising the British government not to agree to Mugabe’s request to pay for the education of 750,000 Zimbabwean primary school children. The British government last month said it was considering the request. But the Vigil believes that if Mugabe deals with rampant corruption his regime would be able to honour the constitutional requirement that basic education must be compulsory and free (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_zimbabwe-fails-to-pay-fees-for-750000-desperate-children/Zimbabwe Fails to Pay Fees for 750,000 Desperate Children).

 

The Vigil’s view is explained in a letter to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID). Our letter follows up DFID’s response to concerns we expressed about development assistance to Zimbabwe falling into the hands of the rapacious Mugabe gang (see Vigil diary of 7th December 2013: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/551-mugabe-grabs-aid-money-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-7th-december-2013).

 

DFID acknowledges that some British money had been routed through the Mugabe regime in contravention of DFID’s funding policy in Zimbabwe and said it was strengthening its controls ‘to ensure that there can be no repeat of this kind of mistake in future’ (see our campaigns page for full text of DFID’s letter: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/565-reply-from-dfid--6th-february-2014).  Here’s our reply to Ms Greening:

 

The Zimbabwe Vigil is glad to hear from your Department that you will continue to monitor every penny of UK aid being used to help the people of Zimbabwe and will undertake robust due diligence on all your ‘ implementing partners’.

 

We are grateful for the UK’s continuing humanitarian relief for Zimbabwe in the face of ungrateful insults from the Zanu PF regime but we have doubts that foreign aid will benefit the people of Zimbabwe rather than prop up the illegal regime.

 

In particular, the Vigil advises you not to agree to Mugabe’s request to pay for the education of 750.000 Zimbabwean primary school children. Recent revelations from the heart of the Zanu PF mafia have exposed how Zimbabwe has been impoverished by corruption on an Olympian scale. While the average income is a dollar or so a day, the Zanu PF cronies running the bankrupt parastatal organisations are having to scrape by on as little as US$500,000 a month (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_ministers-slept-on-duty-charamba-newsday-zimbabwe/Ministers slept on duty – Charamba).

 

The Vigil believes that if this looting was stopped there would be plenty of money to pay for all deprived Zimbabwean primary school children to go to school. We think Mugabe’s funding request is particularly provocative because he is challenging you to, in effect, finance his looting of the Zimbabwean economy.

 

Other points

  • The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia is reported to have said that Mugabe has been invited to attend the AU / EU summit scheduled for Brussels on 2 / 3 April. The Vigil would be disgusted if this is true but if he does go to Belgium for a nonagenarian sleepover, we will be there to try and keep him awake.

  • Our sister organisation, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), staged a protest demonstration in Harare on Friday in a show of support for Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni’s fight to cleanse the city council of corruption. (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_harare-residents-march-in-support-of-mayor/Harare residents march in support of Mayor).

  • We are distressed that our good supporter Try Mahachi has been detained facing deportation to Zimbabwe. Try has played a powerful role at the Vigil, leading the singing, drumming and prayer and we will do all we can to secure his safety.

  • People at home have had heavy rains and flooding but we think we have had worse here in the UK. After the wettest January for 250 years, February has been no improvement. We started the Vigil in  pouring rain and strong winds  which even blew over our heavy table. Thanks to those who valiantly guarded the Vigil and put up the tarpaulin: Bridget Zhakata, Audrey Mandaza (and small daughter Mwanatsa), Rosemary Maponga, Tendayi Chataika, Sekai Kawada, Tarsisos Gomwe, Patricia Nyawo and Fungayi Mabhunu. Particular thanks to Fungayi who got soaked tying the cat’s cradle of rope to our four maple trees to support the tarpaulin.

     

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

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 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 15th February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

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

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting. Saturday 15th March from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu (Chairman) 07877386792, Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582.

  • 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.

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

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Mugabe’s Square Egg – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st February 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 14:36

A delegation took time out from the Vigil to go across London to the Botswana High Commission to deliver a letter of thanks to President Ian Khama for denouncing SADC’s endorsement of Zimbabwe’s rigged elections. The delegation carried posters reading: ‘Zimbabwe Vigil salutes Botswana’ and ‘Thank You President Khama’.

 

The letter reads: Exiled Zimbabweans at the Zimbabwe Vigil in London were heartened to read that Botswana will refuse to participate in future SADC observer missions because of SADC’s acceptance of vote rigging in Zimbabwe’s elections last July.

 

We agreed with your comment on Botswana national television that the elections were neither free nor fair and that SADC has breached its own election guidelines by letting Zimbabwe ‘off the hook’. Like you we fear that this makes it difficult to expect other SADC countries to abide by the election guidelines.

 

We note that Botswana has called for an audit of the election results but we fear this is impossible as Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has just upheld a lower court ruling that there was no urgency in hearing the MDC appeal asking the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the voters’ roll.

 

The voters’ roll is the smoking gun to the election rigging by Mugabe. It was expected to be released at least one month before the elections but now, six months after the elections, its release is apparently not urgent! Mugabe has clearly decided to sit on it: he is a chicken who has laid a square egg.

 

We hope that Botswana will support the Vigil’s demand that new elections be held in Zimbabwe that will meet the SADC election guidelines.

 

All freedom loving people of SADC salute you sir. You are a beacon of hope at a time when our region and continent need someone they can look up to.’

 

The Vigil is sending a copy of this letter to the current chair of SADC, President Joyce Banda of Malawi. We are taking the opportunity of drawing SADC’s attention to the 2014 report of Human Rights Watch. The report says SADC and the AU have ‘weakened international efforts to ensure restoration of the rule of law and respect for human rights’ in Zimbabwe by endorsing the July elections (see: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2014/01/24/sadc-au-slammed-zim-polls/ - SADC, AU slammed over polls).

 

But in truth the Vigil does not expect much from President Banda who has enlisted the help of the discredited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to secure her re-election in May . . .

 

Other points

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 8th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 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 15th February from 12 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson.

  • 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.

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

 
What country friends is this? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th January 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 26 January 2014 16:34

The Vigil is to protest at a Zanu PF-backed visit to London by a delegation of Zimbabwean business leaders. The demonstration will take place on Tuesday outside the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House where the delegation will be appealing for international investment and the removal of targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.

 

The delegation is led by Charles Msipa, President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and Managing Director of Schweppes Zimbabwe.  Mr Msipa is said to be a member of a secret business committee of Zanu PF for which he mobilises funds. He played a big role in the farm invasions and is a close ally of former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, the looter in chief of state diamonds.

 

The once-respected Chatham House think tank has bent over backwards in recent years to sanitise Mugabe’s misrule. The meeting is private but we are told that the invitation to the select few reads: ‘With five consecutive years of positive growth, prospects for investment in Zimbabwe remain strong and as the dust from the election period settles the government is increasingly looking towards attracting international investors as a means of boosting further economic recovery in the country.’

 

We at the Vigil want to show them that they are wrong in thinking the ‘dust’ from the stolen elections is settling. We have asked well-known people in Zimbabwe what they think of the delegation. Here are their comments:

  • ‘There can be no real progress here until they recognise certain fundamentals – international recognition (more than the lifting of restrictions on a few individuals), the rule of law, respect for property rights, indigenisation (another form of asset grabbing). At the same time we must deal with corruption at all levels – but start at the top.’

  • ‘In local business there is huge capital flight at the moment because business confidence is so incredibly low.  Companies continue to close.  It will take more than a few sweet words from some ZANU businessmen in Chatham House to convince anyone that any investment in Zimbabwe will be safe when we look at the current laws, the past history and the policies and practices of the present!’   

  • ‘As long as there is an absence of the rule of law and property rights, and while threats hang over foreign businesses, investors will not come. It’s obvious. No-one trusts the Mugabe government; not even the Chinese. Chinamasa looked pretty glum when China, like the IMF and the World Bank, first wanted to see clear cut and credible recovery and repayment plans. Looking at the global economy, investment is shifting away from emerging markets – even South Africa, where growth in slowing. So what chance does Zimbabwe have?’

     

    Our contacts referred us to recent comments by the former Finance Minister Tendai Biti. Here’s what he said about Zanu PF’s economic policies: ‘The biggest problem with Zanu PF is that they don’t understand money and the economy. They are functionally illiterate. They think that money grows on trees. People just believe in spending, spending, spending. It’s like a broiler chicken. The broiler just eats. It doesn’t know why it’s eating. It eats itself to death. It’s consumption for the sake of consumption. It’s oblivious of where the food is coming from. It just eats 24 hours a day. So they have got a broiler chicken syndrome, they are oblivious kuti mari inobva kupi.’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_biti-attacks-ailing-mugabe-warns-of-coup/ Biti attacks ailing Mugabe, warns of coup).

     

    As we are not allowed into the meeting, we suggest the following questions might be asked of the broiler chickens:

  • For details of the Chatham House demo on Tuesday 28th January see ‘Events and Notices’ section.

  • The Vigil was caught short by sudden torrential rain and we had to hastily put up our tarpaulin. Thanks to Ishmael Makina, Nkosikona Tshabangu and Kelvin Kamupira who got soaked to the skin putting up the tarpaulin and Bridget Zhakata and Shylette Chipangura who stood guard at our table in the pouring rain.

  • Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu appears in a video discussing the film ‘The King and the People’ about the absolute monarchy of King Mswati of Swaziland (http://www.watershed.co.uk/dshed/king-and-people-directors-qa).

  • See below for the last quarter summary of the 2013 Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights (October – December).

     

    Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013: October – December 

    Saturday 5th October: Up to a quarter of Zimbabwe’s people have fled the country – among them the best educated. Reading the Herald one can see the disastrous result of this exodus. ‘Elementary studies of economics inform us that production occurs in three levels which are primary, secondary and tertiary and of the late, the fourth level which is quaternary’, goes one article The writer says a ‘paradigm shift’ in Zimbabwe is ‘the panacea that will lift our nation from the doldrums of quagmire that the economic forces of this age have relegated us to’ . . . The reality is that the flight from Zimbabwe looks, if anything, like increasing as NoPresident Mugabe reneges on his election promises of pay rises, investment in industry etc and the economy moves from primary to secondary and tertiary then ‘quaternary’.

    Saturday 12th October: With the UN Secretary-General’s congratulations on his election ‘victory’ ringing in his ears, NoPresident Mugabe ventured to join us at the Vigil as we marked our 11th anniversary. Played by Vigil stalwart Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing our Mugabe mask, he carried a poster reading ‘Thanks UN’. Betrayed by SADC, the AU, the EU and now the UN, Zimbabweans have been abandoned to our fate. How the diaspora can help the people at home was discussed at a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil. The forum was addressed by Ephraim Tapa, Vigil founder member, who is to chair the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ All-Stakeholders’ Conference which is to be held in London on 24th October.

    Saturday 19th October: The Vigil’s initiative in arranging a diaspora conference in London has met with predictable abuse by Zanu PF trolls prowling the internet. We think every CIO agent – when they are not out beating people up – spends his office hours in cyber disinformation in the relentless war against truth. Zanu PF’s latest flatulent blueprint  Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) is no asset as far as we can see. It says: ‘Government would among other things undertake a national blitz to rehabilitate water supplies, sewerage systems, roads, health facilities and schools in all urban centres, institute measures to improve processes at the Registrar General’s Office by December 2013 . . .’ Fat chance!

    Thursday 24th October: Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe was a keynote speaker at the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ conference. Kate deplored international acceptance of the outcome of the sham elections. She said it was up to the diaspora to create a powerful voice to make the UK government listen – particularly about sanctions when they come up for debate in the EU in February. She said the diaspora had a responsibility to let the world know what was happening in Zimbabwe and went on to describe the Vigil as ‘a shining light these long years’ and added ‘you have been right when politicians have been wrong’. The conference was attended by about 70 people and messages of support came from the US, South Africa, Australia and Zimbabwe.

    Saturday 26th October:  The Vigil is sending a note to the Home Office asking whether they rejoice in the presence in the UK of London-based Bishop Climate Irungu, ‘founder of World Conquerors Christian Centre’, who said ‘the people of Zimbabwe rejoiced in their current leadership’. We advise the Home Office to also look into Spirit Embassy founder Prophet Angel who says he’s worth more than $60 million and has interests in the United Kingdom. ‘Money makes me happy and I have lots of it.’ he said to thunderous applause.

    Saturday 2nd November: The Zimbabwean diaspora speaking from London has rejected the 31st July elections as rigged and has demanded new elections under international supervision after promised reforms have been made. It wants the opposition in Zimbabwe to resist Mugabe at every step and challenge him on issues such as the diaspora vote, dual nationality and the position of so-called aliens. These decisions were made at a meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil. In attendance were members of a task force nominated at the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ Conference to carry forward the work of the conference.

    Friday 8th November: Police were called to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, otherwise known as Chatham House, when a group of Vigil supporters staged a demonstration protesting at the recognition given to Mugabe’s visiting Tourism Minister (and farm looter) Walter Mzembi. Mzembi had been invited to speak during his visit to London for an international tourism conference. African diplomats in dapper black suits and shiny black shoes glared poison at the demonstrators as they went into the venue. Soon afterwards a police van arrived and a policeman went into Chatham House. He quickly re-emerged and gave us a friendly wave before driving off. (We had arranged police permission for the protest.) 1 – 0 to the Vigil.

    Saturday 9th November: It is already clear that manipulation by the mercenary Israeli company Nikuv was a decisive factor in Mugabe’s ‘victory’. The Vigil is sending an open letter to the Israeli Prime Minister and the people of Israel: For the last 33 years Zimbabweans have been fighting to end the Mugabe dictatorship so they too can enjoy the fruits of democracy and good governance. It is wholly unacceptable that their hopes for a better future were once again ruthlessly dashed because Mugabe had help from an Israeli company Nikuv. Nikuv corrupted the voters roll so that nearly one million voters were denied the right to vote on election-day. It is no exaggeration to say it was Nikuv which delivered election victory to Mugabe considering the tyrant's winning margin was one million.

    Saturday 16th November: At a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil, it was agreed to approach Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for advice on legal options open to us to challenge the rigged elections. Also discussed were calls by some MDC leaders for the lifting of the targeted measures against Mugabe cronies on the grounds that these sanctions provided a fig-leaf for Mugabe’s mis-governance. The Vigil’s view is that sanctions should be continued and indeed extended to include those who rigged the elections.

    Saturday 23rd November: As winter closes in on us at the Vigil, we are in despair at Zimbabwe’s hopeless government. We read that MDC MP Eddie Cross says that nothing is being done to tackle corruption. He says: ‘I cannot think of a single Minister (perhaps one and even he is questionable) that is not guilty of gross corruption.’

    Friday 29th November: We are grateful to Wilbert Mukori for representing us at a conference in Holland organised by the Zimbabwe Europe Network. He said it was clear the EU wanted to lift sanctions and they were prepared to accept the elections even though they know they were rigged.

    Saturday 30th November: The Vigil is launching a campaign to alert British MPs and other opinion formers to the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe as the EU moves to lift the remaining targeted measures. Supporters are being asked to send the following letter to MPs etc: Zimbabweans in the UK are grateful for the sanctuary we have been given here in these desperate days for our homeland . . . Our hopes of change were dashed in July when the elections were stolen with the help of the Chinese and the Israeli ballot-rigging company, Nikuv, ending the four year coalition with the Movement for Democratic Change . . . The end of the restraining MDC influence on the government and the exposure of the hollowness of Zanu PF election promises threaten to lead to a new lurch to a North Korean-type siege mentality. 

    Saturday 7th December: 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 instead pay for the illegal regime’s pie-in-the-sky economic development plan. The Vigil is sending an open letter to the UK’s International Development Secretary: 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 . .  Vigil supporters joined mourners outside the nearby South African High Commission. We recall how when Mandela visited London in 2008 we 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.

    Saturday 14th December: 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.

    Saturday 21st December: 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!

    Saturday 28th December: We appeal to western embassies in Harare to urgently investigate new reports that food aid is being refused to opposition supporters.  This comes despite the announcement that the UK is pouring more money into feeding Zimbabwe.

     

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

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 32 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Chatham House demo against visiting Zimbabwe businessmen: from 4-5 pm on Tuesday 28th January outside Chatham House, 10 St James's Square, London, SW1Y 4LE. Nearest underground: Piccadilly Circus. Directions: walk south down Regent Street then almost immediately right into Jermyn Street. Take the second road on the left, Duke of York Street which leads into St James’s Square. Chatham House is on the corner of Duke of York Street and St James’s Square. If you can’t find the venue meet outside Lillywhites, the big sports shop at Piccadilly Circus between 3.30 and 3.50 pm. There will be someone there to direct you to Chatham House.

  • ROHR Central London meeting. Saturday 1st February 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 1st February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 8th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see ZAF entry above.

  • ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson.

  • 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.

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

  • Facebook pages:

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

 
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