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Dead hand at the tiller – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd January 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 January 2015 11:07

Photolink: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/16186657671/sizes/m/

 

As the Mugabe family celebrated the festive season in Singapore many Zimbabweans wished them a long stay there – preferably a permanent one. Acting President Mnangagwa would win a few friends (rare enough) if he were to ensure this.

 

Not that the Vigil has any confidence in a regime led by Mnangagwa whose teeth are stained by the blood of thousands. But anything is better than Mugabe’s dead hand at the tiller. And change at the top will further expose the contradiction in Zanu PF: how long can the chefs flaunt their looted wealth, their flashy clothes and cars, in the face of the impoverished who have only the delusional ZimAsset to look forward to?

 

On a cold and wet Saturday in London we staged a little tableau inspired by pictures of Mugabe’s holiday feast in Singapore. Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask and tucking in to deep-fried Mujuru accompanied by pickled sweetmeats. Posters reading: ‘Christmas in Singapore,’ ‘Don’t come back’ and ‘Stay away Mugabe’ were held up by Helen Rukambiro, Ishmael Makina, Paul Fusire, Tryness Ncube and Tanyaradzwa Dhundu.

 

In the English winter we are warmed by Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi’s proposal to establish 10 family theme parks for poor civil servants and other unemployed people. They must develop a ‘holidaying culture’ in the national interest, he said. That, friends, is Zimbabwe 2015 (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-govt-to-make-recreation-affordable/ - Govt to make recreation affordable).

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Today’s diary carries the second of a three-part summary of our 2014 diaries. They show how we have tried (unsuccessfully) to encourage European support for freedom and the rule of law in Zimbabwe. We intend to continue this struggle in 2015.

 

Other points

  • We draw your attention to an article on the diaspora vote by Vigil supporter Dr Clifford Mashiri (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-no-fresh-polls-before-diaspora-vote-is-restored/ – No fresh polls before Diaspora Vote is restored).

  • Thanks to Tryness Ncube for bringing cakes and Paul Fusire, Deborah Harry and Fungayi Mabhunu for arriving early to help us set up.

     

    Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights May – August 2014

    The Missing link – Saturday 3rd May: A well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil appointed an interim committee to reach out to the diaspora with a view to agreeing a common voice and liaising with progressive forces in Zimbabwe. ZAF Chair, Ephraim Tapa, said the diaspora was the missing link. The meeting went on to discuss sending a delegation to the Home Secretary about the treatment of Zimbabweans seeking asylum.

    Betraying the Future – Saturday 10th May: Everyone who wishes Zimbabwe well must be worried at indications that Zanu PF, desperate for money to keep afloat, is preparing to mortgage the country’s natural resources to secure a Chinese takeaway. We at the Vigil urge the many MDCs to at least unite on this one platform: warn China that when a democratic government comes to power any such deal will be repudiated.

    Re-engagement with what? – Saturday 17th May: ‘Re-engagement is the only game in town’ was the message from the platform at a tightly-controlled meeting on Zimbabwe held at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London. The meeting was to launch a report Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery’ by Steve Kibble and Zanu PF apologist Knox Chitiyo. Another featured speaker was Zanu PF sympathiser Dr Miles Tendi, Lecturer in African History and Politics at Oxford University. A friend of the Vigil who managed to get in to the meeting reported that the panel’s view was that 're-engagement is the only game in town.' Our reporter added: ‘the message appears to be that it doesn’t matter what you do as a government, as long as you hold onto power long enough, through intimidation and rigged elections, eventually the west will come around and the west will still engage with you and throw money your way.’

    A still birth – Saturday 24th May: The Vigil welcomes the belated court challenge to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the voters’ roll used in the last elections as required by the constitution. This week marked the anniversary of the signing into law of the new constitution providing for improved civil liberties. What a still birth! Zanu PF has simply refused to change laws which allow it to deny people their – now constitutional – right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

    EU’s policy stinks – Saturday 31st May: There was speculation at the Vigil that the eagerness of the EU to offer hundreds of millions of dollars to the Zanu PF regime may be linked to reports that Mugabe is to step down soon. Mugabe is said to have been told by the Joint Operations Command to leave it to the military to manage a takeover by Mujuru’s rival, Justice Minister Mnangagwa. Vigil supporter Dr Clifford Mashiri has appealed to the EU not to release the money to the Zanu PF regime until it allows the diaspora vote.

    LOL EU – Saturday 7th June: As the EU embraces Zanu PF, the party’s supporters in the UK are ‘coming out’ in force. Nehanda Radio displayed photos on its website taken at the launch of a new branch of Zanu PF in Bracknell, near London. The Vigil has put Nehanda Radio’s photos on our flickr website and we ask people to let us know if they can identify anybody so that we can check on our database to see if any of them have come to the Vigil. If they have misrepresented themselves as human rights activists to get our support for permission to stay in the UK we would like to expose them to the Home Office and see these frauds sent back home to enjoy the paradise that Zanu PF has created.

    Enter Fool Stage Left – Saturday 14th June 2014: ‘Life is getting better in Zimbabwe’ reads the headline over a ‘review’ by a former director of Britain’s National Theatre Richard Eyre. ‘Many Zimbabweans are now prospering’. Mr Eyre says. Harare ‘utterly failed to live down to my expectations. In spite of forceful government and forced land redistribution, if you walk around the centre and the suburbs of the city you will witness no violence and encounter universal courtesy.’  Mr Eyre appears to be less than fully informed of the real situation he surveyed only from the verdant suburbs of Harare. We ask ourselves: did this theatrical giant bestride Chintingwiza? The Vigil today launched a new petition to the European Union calling for voting rights for the diaspora to be made a precondition for further re-engagement with Zanu PF.

    Mugabe’s EU Cheerleader – Saturday 21st June: The Zimbabwe Action Forum, meeting after the Vigil, condemned pro-Mugabe comments by the EU’s Ambassador to Harare Aldo Dell’Ariccia. ‘Luckily we don’t have a leadership crisis in this country’, he said, sounding for all the world like Mugabe’s spokesman. Dell’Ariccia went on to rebuke NGOs for being confrontational and unconstructive and added ‘I have the impression that you are a little bit anchored in the past where instead of seeing NGOs one perceives AGOs – anti-government organisations’. The envoy went on to condemn civil society for being critical of Zanu PF’s electioneering ZimAsset plan. The meeting voted to write to Dell’Ariccia’s boss Catherine Ashton suggesting that she recall him ‘for re-education in diplomacy’.

    ‘Following the rot’ – Saturday 28th June: Extroverts in tight dresses and bouffant wigs tottering along the Strand in high heels: it was Gay Pride Day in London. Mugabe would have loved it. He is so taken with gays that we could imagine him tottering along the Strand after them. A mad fancy? No madder than what is happening in Zimbabwe. Take the mad case of the ‘Mujuru flies’. Secretary-General of the Progressive Teachers’ Union Raymond Majongwe went to see for himself the plight of the 3,000 families displaced by the Tokwe-Mukosi floods five months ago. These desperate people have to share 36 latrines. Majongwe reports: ‘There are large flies called Mai Mujuru flies which are ravaging the area’.

    Home Office apologises to Vigil – Saturday 5th July: The Home Office has apologised to the Vigil for comments made by an official in a letter turning down an asylum request by a Vigil supporter. The official alleged that anyone could get a letter from the Vigil in support of their asylum claim on payment of a charge so the Vigil letter would be disregarded. We wrote to the Home Office complaining about this libellous accusation, which derived from a malicious web article, pointing out that the Home Office had admitted it was unfounded three years ago. Now, in an official letter, a Home Office manager says: ‘We recognise the Zimbabwe Vigil as a UK-based pressure group representing the Zimbabwean diaspora.’ It adds that officials have been reminded that they should disregard the article in assessing what weight to give to letters written by the Vigil. The Vigil was interested to see that the Zimbabwean all-white pro-Mugabe group has welcomed the EU’s conciliatory policy to Zimbabwe. We wonder how they regard Mugabe’s latest racist rant demanding that no white person should ever farm in Zimbabwe again, even working for a black boss.

    Talks or Chaos – Saturday 12th July: The Vigil is heartened by signs that people are beginning to accept that an all-embracing national dialogue is the only way forward to prevent chaos in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said: ‘The economic transformation that we want to achieve requires the voice of everyone, including the opposition and civic society’. For our part, we want to reach out to everyone and were happy to be invited to take part in a demonstration in Birmingham organised by MDC T in the UK to draw attention to the Zimbabwe crisis. In our view the EU is not helping by dropping  its objections to the lack of reforms and rushing to embrace Mugabe.

    One hand clapping – Saturday 19th July: It came as no surprise to the Vigil that the Belgian Ambassador to Harare is quoted as saying ‘there is nothing amiss in Zimbabwe’. He said Belgium is pushing for the removal in November of the remaining EU sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe because of human rights abuses. Mr Johan added that the President of the World Diamond Centre based in the Belgian city of Antwerp was soon to visit Zimbabwe – an indication of the reason for Belgium’s hand of friendship to Mugabe. The Vigil observes that Belgium has not been noted for supporting human rights in Africa. Indeed it was famous for cutting off a hand of anyone in the Belgian Congo who objected to being owned by King Leopold.

    Glasgow Protest – Wednesday 23rd July: A Vigil leader Fungayi Mabhunu, who is married to a Swazi, helped organise a demonstration by our sister organisation the Swaziland Vigil at the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He hired a minibus and picked up exiled Swazis on the way to Scotland where they protested at the attendance of David Cruiser Ngcamphalala, Minister of Sport and a former head of the Riot Police, who is accused of torturing and killing pro-democracy activists.

    EU position ‘misunderstood’ – Saturday 26th July: The European Union has distanced itself from reported remarks by its Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia. Addressing a meeting in Harare last month he was quoted as saying ‘Luckily we don’t have a leadership crisis in this country’. The Vigil complained to Mr Dell’Ariccia’s boss, Catherine Ashton, and in a reply to the Vigil, the EU said: ‘We have checked the circumstances, and came to the conclusion that the words of Ambassador Dell’Ariccia have been improperly quoted’.  On another matter, the Vigil, acting at the request of Zimbabwean activists, approached the Foreign Office for further help in resourcing the means to convert a scanned copy of the 2013 voters’ roll into an electronic text document. In reply to the Vigil the Foreign Office acknowledged the importance of the matter but said the budget for this has now run out.

    Recall Ambassador –Saturday 2nd August: The Zimbabwean human rights activist Ben Freeth has written to the Vigil with information supporting our demand for the recall of EU Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia because of his support for the Mugabe regime. Although the EU told us in a letter that Mr Dell’Ariccia had been misreported, Ben Freeth says he spoke to the Ambassador and he repeated that he did not believe that Zimbabwe had a leadership crisis. The Vigil marked the anniversary of the stolen 2013 elections by staging a tableau mocking the victory banquet in Harare this week held by Mugabe for his mafia henchmen. Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing our Mugabe mask, presided at a Vigil banquet flanked by supporters wearing red devils’ masks amid posters such as: EU sups with devil Mugabe.

    A voice silenced – Saturday 9th August: This weekend marks the end of SW Radio Africa which has been broadcasting high quality journalism to Zimbabwe for thirteen years. Coming at a time when the independent press at home is facing a growing financial squeeze, the Vigil believes the loss of this voice is a tragic blow to democracy. Supporting a peaceful democratic transition is proclaimed as one of the main objectives for Zimbabwe of the UK’s Department for International Development, which must have given our country well over a billion dollars of aid during the lifetime of SW Radio Africa. It’s a pity DFID didn’t see fit to provide money to keep the radio station going as it filled the prescription for this. The Vigil is glad to hear that EU Ambassador to Harare Aldo Dell’Ariccia is returning home.

    No joke – Saturday 16th August: Supporters at the Vigil beamed broadly in response to Mugabe’s appeal to Zimbabweans to pretend that all is well to the SADC Summit at the Victoria Falls. Our smiles were so big we couldn‘t help laughing at Mugabe’s request: ‘We are asking you to smile and show the region that we are a hospitable people, that we can welcome visitors. Let us all smile and for just a moment forget our problems . . . albeit under the burden of sanctions.’ To underline our joy at our desperate situation we held up smiley pictures with the posters: Mugabe: ‘Smile for the SADC Summit’ and Mugabe: ‘Smile, though your heart is breaking’. The Vigil was joined by ZAPU Secretary-General Dr Ralph Mguni, who said that Zimbabweans used to be respected around the world but they are now regarded as trash.

    Zhing-zhong deal – Saturday 23rd August: As Mugabe and top ministers converged on Beijing in a desperate appeal for a financial bailout, the Vigil was alerted to indications that an illegal deal was being negotiated to rescue Zimbabwe from its economic torpor and pay the government’s pressing running bills. Zanu PF’s golden grail is $27 billion to fund the fatuous ZimAsset programme for economic development which formed the centrepiece of its 2013 election campaign but – a year on – has failed to get off the ground.

    The empty vessel – Saturday 30th August: As Mugabe made his thirteenth visit to Beijing, his hosts must have found it Chinese torture to keep a straight face. A 21-gun salute for the empty vessel must have been the final straw, especially knowing they were expected to fill it with gold. The Chinese will remember that when Mugabe came to power in 1980 Zimbabwe’s annual gross domestic product was rather more than theirs at US$1,295 per head compared to China’s US$1,061. They will have observed in awe how he has managed to completely ruin the country so that in 2013 the GDP figures were: Zimbabwe US$446 and China US$3,583. Like clockwork, Mugabe trotted out the tired cold war rhetoric: ‘Down with colonialism, imperialism and capitalism’ which must have seemed rather quaint to his welcoming group of Chinese capitalists, colonialists and imperialists. If Mugabe had expected them to join his chorus he must now realise that they no longer zhing from the same zhong sheet.

     

    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: 15 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th January 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.

  • Zimbabwe meeting in Parliament. Monday 19th January from 3.30 – 6 pm. Venue: House of Commons. For information contact: Nicodimus Muganhu – 07877386792, Erick Eluwasi – 07532021348, Charles Ndlovu – 07413879590, Sally Mutseyami – 07448730581, Thandiwe Gwarumba - 07503512308

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

 
Shot in the foot – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th December 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 03 January 2015 11:59

The new indigenisation minister Christopher Mushowe has clarified the indigenisation policy which has been blamed for scaring off desperately needed foreign investment. But his announcement that foreign investors could be left with as little as 1% of their investment is hardly likely to encourage them.

 

Mushowe told the Herald that 49% was the maximum allowed for foreign shareholding and 51% was the minimum for the indigenisation holding: ‘So it's not cast in concrete that it's 49 percent, it can be one percent because it is the maximum and 51 percent can be 99 percent because it's the minimum’ (see: http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/2014/12/24/foreign-investors-very-lucky-to-get-49-shares-in-their-businesses-zimbabwe-minister Foreign investors 'very lucky' to get 49% shares in their businesses: Zimbabwe minister).

 

The Vigil doubts that foreign investors will rush to donate 99% of their money to Zanu PF. As one Vigil member remarked: ‘the Cabinet reshuffle means that Mugabe has had to get rid of the stupid and promote the really stupid’.

 

After our last Vigil of 2014 we wish all our friends a better 2015. But given Mushowe’s pig-headedness it will take a miracle.

 

People often ask us why we go on with the Vigil 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 2014 summary, covering the first four months of 2014, is given below. The rest of the year will be included in subsequent diaries.

 

Thanks to Helen Rukambiro, Paul Fusire, Dumi Tutani and Fungayi Mabhunu for arriving early to help set up.

 

Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights January – April 2014

Another challenging year – Saturday 4th January: 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.

The noose tightens –Saturday 11th January: With Mugabe’s return from his latest Asian holiday he will be able to celebrate his 90th birthday in some style. His office has been allocated $206 million in Chinamasa’s budget – nearly six times as much as he was given last year . . . $200 million or so should cover his travel costs this year – after all it is more than the combined allocations for: The Ministry of Industry and Commerce – $7.4 million, The Ministry of Energy and Power Development – £23.4 million, The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development – $8.6 million, The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development – $155.2 million.

Mugabe finished – Saturday 18th January: A meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil discussed plans to stage a demonstration in Brussels next month when the EU decides whether to renew the targeted sanctions. It was agreed to run a petition to the EU demanding that there should be no recognition of the illegitimate Mugabe regime.

What country friends is this? – Saturday 25th January: 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.

Mugabe’s delegation turns chicken – Tuesday 28th January: Mugabe’s broiler chickens scampered off clucking in alarm as the Vigil pursued them into Chatham House s. The Zimbabwe business delegation arrived in a people carrier but when they saw the Vigil protest outside they hastily made for a side entrance, losing a few feathers in the flurry. Why broiler chickens? The former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week: ‘The biggest problem with Zanu PF is that they think that money grows on trees. People just believe in spending, spending, spending. It’s like a broiler chicken. The broiler just eats itself to death’.

Mugabe’s square egg – Saturday 1st February: 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’.

Financing Mugabe’s looters – Saturday 8th February: 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 Vigil’s view is explained in a letter to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for 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 . . . DFID acknowledges that some British money had been routed through the 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’.

Boycott EU / AU meeting – Saturday 15th February: 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.  Our letter said: 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.

Tell us the good news – Saturday 22nd February: 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. Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, says there has been progress in Zimbabwe. We have written to her asking: What is the good news from Zimbabwe that the EU uses to justify the suspension of targeted measures?

Vigil demonstration at Heathrow – Wednesday 26th February: A group from the Vigil went to Heathrow to demonstrate against the threatened deportation of our supporter Try Mahachi. We are relieved to say he wasn’t put on the plane.

Vigil Demonstration – Thursday 27th February: Vigil activists demonstrated at a London restaurant holding a Zimbabwean tourist promotion. The protestors carried our banner ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ and posters reading ‘No Rule of Law in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Zimbabwe Tourism props up Mugabe’.

Aid for what? – Saturday 1st March: The British government’s donation of an extra $10 million for basic education for poor children in Zimbabwe came as Mugabe was being feted at a $1 million 90th birthday bash and his daughter’s wedding was being celebrated in equally lavish style. The Vigil suggests that our money would be better spent on funding change in Zimbabwe rather than propping up the regime. Our thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask and playing the birthday boy in a tableau at the Vigil marking the wedding. Thanks also to Admire Mhindura for playing the role of a fawning Zuma who cancelled attendance at a Westminster Abbey memorial service for Nelson Mandela to go to the wedding.

Monuments to Mugabe – Saturday 8th March: Prosecutor-General Tomana says that, despite Zimbabwe being bankrupt with only $0.5 million in the bank, it will continue to fund the legal action against the EU for imposing sanctions. We were delighted to be joined by our supporter Deborah Harry who has been released from detention. She was taken to the airport to be deported but at the last minute there was a reprieve.

Asset in Wonderland – Saturday 15th March: As Zimbabwe sinks back to the stone age those of us driven into exile can only shake our heads in resignation at the relentless idiocy of our rulers. One brief announcement summed it up: ‘To make way for the Zim Asset Awareness Seminar, neither the National Assembly nor the Senate will meet on 12th and 13th March’ . . . Zim Asset was cobbled up to bamboozle voters in last year’s elections. To pretend it is a viable plan offering a way out of our difficulties is, in the Vigil’s view, to plunge down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. The question of asylum was brought up at a meeting after the Vigil of the Zimbabwe Action Forum. Ben Semwayo reported on a meeting of the National Coalition for Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) at which he represented the Vigil.

Vigil supports genuine asylum seekers – Saturday 22nd March: The Vigil has made a new approach to the Home Office over the sending back of asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Our latest letter to Home Secretary Theresa May came as thousands of people demonstrated in London against the UK’s asylum policy. Our letter was delivered to the Home Office by Fungayi Mabhunu, enclosing a petition protesting at the proposed deportation of Trymore Mahachi.

EU finances Mugabe – Saturday 29th March: The Vigil will be protesting in Brussels against the invitation to Mugabe to attend the EU / Africa Summit on 2nd / 3rd April. The Vigil will be there to tell the world that things are not ok in Zimbabwe. Our message is that aid for Zimbabwe must not be aid for Mugabe and the military junta. We are very sad to report that, despite all our efforts, our supporter Try Mahachi was forcibly removed to Zimbabwe on Thursday. We are disturbed at reports of how he was treated when he was handcuffed and put on the plane.

Brussels demonstration – Wednesday 2nd April: Our Mugabe mask got another outing at the EU / Africa Summit when the Vigil demonstrated in Brussels against the EU’s craven invitation to Mugabe to attend. The mask was first ‘unmasked’ in 2007 when Vigil supporters demonstrated in Lisbon against the EU’s decision to allow Mugabe to attend the Summit there. The EU must have congratulated itself when Mugabe didn’t pitch up for the Brussels meeting, complaining that the invitation did not extend to Grace. David Kadzutu and Peter Sidindi took turns to don the Mugabe mask and enlighten the world about Mugabe’s vision: poverty, disease and corruption. Our ‘No to AU dictators’ poster was particularly popular with the hundreds of Mauritanian protesters we were grouped with who showed great interest in our cause.

Graceless Mugabe – Saturday 5th April: We were glad that participants in the Brussels excursion were able to attend the Vigil today including Ruwimbo Melody Tembo who left Stafford at 1.30 am for Brussels only getting back at 1.30 pm the next afternoon. More than 30 people attended our Zimbabwe Action Forum and heard Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa report on a recent visit back home during which he had discussions with embassies in Harare. More importantly, he met prominent opposition leaders who suggested co-operation with the diaspora represented by the Vigil coalition.

Vigil welcomes new path – Saturday 12th April: The Zimbabwe Action Forum had a special meeting to discuss recent talks in Harare that Ephraim Tapa had with some leading politicians. The following resolution was passed: ‘The Vigil notes with great interest the developments in MDC-T. The Vigil will work with any organisation whose aims are compatible with our mission statement to secure free and fair elections and end human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, while maintaining our own identity.’ A second resolution was also approved complaining about the growing number of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers being sent home at a time when the Zimbabwean economy is collapsing. The British government has expressed concern at the corruption in Zimbabwe. Their comment came in a letter to the Vigil in reply to one we had written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to boycott the EU / Africa Summit. The letter to the Vigil said the UK was supporting efforts to tackle corruption in Zimbabwe through a number of initiatives. It continued ‘We believe that significant improvements in the electoral process are required along the lines proposed by international and domestic observers, if future elections are to be both credible and transparent’.

Craven Europe – Saturday 19th April: As Zimbabwe marked 34 years of independence amid deepening hopelessness, the Vigil received a letter from the European Union which confirmed our worst fears about their pusillanimous policy towards Mugabe. We had asked them what progress there had been in Zimbabwe that the EU used to justify the suspension of targeted measures?  In their reply the EU cannot think of any progress beyond the generally peaceful manner in which the 2013 elections were conducted’ . . . It’s rather like commending the generally peaceful manner in which the Nazis gassed millions of Jews. The EU letter says: ‘Normalising the relationship with the government will enable the EU to play a stronger role in supporting the return to economic stability, improving the democratic environment, rule of law, respect for human rights, and the living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans.’ The Vigil believes Europe’s aid money would be better spent in promoting desperately needed change in Zimbabwe – not in propping up this geriatric mafia.

Zanu PF at Chatham House – Saturday 26th April: The Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, known as Chatham House, claims to be an objective and independent-minded think tank. It is nothing of the sort, judging by the Vigil’s experience of how it deals with Zimbabwe. It has just published a long report on Zimbabwe which betrays its bias from the outset: ‘A landslide victory by the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) in Zimbabwe’s elections in 2013 resulted in its comprehensive recapture of the state. The endorsement of the results by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Marketfor Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Union (AU) and the UN confirmed ZANU-PF’s grip on power. It also symbolized Zimbabwe’s re-admittance into the international community . . .’ Along with Botswana, the Vigil is convinced that the elections were comprehensively rigged and that Zanu PF has no mandate to govern Zimbabwe. Who is Chatham House trying to fool? We hope to have an opportunity to ask them at a discussion on the report at Chatham House on 14th May.

 

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: 12 signed the register.

 

 

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th January 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.

  • Zimbabwe meeting in Parliament. Monday 19th January from 3.30 – 6 pm. Venue: House of Commons. For information contact: Nicodimus Muganhu – 07877386792, Erick Eluwasi – 07532021348, Charles Ndlovu – 07413879590, Sally Mutseyami – 07448730581, Thandiwe Gwarumba - 07503512308

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Shot in the foot – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th December 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 27 December 2014 14:19

The new indigenisation minister Christopher Mushowe has clarified the indigenisation policy which has been blamed for scaring off desperately needed foreign investment. But his announcement that foreign investors could be left with as little as 1% of their investment is hardly likely to encourage them.

 

Mushowe told the Herald that 49% was the maximum allowed for foreign shareholding and 51% was the minimum for the indigenisation holding: ‘So it's not cast in concrete that it's 49 percent, it can be one percent because it is the maximum and 51 percent can be 99 percent because it's the minimum’ (see: http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/2014/12/24/foreign-investors-very-lucky-to-get-49-shares-in-their-businesses-zimbabwe-minister Foreign investors 'very lucky' to get 49% shares in their businesses: Zimbabwe minister).

 

The Vigil doubts that foreign investors will rush to donate 99% of their money to Zanu PF. As one Vigil member remarked: ‘the Cabinet reshuffle means that Mugabe has had to get rid of the stupid and promote the really stupid’.

 

After our last Vigil of 2014 we wish all our friends a better 2015. But given Mushowe’s pig-headedness it will take a miracle.

 

People often ask us why we go on with the Vigil 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 2014 summary, covering the first four months of 2014, is given below. The rest of the year will be included in subsequent diaries.

 

Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights January – April 2014

Another challenging year – Saturday 4th January: 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.

The noose tightens –Saturday 11th January: With Mugabe’s return from his latest Asian holiday he will be able to celebrate his 90th birthday in some style. His office has been allocated $206 million in Chinamasa’s budget – nearly six times as much as he was given last year . . . $200 million or so should cover his travel costs this year – after all it is more than the combined allocations for: The Ministry of Industry and Commerce – $7.4 million, The Ministry of Energy and Power Development – £23.4 million, The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development – $8.6 million, The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development – $155.2 million.

Mugabe finished – Saturday 18th January: A meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil discussed plans to stage a demonstration in Brussels next month when the EU decides whether to renew the targeted sanctions. It was agreed to run a petition to the EU demanding that there should be no recognition of the illegitimate Mugabe regime.

What country friends is this? – Saturday 25th January: 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.

Mugabe’s delegation turns chicken – Tuesday 28th January: Mugabe’s broiler chickens scampered off clucking in alarm as the Vigil pursued them into Chatham House s. The Zimbabwe business delegation arrived in a people carrier but when they saw the Vigil protest outside they hastily made for a side entrance, losing a few feathers in the flurry. Why broiler chickens? The former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week: ‘The biggest problem with Zanu PF is that they think that money grows on trees. People just believe in spending, spending, spending. It’s like a broiler chicken. The broiler just eats itself to death’.

Mugabe’s square egg – Saturday 1st February: 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’.

Financing Mugabe’s looters – Saturday 8th February: 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 Vigil’s view is explained in a letter to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for 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 . . . DFID acknowledges that some British money had been routed through the 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’.

Boycott EU / AU meeting – Saturday 15th February: 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.  Our letter said: 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.

Tell us the good news – Saturday 22nd February: 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. Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, says there has been progress in Zimbabwe. We have written to her asking: What is the good news from Zimbabwe that the EU uses to justify the suspension of targeted measures?

Vigil demonstration at Heathrow – Wednesday 26th February: A group from the Vigil went to Heathrow to demonstrate against the threatened deportation of our supporter Try Mahachi. We are relieved to say he wasn’t put on the plane.

Vigil Demonstration – Thursday 27th February: Vigil activists demonstrated at a London restaurant holding a Zimbabwean tourist promotion. The protestors carried our banner ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ and posters reading ‘No Rule of Law in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Zimbabwe Tourism props up Mugabe’.

Aid for what? – Saturday 1st March: The British government’s donation of an extra $10 million for basic education for poor children in Zimbabwe came as Mugabe was being feted at a $1 million 90th birthday bash and his daughter’s wedding was being celebrated in equally lavish style. The Vigil suggests that our money would be better spent on funding change in Zimbabwe rather than propping up the regime. Our thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask and playing the birthday boy in a tableau at the Vigil marking the wedding. Thanks also to Admire Mhindura for playing the role of a fawning Zuma who cancelled attendance at a Westminster Abbey memorial service for Nelson Mandela to go to the wedding.

Monuments to Mugabe – Saturday 8th March: Prosecutor-General Tomana says that, despite Zimbabwe being bankrupt with only $0.5 million in the bank, it will continue to fund the legal action against the EU for imposing sanctions. We were delighted to be joined by our supporter Deborah Harry who has been released from detention. She was taken to the airport to be deported but at the last minute there was a reprieve.

Asset in Wonderland – Saturday 15th March: As Zimbabwe sinks back to the stone age those of us driven into exile can only shake our heads in resignation at the relentless idiocy of our rulers. One brief announcement summed it up: ‘To make way for the Zim Asset Awareness Seminar, neither the National Assembly nor the Senate will meet on 12th and 13th March’ . . . Zim Asset was cobbled up to bamboozle voters in last year’s elections. To pretend it is a viable plan offering a way out of our difficulties is, in the Vigil’s view, to plunge down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. The question of asylum was brought up at a meeting after the Vigil of the Zimbabwe Action Forum. Ben Semwayo reported on a meeting of the National Coalition for Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) at which he represented the Vigil.

Vigil supports genuine asylum seekers – Saturday 22nd March: The Vigil has made a new approach to the Home Office over the sending back of asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Our latest letter to Home Secretary Theresa May came as thousands of people demonstrated in London against the UK’s asylum policy. Our letter was delivered to the Home Office by Fungayi Mabhunu, enclosing a petition protesting at the proposed deportation of Trymore Mahachi.

EU finances Mugabe – Saturday 29th March: The Vigil will be protesting in Brussels against the invitation to Mugabe to attend the EU / Africa Summit on 2nd / 3rd April. The Vigil will be there to tell the world that things are not ok in Zimbabwe. Our message is that aid for Zimbabwe must not be aid for Mugabe and the military junta. We are very sad to report that, despite all our efforts, our supporter Try Mahachi was forcibly removed to Zimbabwe on Thursday. We are disturbed at reports of how he was treated when he was handcuffed and put on the plane.

Brussels demonstration – Wednesday 2nd April: Our Mugabe mask got another outing at the EU / Africa Summit when the Vigil demonstrated in Brussels against the EU’s craven invitation to Mugabe to attend. The mask was first ‘unmasked’ in 2007 when Vigil supporters demonstrated in Lisbon against the EU’s decision to allow Mugabe to attend the Summit there. The EU must have congratulated itself when Mugabe didn’t pitch up for the Brussels meeting, complaining that the invitation did not extend to Grace. David Kadzutu and Peter Sidindi took turns to don the Mugabe mask and enlighten the world about Mugabe’s vision: poverty, disease and corruption. Our ‘No to AU dictators’ poster was particularly popular with the hundreds of Mauritanian protesters we were grouped with who showed great interest in our cause.

Graceless Mugabe – Saturday 5th April: We were glad that participants in the Brussels excursion were able to attend the Vigil today including Ruwimbo Melody Tembo who left Stafford at 1.30 am for Brussels only getting back at 1.30 pm the next afternoon. More than 30 people attended our Zimbabwe Action Forum and heard Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa report on a recent visit back home during which he had discussions with embassies in Harare. More importantly, he met prominent opposition leaders who suggested co-operation with the diaspora represented by the Vigil coalition.

Vigil welcomes new path – Saturday 12th April: The Zimbabwe Action Forum had a special meeting to discuss recent talks in Harare that Ephraim Tapa had with some leading politicians. The following resolution was passed: ‘The Vigil notes with great interest the developments in MDC-T. The Vigil will work with any organisation whose aims are compatible with our mission statement to secure free and fair elections and end human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, while maintaining our own identity.’ A second resolution was also approved complaining about the growing number of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers being sent home at a time when the Zimbabwean economy is collapsing. The British government has expressed concern at the corruption in Zimbabwe. Their comment came in a letter to the Vigil in reply to one we had written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to boycott the EU / Africa Summit. The letter to the Vigil said the UK was supporting efforts to tackle corruption in Zimbabwe through a number of initiatives. It continued ‘We believe that significant improvements in the electoral process are required along the lines proposed by international and domestic observers, if future elections are to be both credible and transparent’.

Craven Europe – Saturday 19th April: As Zimbabwe marked 34 years of independence amid deepening hopelessness, the Vigil received a letter from the European Union which confirmed our worst fears about their pusillanimous policy towards Mugabe. We had asked them what progress there had been in Zimbabwe that the EU used to justify the suspension of targeted measures?  In their reply the EU cannot think of any progress beyond the generally peaceful manner in which the 2013 elections were conducted’ . . . It’s rather like commending the generally peaceful manner in which the Nazis gassed millions of Jews. The EU letter says: ‘Normalising the relationship with the government will enable the EU to play a stronger role in supporting the return to economic stability, improving the democratic environment, rule of law, respect for human rights, and the living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans.’ The Vigil believes Europe’s aid money would be better spent in promoting desperately needed change in Zimbabwe – not in propping up this geriatric mafia.

Zanu PF at Chatham House – Saturday 26th April: The Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, known as Chatham House, claims to be an objective and independent-minded think tank. It is nothing of the sort, judging by the Vigil’s experience of how it deals with Zimbabwe. It has just published a long report on Zimbabwe which betrays its bias from the outset: ‘A landslide victory by the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) in Zimbabwe’s elections in 2013 resulted in its comprehensive recapture of the state. The endorsement of the results by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Marketfor Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Union (AU) and the UN confirmed ZANU-PF’s grip on power. It also symbolized Zimbabwe’s re-admittance into the international community . . .’ Along with Botswana, the Vigil is convinced that the elections were comprehensively rigged and that Zanu PF has no mandate to govern Zimbabwe. Who is Chatham House trying to fool? We hope to have an opportunity to ask them at a discussion on the report at Chatham House on 14th May.

 

Thanks to Helen Rukambiro, Paul Fusire, Dumi Tutani and Fungayi Mabhunu for arriving early 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.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th January 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.

  • Zimbabwe meeting in Parliament. Monday 19th January from 3.30 – 6 pm. Venue: House of Commons. For information contact: Nicodimus Muganhu – 07877386792, Erick Eluwasi – 07532021348, Charles Ndlovu – 07413879590, Sally Mutseyami – 07448730581, Thandiwe Gwarumba - 07503512308

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

 
Food for Embassy – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th December 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 21 December 2014 14:31

Picture link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/15446482833/sizes/m/

 

After learning that Zimbabwean diplomats were going without pay because of lack of funds at the Foreign Ministry the Vigil arranged an emergency Christmas food drop for Zimbabwe House in London. We left a pile of food and other supplies in the Embassy’s doorway with the notice:

Christmas Appeal:

  • Zimbabwean diplomats starving,

  • Leave food for them here,

  • (Sorry – no GM foods)

     

    We also pushed under the door the following letter:

     

    Dear brothers and sisters in the Zimbabwe Embassy

     

    We Zimbabwean exiles in the UK who have gathered outside the Embassy every Saturday since 2002 are worried at hearing that Zimbabwean diplomats have apparently not been paid for the past 20 months (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_zim-diplomats-abroad-yet-to-receive-salaries/‘Zim diplomats abroad yet to receive salaries’).

     

    It pains us to think of you going hungry at Christmas so we have brought some food and left it in your doorway as you have not answered your bell to us for twelve years. We trust that John the caretaker will give it to the Ambassador so that he can divide it fairly among you.

     

    We know it is not much but you will understand that many of us struggle financially as we are called on to send money home to our starving families from the little we earn as, in your words, ‘bottom wipers’ in the UK.

     

    We are comforted, however, that you at least have the Embassy to sleep in and do not have to make do with cardboard boxes to keep out the cold, which is the lot of some Zimbabweans here.

     

    Be assured that when Zimbabwe has received the $50 billion or so it has claimed for damages caused by illegal sanctions, the government of his Senile Excellency will once again be able to pay your salaries.

     

    Until then, we fear, there is scant hope so we suggest you apply for assistance from your nearest benefits office which we trust will smile at your request.

     

    The Vigil urges you not to pursue the way of the Gambian High Commission which has been turned into a tax-free tobacconist and has seen four of its diplomats jailed here (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2868771/Gambian-diplomats-jailed-running-tax-free-tobacconist-Kensington-embassy-cheated-British-taxpayers-5million.html).

     

    Best wishes for Christmas and may 2015 bring the 2.2 million jobs promised for last year.

     

    We had thought of the food drop as primarily a symbolic gesture to show up the failures of the Mugabe regime, with people supplying unwanted food from their own resources. But one supporter went to the supermarket to buy food specially and another brought sanitary towels and condoms. In addition, two passers-by went and bought extra food.

     

    This is our 13th Christmas in the cold outside the Embassy and, despite the Herald proclaiming ‘there is hope the country will soon claim its rightful position as an economic giant in the region’, all we see is massive delusion (see: Economists hail Congresshttp://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-economists-hail-congress-the-herald/).

     

    Amid the charade of the Chinamasa budget and the Zanu PF Congress, we hear of hunger reaching further even in the towns (see: Starvation strikes Zim’s urban dwellers – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-starvation-strikes-zims-urban-dwellers/). ‘“The current inability of the economy to address people’s basic needs is leading to hunger in most urban households, with almost none of urban residents affording three meals a day nowadays,” said Philip Bohwasi, chairperson of the Council of Social Workers.

     

    The recent budget devoted more than 80% of government revenue to Civil Service pay but every ministry, except that maintaining the President, complained they were not getting nearly enough money.  The Mugabes however, gobble up money. We learn that the amount spent on them so far this year is 75 times more that the capital spending on every school in Zimbabwe (http://www.theafricareport.com/Southern-Africa/zimbabwes-president-mugabes-holiday-spending-under-the-spotlight.htmlZimbabwe's president Mugabe's holiday spending under the spotlight).

     

    Other points

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 27th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Demonstration in support of Africa Unity Square protester Itai Dzamara. Saturday 17th January. Further details: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/636-occupy-unity-square-protest-zimbabwe-embassy-london-saturday-17th-january-2015-from-2-5-pm)

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th January 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.

  • Zimbabwe meeting in Parliament. Monday 19th January from 3.30 – 6 pm. Venue: House of Commons. For information contact: Nicodimus Muganhu – 07877386792, Erick Eluwasi – 07532021348, Charles Ndlovu – 07413879590, Sally Mutseyami – 07448730581, Thandiwe Gwarumba - 07503512308

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

 
Senile Mugabe not voice of Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th December 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 13 December 2014 23:15

The Vigil has delivered a letter to the Ghanaian High Commission in London apologising for the insulting remarks about Ghana made by Mugabe at the Zanu PF Congress. We are particularly concerned because senile Mugabe is the President-elect of the African Union and is bringing the whole of Africa not just Zimbabwe into world ridicule. The letter reads:

 

Dear High Commissioner

 

Zimbabweans exiled in the United Kingdom apologise to the people of Ghana for the ill-informed and gratuitously insulting comments about their country made by our illegitimate President Robert Mugabe.

 

Speaking at the ruling Zanu-PF’s recent Congress, Mugabe said: ‘I have been to Ghana, 1958 – 1960, and when you look at them now and compare their present situation to that which existed in the 1960s, no change. There might be more people yes. There may be one road from the airport that has been well done. That’s about all. No change.’

 

What makes these ignorant remarks so offensive to us as well is because of the high regard in Zimbabwe for Mugabe’s Ghanaian-born first wife Sally, who was betrayed by Mugabe on her deathbed in favour of his current wife Grace.

 

We commend former Ghanaian President John Kufuor for his restrained response to Mugabe’s senile drivelling. Mr Kafuor said Mugabe’s comments were his own ‘opinion’ but noted ‘Ghana has made some fantastic improvements since the 1960s’ (see:  http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-19324-Ghana+ex-president+dismisses+Mugabe/news.aspx).

 

Mr Kafuor also pointed out that Ghana is a democracy which allows people to express themselves freely. We at the Zimbabwe Vigil represent some of the millions of people who have fled Zimbabwe where Mugabe has rigged successive elections to stay in power.

 

We would point out that Ghana is not the only country to have been insulted by Mugabe. Nigeria has also been traduced while Jamaicans – who used to be firm Mugabe followers – have been dismissed as ignorant drug addicts.

 

Yours sincerely, Zimbabwe Vigil

 

We in the UK look around in the streets of London, Luton, Leicester etc and find fellow Zimbabweans but a distinct absence of Ghanaians driven into exile by oppression and poverty. Perhaps, as Mugabe says, it’s the absence of roads in Ghana . . .

 

Speaking of Zimbabweans in the UK, the Vigil is alarmed that so many of them are Zanu PF supporters. Evidence of this came in recent photos in the Zimbabwean media here of a Zanu PF meeting in the UK which showed enthusiastic support for Mugabe. A Vigil supporter said that this was because they were promised farms or other favours if they returned to Zimbabwe. Confirmation of Zanu PF’s popularity in the UK came in a report in The Herald about corruption in the selling of Zanu PF membership cards. Zanu PF says about $400,000 can’t be accounted for and cites, as an example, that South Africa received 3,000 cards but 2,881 of them had yet to be accounted for. In contrast, ‘the United Kingdom received an equal number but sold all the 3,000 cards’ (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-400k-membership-cards-missing-the-herald/ - $400k membership cards missing).

 

Since Zimbabweans in the UK are, because of Britain’s legislative backlog, entitled to vote in next May’s knife-edge general election, even if they are not UK citizens, Zanu PF supporters here could consider forming a lobby group promoting Mugabe’s values. Given the anxiety about the number of immigrants coming to this country, the British might be attracted by the call for indigenisation! They should call on the veteran Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, who is on record for her praise of Mugabe’s inspirational policies.

 

 

Other points

  • The Vigil has been pressing the Home Office for a meeting to discuss Zanu PF activity in the UK and other questions of concern to Zimbabwean exiles here. To reinforce our request we plan to hold a demonstration outside the Home Office in the new year. Details are to be finalised at a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum on 17th January.

  • January promises to be a busy time for the Vigil. We have been approached by a supporter of the brave Occupy Africa Unity Square activist Itai Dzamara to hold a protest in his support on 17th January. And on 19th January there will be a meeting to discuss Zimbabwe in a Parliamentary committee room arranged by Alok Sharma MP at the request of ROHR Reading Branch. We will give more details as plans develop.

  • We were interested in an article in the Financial Gazette raising questions about the visit to Zimbabwe by a British business delegation. The paper said that British companies operating in Zimbabwe had downplayed the effect of corruption in the face of ‘growing public concern that the scourge had become endemic in the country’. It noted that Zimbabwe was ranked 156 out of 175 countries on the corruption scale (see: Zimbabwe: British Firms Underplay Zim Corruption – http://allafrica.com/stories/201412120219.html). As the British press would put it: ‘All rather smelly’.

  • We hope the British Embassy in Harare, all too keen to cosy up to Zanu PF, has read the article in the British Daily Mail alleging that British businessman Nicholas van Hoogstraten is bankrolling Dr Grace in her power quest. It says, quoting leaked CIO documents: ‘Grace has spent £2m on shopping this year, including 62 pairs of Ferragamo shoes and 33 of Gucci, 12 diamond rings, a $115,000 Rolex and – most astonishingly – a $300,000 diamond-encrusted headboard. The papers also show she has spent £30,000 on lingerie . . .’ (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2870376/Nicholas-van-Hoogstraten-bankrolls-Grace-Mugabe-s-bid-power-Zimbabwe.html). Or the British Embassy could look at the revelations of Zanu PF corruption now disclosed by the sacked former Deputy Minister of Information Bright Matonga (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-matonga-exposes-corrupt-bigwigs/ – Matonga exposes corrupt bigwigs). And as far as the rule of law is concerned we hope the Embassy will alert prospective British investors to the ongoing saga of the illegal land seizure by Dr. Ray Ndhlukula, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/634-attempted-takeover-of-boxwell-and-banovellum-farms-).

  • We draw your attention to a BBC programme on Zimbabwe’s economy broadcast on 9th December (see: Zimbabwe's Economy, More or Less – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02d20kx).

  • Grateful thanks to Epiphania Phiri for her continuing fundraising efforts. She deposited £46 into our bank account this week. This is a great help as we are entirely self-funding. Thanks also to Mary Muteyerwa, David Kadzutu, Eunice Mucherechedzo, Peter Sidindi, Nkosikana Tshabangu, Paul Fusire and Fungayi Mabhunu for coming early 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: 34 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 27th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Demonstration in support of Africa Unity Square Protester Itai Dzamara. Saturday 17th January. Further details later.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th January 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.

  • Zimbabwe meeting in Parliament. Monday 19th January. Details to follow.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

 
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