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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Other points

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 40 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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

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

  • ROHR Executive Meeting. Saturday 5th April at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see ZAF entry above. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 5th April from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see entry above.

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

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

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

  • Facebook pages:

 
Monuments to Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th March 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 March 2014 17:33

Rumours that the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to fund statues of Mugabe costing some $5 million have been dismissed in London.  DFID has been one of the most generous donors to Zimbabwe, recently contributing another $10 million for basic education because of Mugabe’s failure to come up with the money. The Vigil believes, however, that because Mugabe is still on the EU’s targeted sanctions list it will be impossible for DFID to agree to pay for the statues.

 

Reports say local government minister Ignatius Chombo is behind the statues project. He is said to have commissioned North Korea to build two bronze sculptures of Mugabe; the bigger one costing $3.5 million is to be erected in Harare and a smaller one costing a mere $1.5 million is apparently to be put up in Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba. The larger statue is said to be ‘the height of five men standing on top of one another’ – an appropriate tribute to Mugabe.

 

Mugabe has reportedly insisted that the statues be erected only when he is dead but they are said to be on standby ready for delivery at a moment’s notice. North Korean cargo planes are believed to be on 24 hour readiness (see: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/news/zimbabwe/70734/5million-for-mugabe-statues.html$5million for Mugabe statues).

 

The Vigil notes that publicity about Chombo’s championing of the Mugabe monuments comes as the minister is being subjected to increased scrutiny by the CIO about how he acquired the vast wealth exposed in his divorce case (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_chombo-under-graft-probe/  Chombo under graft probe).

 

It is believed that, if donor funding for the statues fails to materialise, Chombo will be able to deflect this scrutiny by offering to contribute something from his own voluminous pockets. A generous gesture like this might counteract the criticism in the Herald, which laid into Chombo on Friday with an editorial noting sarcastically ‘No one in Zimbabwe’s public office has ever done anything wrong. Everything bad about the economy, infrastructure, water, electricity, education, health and sport is as a result of some natural cause or sanctions. Our public officials are, apparently, hardworking angels who have never put a foot wrong and we should all be eternally grateful that they take their precious time to serve us – for hefty salaries, of course.’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_dr-chombo-the-ball-is-in-your-court-the-herald/ – Dr Chombo, the ball is in your court | The Herald).

 

As far as the hefty salaries are concerned, the Vigil fears that little action will be taken by Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana. He says the salaries may be immoral but so what: they are not against the law. Red-faced chief executives and other Zanu PF robber barons may be persuaded to help pay for the statues now that they have escaped prosecution. Perhaps they could sponsor a finger or an ear or the trademark glasses . . .

 

The UK government might think it has got away with refusing to pay for Mugabe’s statues but 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 (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_mega-earners-to-go-unpunished/Mega earners to go unpunished).

 

Other points

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 15th 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.

  • 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.

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

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

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

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

  • Facebook pages:
    Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts
    ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515
    ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

 
Aid for what? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st March 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 02 March 2014 16:33

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 –  capped with entertainment by Congolese alleged rapist Koffi Olomide (see: SA President Zuma to attend Mugabe wedding – http://www.swradioafrica.com/2014/02/28/sa-president-zuma-to-attend-mugabe-wedding/).

 

Both events were thronged by  Zanu PF chefs engorged by corruption. They are said to have happily stumped up the money for the bachelor party at which Mugabe’s new son-in-law arrived in an opulent Rolls-Royce flaunting the number plate VVIP.

 

The MDC-T Shadow Minister for Basic Education Concilia Chinanzvavana put her finger on the problem when she said basic education is a right and ZANU PF should think of deprived children as the party’s officials loot and plunder national resources.

 

A report on SW Radio Africa says Britain’s latest gift to Zimbabwe means that, in all, the UK will have provided $650 million for Zimbabwe’s education, health, water and sanitation sectors from 2011 to 2015. Yet the UK gets no thanks – only abuse.

 

For our part, the Vigil, advised the UK’s Department for International Development not to agree to this latest handout (however much we know the people need it) on the grounds that it just gives Zanu PF more room for looting. Our view is supported by comments on SW Radio Africa’s article posted on the Zimbabwe Situation website. Here are a few:

·         apolitical says: They owe Zimbabwe millions more for the damage done to our economy through propaganda and economic sabotage funded by the local embassy. Its just peanuts.

·         John Steele says: Apolitical, you buffoon! your Chink friends will never ever hand over free money, like the stupid Brit government has done.

·         Mlimo says: Someone has to pay for mugabe s 90th birthday party I can see the one million plus being stripped out already stupid british

·         Harry says: Castigate these British bufoons louder and they will open their wallets more often. Far easier than being productive and paying taxes.

·         andi evans says: It’s about time the British government woke up and stopped supporting Mugabe its a disgrace Mugabe and his cronies have caused the dire situation in Zimbabwe instead of making so many trips abroad he should use that funding to help educate the future leaders who hopefully will not follow in Mugabes footpath

·         gwabu says: the poor families who cannot afford fees for their children are the very same people who support Mugabe. this donations must be made clear that Mugabe has failed them and the british who Mugabe talks bad about all the time are the ones helping not the poor families but Mugabe so that he can preside over educated fools.

 For the article and all 30+ comments see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_british-govt-gives-zimbabwe-10-million-for-school-fees/.

 

The Vigil suggests that the money would be better spent on funding change in Zimbabwe rather than propping up the regime.

 

Other points

·         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.

·         After the Vigil supporters went on to a meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Peter Sidindi reported on a Vigil protest at a Zimbabwean tourism promotion at a London restaurant on Thursday evening. The defensive restaurant proprietor was abusive and threatened to call the police when Vigil activists arrived with our banner ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ and posters reading ‘No Rule of Law in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Zimbabwe Tourism props up Mugabe’. Because the demo was organised at the last minute we hadn’t got police permission so we were forced to leave. Thanks to those who attempted to protest: Cephas Maswoswa, Mary Muteyerwa, Peter Sidindi and Sharon Zimuto (all the way from Southend).

·         ZAF also heard a report on a Vigil meeting with SW Radio Africa on Thursday to discuss how we could work together and plans for a protest at the AU / EU summit next month if Mugabe attends.  

·         A group from the Vigil (Iline Manhunzi, Sithobekhile Mlilo, Thandie Mlilo, Godknows Chigumba and Fungay Mabhunu) went to Heathrow on Wednesday evening to demonstrate against the threatened deportation of our supporter Try Mahachi. We are relieved to say he wasn’t put on the plane. For a photo of the demonstration see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/sets/72157641724263684/.

·         Thanks to Mary Muteyerwa, Bridget Zhakata, Joseph Chivayo and Fungayi who were there at the start of the Vigil 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: 40 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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

·         ROHR Middlesbrough Branch Launch. Saturday 8th March from 1 – 6 pm. Venue: Humanah CIC, Unit 5 BBC Broadcasting House, Brentnall Street, Middlesbrough TS1 4JA. Meet ROHR Zimbabwe Founder & President Ephraim Tapa for question and answer time on ROHR Zimbabwe objectives and activities both in Zimbabwe and in the UK; share your ideas about ROHR Middlesbrough Branch activities and more! For more information please contact: Masimba Musodza 07581887359, Ndumiso Ncube 07448522328, Xoliso Sithole 07449005447 and Tapiwa Semwayo 07412236229.

·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 15th 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.

·         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.

·         ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 4 April – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 April – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Marlborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatsson.

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

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

·         Facebook pages:

 
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.

 
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