Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 28th February 2009 Print
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Sunday, 01 March 2009 15:50

People at the Vigil felt betrayed by the hypocrisy of SADC and the African Union. Under pressure from them, the MDC agreed to give the unity government a chance. But the two useless organizations have failed to make Mugabe keep his promises and, when Tsvangirai and Biti asked for financial help at the SADC meeting in Cape Town, suddenly all you could see were ostriches: heads in the dirt and bums in your face.  

We were outraged that the African Development Bank had the nerve to demand the repayment of half a billion US dollars in Mugabe debts before further help would be considered. The IMF has always been accused of imposing ‘illegal sanctions’ for the same thing.   

So now we know where we are. The AU and SADC are imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. But they have generously agreed to ask the European Union and the United States to give more money to Zimbabwe – although these donors are already providing most of the humanitarian aid.   

The Vigil believes there is a solution – along the lines of one of our petitions: money for Zimbabwe should be taken out of international monetary support for the SADC countries.  

It was another large Vigil and many people stopped to sign our petitions and look at the poster demanding the release of political prisoners.   

Some points:
·        It was good to meet Steve Garvey, a teacher at the Dolphin School in Battersea.  His class of 8/9 year-olds has become very interested in Zimbabwe and is planning a project and fundraiser. Steve was keen to have a Zimbabwean speak to his class. Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu has agreed to go. 
·        The Vigil was pleased to have Sister Beverly Mutandiro leading prayers again – apologies for getting her name wrong last week.
·        First-timer at last week’s mock birthday party for Mugabe at the Vigil was Mzamo Ngwenya. She sent us the following email “I was one of your new faces last week. It was so amazing. For the first time in six years I felt very happy and proud to be a Zimbabwean. The welcome was so warm and to meet people with the same passion as me was just an amazing experience. Thank you so much. Keep it up. God bless.”
·        Also at the birthday bash was freelance journalist Sheena Rossiter with a camera team.  They made a video of the event. Check: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8i4p0_fake-mugabes-85th-birthday_news.
·        We have been asked by Guardian Films (part the Guardian newspaper group) to publicise their film exposing the horrors of the cholera epidemic claiming thousands of livesMugabe splashes out on birthday bash as cholera spirals out of control”. Check: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/26/zimbabwe-cholera-mugabe.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/ 

FOR THE RECORD: 278 signed the register. 

·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 3rd March at 7.30 pm. Venue: Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
·        ROHR Woking launch meeting. Saturday 7th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm Venue: Station Pub, 12 Chertsey Road, Woking GU21 5AB. Contact Thandi Mabodoko 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353.07588745353.
·         ZIMBABWE: WILL UNITY PREVAIL? with Lucia Matibenga MP. Chaired by Kate Hoey MP. Wednesday 11th March from 6.45 – 8 pm. Venue: Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, London, SW1A 2LW. For map, check: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/faxmap.pdf 
·        ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 14th March, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.
·        Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).