Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 30th May 2009 Print
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Sunday, 31 May 2009 19:53

There was much discussion at the Vigil about the forthcoming visit to the UK of Morgan Tsvangirai. We have been informed by MDC UK that he will be addressing a meeting in Kent as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and not as leader of the MDC.  He is said to be keen to engage with all Zimbabwean groups in the UK. The date apparently set for the meeting is Saturday, 20th June. We are sorry that some of us will not be able to attend because we have the Vigil on a Saturday. But no doubt many Vigil supporters will go to the Tsvangirai gathering.  

There was some debate at the Vigil about questions they should put to him:
-        Why do MDC people on the ground in Zimbabwe
feel let down?
Why have we not heard any member of the GNU talk about the starving prisoners?
-        How can anyone invest in Zimbabwe
when there is no rule of law?
-        If there is no security, how can Zimbabwe
hope to feed the 80% of its population on food aid?
Why is nothing being done by Parliament to ensure a free press etc?
-        Do you want us to come home? 

The Vigil is not surprised at the situation. Here is an extract from our diary of four months ago (31/01/2009). 

Most people who stopped to talk to us seemed well-informed about developments and no-one was surprised the Vigil was continuing. Certainly, our supporters turned out in unprecedented numbers and few of them had any confidence that the deal would work, given Mugabe’s failure to honour his undertakings in the power-sharing agreement of last September. 

We expect to see Morgan in London soon on a begging mission.  We believe there is a lot of support for extra humanitarian assistance but that he will face an uphill battle to get serious economic aid.  The UK and the US have already made clear that they will wait and see before committing real money. In other words they will have to be satisfied it will not drain into the hands of the Mugabe cronies.  This means the new government will have to prove a willingness to respect the rule of law: we do not believe that Zanu-PF has any idea what that means.   

We accept that there may be secret understandings between the parties that we don’t know about. Indeed, the bewildering policy flip-flops by the MDC would suggest that this is the case. But how do we know? Anyway, when Morgan comes to London we at the Vigil will still be protesting outside the Embassy with our banners ‘No to Mugabe. No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’. If he drops by the Embassy it will be the nearest he has come to us in our 6+ years here.   

We want Morgan to convince us that things have changed.  

It was good to be joined by Kudaushe Matimba (formerly of the Bundu Boys) who spoke to us about the situation of Zimbabwean musicians (he was upbeat).  Thanks to Ruvimbo Claire Maneya and Effie Hicks for their help in setting up the Vigil. 

One of our supporters Brightmore Mundandanda went to sign on at the immigration centre at Croydon for the first time.  He was immediately sent to detention in Dover.  We phoned the Zimbabwe Association for advice and they informed us that several people have been detained but the duration of the detention is short.  Apparently the Home Office does not have enough facilities at Croydon and other immigration centres to process all the Zimbabwean applications for asylum.  If you hear of anyone detained keep an eye on it and, if it stretches beyond a few days, contact the Zimbabwe Association. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  186 signed the register. 

·         ROHR West Bromwich launch meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: West Bromwich Town Hall
, High Street, B70 8DT. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Rejoice Moyo 07884126754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070
·         ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW
. Come in numbers lets make it our Zimbabwean Day soon after Africa Day. Zimbabweans lets Roooooh together in this Struggle for ROHR. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873 or Gift Pfupa 07909831158
·         ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue:  Prescot Lodge, 52-56 Prescot Road, Liverpool L7 0JA
. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688 0r Patrick Kushonga 07900857605
·         Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe
.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: http://www.hrforumzim.com.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 27th June at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 25th July at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London
·         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).