Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 27th November 2010 Print
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Sunday, 28 November 2010 14:42

A photograph of the Vigil in The Zimbabwean last week showed supporters displaying our banner ‘Elections in Zimbabwe now’. How strange that this should be a controversial position – opposed by many NGOs among others. But it reflects our belief that the ‘unity’ government is going nowhere. In fact we believe that it has allowed Mugabe to so entrench himself in power that he could be invited with a straight face to the EU-Africa Summit in Tripoli. 

Two of the Vigil’s friends, Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Zimbabwe, and Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP for South East England, told us of their disgust at Mugabe’s attendance.  Kate said ‘it is disgraceful that the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will be welcoming Mugabe to a meeting sponsored by the EU. Mugabe is currently mobilising armed violence yet again to stamp on democratic expression in Zimbabwe.’  For his part, Geoffrey said ‘I doubt that anyone will have the guts to mention their disapproval of Mugabe's presence when they are feasting in Libya’. (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news261110/anger261110.html).  

It has become clear that Zanu PF will never agree to changes which would threaten its dominance, ie reforms of any kind. Mugabe has indicated that he wants to have elections by next June – apparently so that he can hand over power to his ‘ever-obedient son’ Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa who would guarantee him a safe retirement.  

Preparations are, by all accounts, well under way to secure Mugabe’s victory by the traditional methods: violence, intimidation and bribery. This is why the Vigil has collected many thousands of signatures for our petition calling on the UN to send in observers and a peace-keeping force.   

The recent abortive SADC troika meeting shows that Zimbabweans can place no reliance whatsoever on help from our neighbours – whatever Zuma might say. Indeed the fact that SADC has suspended its own legal tribunal shows the depths to which it will go in its support for Mugabe. As for the African Union, it is of no use since it has simply delegated the whole matter to SADC. So we must concentrate on embarrassing the UN into action. 

The British Ambassador to Harare, Mark Canning, says Zimbabwe is not ready for elections. Where is he coming from? He should have helped to make Zimbabwe ready for elections instead of wasting time and money on the ludicrous constitutional outrage programme now virtually jettisoned.  

The Vigil believes that so long as Zanu PF is in power Zimbabwe will never be ready for elections – not next year or 2013 or ever. But postponing elections will only further undermine the MDC and prolong the suffering of the people. The Vigil believes Zanu PF could not survive bludgeoning its way to another election victory.   

Other Points
·       The ZimVigil TV website (www.zimvigiltv.com) was launched on Friday. Thanks to Dr Tim Rusike of ZBN News who set it up for us. The website will be managed by a team selected by the Vigil and has space for videos, picture gallery, community area and blog. Most of the content is still to be uploaded. Dr Tim will be uploading the complete ZimVigil TV archive.
·       Nyasha Mandaza from Glasgow set off for the Vigil at 3 pm on Friday in freezing conditions and spent the day with us (also in freezing conditions) before her journey home at 11 pm on Saturday.
·       Our attendance was understandably down given that travel in many parts of the country was disrupted by snow.
·       Christmas this year falls on a Saturday so we want to let people know that we do not plan to meet outside Zimbabwe House on Christmas day because there will be no public transport and central London will be deserted. Instead we ask supporters to join a ‘virtual Vigil’ remembering friends and family in Zimbabwe in their prayers between 2 and 6 pm.   

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.   

FOR THE RECORD:  119 signed the register. 

·       The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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.
·       ROHR Woking Christmas Party. Saturday 4th December from 2 – 10 pm. Venue: The Church House, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Contact Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Thandiwe Mabodoko 07552402416, Thoko Khlokanka 07886203113 or P Mapfumo on 07915926323/07932216070.
·       ROHR Nottingham launch meeting. Saturday 11th December. Venue: St Saviour’s Community Hall, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Contact Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·       ROHR Liverpool branch Christmas fundraising party. Saturday 18th December from 2 – 10 pm. Venue: Kensington Methodist Church, 294 Kensington, Liverpool L7 2RN. Traditional food available and Zimbabwean sounds and lots more. Contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Sheilla Mironga 07578541227, Patience Karimanzira 07832712074
·       Christmas Virtual Vigil. Saturday 25th December.  We will not be meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy because there will be no public transport and central London will be deserted.  Please join a virtual Vigil by praying for Zimbabwe and singing the national anthem at 6 pm.
·       Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·       Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·       ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe
·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part