UK paper urges aid to Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th May 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 06 May 2012 19:01


Britain is one of the most generous aid donors to Zimbabwe. Official aid alone runs to about £80 million a year. It is carefully dispersed by the Department for International Development but that’s not good enough for the masochistic Guardian. Things have certainly not got better at the Guardian since Murambatsvina seven years ago – hailed by the newspaper at the time as a visionary approach to urban planning! Strangely, it is an event the Guardian has never re-examined, although it is widely accepted that it destroyed the homes and livelihoods of many hundreds of thousands of people.


So the Vigil was not surprised to find the Guardian publishing the latest addled article on Zimbabwe by Alex Duval Smith. She appears to have lost her foothold in the Guardian’s competitor The Independent ( independent of everyone except its Russian oligarch owner who can afford to give it away). Ms Smith’s incoherent article has everything that would endear it to the Guardian: anti-British, ‘victimist’ and off-the-wall irrational (see: Aid to Zimbabwe must take account of resettled farmers on contested land –


Ms Smith appears to argue that Britain should stop funding Zimbabwe’s education, health and social welfare, not to mention the food aid programme which is helping to keep many Zimbabweans alive, and instead hand the money over to unsuccessful farmers settled on land violently seized from their former owners. The Vigil wonders why Ms Smith does not propose that some of the estimated $2 billion a year from the state-owned Marange mines is not used for this purpose. After all common sense suggests there must be a lot of money sloshing around since only $19 million appears so far to have been sent to Finance Minister Biti whose ‘pie in the sky’ budget talked of $600 million of diamond revenue this year.


But we agree with Ms Smith that Britain’s aid to Zimbabwe should be reassessed. We are not suggesting that the money should go to Mugabe, however, but that some of it should help fund the fight for democracy as proposed by the Treasurer General of the MDC Roy Bennett. The Vigil doubts that the Guardian will be interested in this proposal. But we recommend that the newspaper looks at a new article by Dale Dore if they want a more rounded understanding of the farming crisis in Zimbabwe (see: - The Nationalist Narrative and Land Policy in Zimbabwe).


Other points

·        The Zimbabwe Action Forum had a productive meeting after the Vigil at which it was agreed that if the Zimbabwean diaspora is to organize an effective campaign for change it is necessary for all groups – political or other – to work together to put Zimbabwe first. Those attending would think about strategies and spread the word to others to attend the next Forum. Some of those attending would start work on a diaspora database which could be a useful tool in the fight for the diaspora vote. The meeting was attended by: Nelissa Benza, Sandra Chidemo, Ellen Gonyora, Bernard Hukwa, Jonathan Kariwoh, Fungayi Mabhunu. Thelma Majola, Georgina Makaza, Jaison Mawere, Siphelo Moswa, Beauty Musewe, Edward Mutamiswa, Sihle Sibanda, Ephraim Tapa, Crimson Tazvinzwa and Rose Benton.

·        Some Vigil supporters went to hear a talk by Swazi trade unionist Vincent Dlamini who visited the Vigil last week. They were shocked to hear that some Swazi women were reduced to eating cow dung.

·        Around 30 people have taken up the Globe Theatre’s offer of free tickets to see the Shona production of ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ on Wednesday afternoon. 

·        A large group of Hartlepool Smurfs (supporters of Hartlepool United) in their blue and white costumes joined the Vigil today. They were down for a match against Charlton Athletic. Unfortunately they lost – our commiserations.

·        Thanks to Vigil regular Louisa Musaerenge who stepped in to look after the front table in the absence of Vigil management team member Lady Shuga (Josephine Zhuga).


For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.


FOR THE RECORD: 59 signed the register.



·        ‘The Rain that Washes’ – Zimbabwean theatre production. From 2nd – 19th May at 7.30 pm – matinees 10th May at 1 pm and 19th May at 3.30 pm. Venue: Studio Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. It is a one-man show based on a true story. “Following the dream of majority rule, one man sees Ian Smith's Rhodesia become Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. From refugee camps in Botswana to air strikes in Zambia via Marxism in Bulgaria, he returns to Zimbabwe, only to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . .” Running time: 60 minutes. Tickets £8 (£6). To book, call 020 8292 9222, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or book online at Chickenshed is between Oakwood and Cockfosters tube stations, and on bus routes 298, 299, 307 and N91. Free parking is  available.

·        Two Gentlemen of Verona Shona Production at the Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT. Dates / Times: Wednesday 9 May, 2.30pm. Thursday 10 May, 7.30pm. Tickets available from 020 7401 9919 and A two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. In a triumphantly energetic ‘township’ style, Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu slip into all of the play’s fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog – in this new, specially commissioned translation for the international Shakespeare season.

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th May from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 2nd June from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: 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 big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link:  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

·        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. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·        ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·        The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and

·        Vigil Facebook page:

·        Vigil Myspace page:


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