Leadership paralysis – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 01 November 2014 23:06



The Vigil can’t get excited about the EU’s decision to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe. We were told it was coming some time back. We simply point out that the sanctions (or ‘targeted measures’) were imposed because of Zimbabwe’s rigged elections and lack of respect for the law. This has not changed and the EU knows it, though they talk blithely about ‘progress’ . . .


The simple truth is that the EU has accepted that its policy on Zimbabwe has failed. Instead of calling Zimbabwe to account it has given up and now regards Zimbabwe as, in effect, a failed state – a view apparently supported by the IMF, which recently said Zimbabwe was ranked 244 in the world in GDP per capita, with only 3 countries in a worse state (see: on our Campaigns Page).


After our criticism of the British Ambassador in Harare for calling Mugabe ‘iconic’, the Vigil was pleased to note the caveats in her comments on the visit by a British trade mission. Ms Laing said ‘the Government of Zimbabwe will need to take steps to improve the environment for foreign investors, including those from the UK. We are clear too that economic progress must be matched by progress on governance and the rule of law, which are sought by Investors the world over, and are important in attracting those investors who help develop the local populations’ (see: Press Statement by Ambassador Catriona Laing on UK trade mission –


Finance Minister Chinamasa says the indigenisation law is to be clarified to encourage foreign investment but everyone knows that no decisions are being taken while Zanu PF tears itself apart. Mugabe himself complained that cabinet ministers must pull up their socks and get to work. But surely he was satirical as he went on to say they should cut down on expensive foreign jaunts . . . (see – President slams lazy ministers).


We are doubtful that a brief visit by British or Danish trade delegations will give them real insight into the tragedy playing out in Zimbabwe but it must have been difficult for them not to notice the paralysis of leadership in the country. As Zimbabweans in the diaspora, we can only welcome any genuine aid for the country that does not serve to prop up the regime. But we advise the EU businessmen to keep their eyes open. Zanu PF has created a culture in which agreements are never kept. As a surprised Chinamasa admitted after his last begging trip to China: they complained we hadn’t paid back our loans . . . !


So the message of the Vigil to the EU is: remember that there is rampant corruption, no rule of law and no prospect of free and fair elections under the current regime in Zimbabwe. The EU should take Morgan Tsvangirai’s point in his welcoming speech on Friday at his party congress: ‘Any re-engagement must be accompanied by a stubborn insistence by the international community on the universally accepted standards that ensure the guarantee of full freedoms and the enfranchising of the ordinary citizen. They must insist on key reforms that will ensure that the people put in place a legitimate government that will begin to address the challenges facing the nation.’ (See: President Morgan Tsvangirai’s opening address to the 4th congress of the MDC –!topic/mdcchangingtimes/


And the EU must also remember that, though Mugabe may be an icon, he is nevertheless an idiot, as so described by the new Malawi Ambassador to Harare (see: - New Malawi envoy called Mugabe an idiot).


Other points

  • Even though the EU seems to be waiting unto Mugabe’s 91st birthday before it lifts the travel sanctions on him and his clever wife, the old idiot popped up at the Vigil as part of Grace’s ‘meet the people’ tour. He was suitably attired for Halloween and accompanied by three weevils disguised as devils. They carried posters saying ‘Halloween Monster Mugabe and his weevils’. Thanks to Collin Chitekwe for donning the Mugabe mask and to Ishmael Makina, Eric Eluwasi and Tania Magume (who played a small weevil).

  • After the Vigil we walked down to the Strand Continental Hotel for our regular meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum where it was decided to seek permission from the Prime Minister’s office to present a petition to Downing Street about the EU sanctions. Ephraim Tapa, ROHR President, said he believed that China was supporting Mnangagwa in the Zanu PF power struggle and it looked as if Joice Mujuru would be ousted. He said the implosion of Zanu PF would be a very good thing for democracy.

  • Thanks to Tendai Chadehumbe, Mavis Chisvo, Deborah Harry, Eric Eluwasi, Eunice Mucherechedzo and Gladys Phiri for arriving early to help set up. Thanks to Deborah, Mercy Bayipayi and Shylette Chipangura of the ROHR Reading Branch for providing delicious sadza and stew.

    For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.


    FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.



  • Hope for Zimbabwe’. Tuesday 4th November from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, London. Hosted by the Mike Campbell Foundation with Ben Freeth, MBE, Christina Lamb, OBE, Dame Linda Dobbs (Chair). Tickets: £15. For more information, check:

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 15th November from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 15th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th November at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Reading Branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 22nd November from 10:30 am to 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Information and Publicity Officer: 07532021348. 

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: 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 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.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy


How can you help?

The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.