Zimbabwe Vigil PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 October 2018 07:04

Zimbabwe Vigil

Every Saturday from 14.00 - 18.00 since October 2002

Zimbabwe Vigil Mission Statement:

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London, will take place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime n Zimbabwe. The Vigil will continue until internationally - monitored, free and fair lections are held in Zimbabwe.

Looking for Vigil pictures? See them on Flickr Click here

 
Asylum panic in UK diaspora – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 15th December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 December 2018 11:45

Zimbabweans without settled status in the UK have been alarmed by a report in a daily newspaper here, the Independent, that Britain is working with officials from the Zimbabwe Embassy to send them back home, where they say they fear persecution.

The Independent says that at least seven Zimbabweans, some of whom have lived in Britain for more than a decade, were last week ordered to attend meetings at a Home Office (ministry of internal affairs) building in Sheffield where they were questioned by an Embassy official. The same process was said to have taken place in other parts of the country. (see: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/asylum-seekers-home-office-zimbabwe-immigration-embassy-political-persecution-africa-a8675571.html).

The newspaper interviewed Marian Machekanyanga who said she had been a trade union activist and had fled to the UK 16 years ago. She said she was invited to attend a Home Office meeting and was surprised when she saw a Zimbabwean official in the room. ‘The man had my file on the table. He started speaking to me in my native language. I asked him if I could call my solicitor and he said ‘no’. He said the Home Office had asked him to interview us. I was really frightened. Why is the Home Office giving my details to the government I ran away from? I know they will still be after me. Anyone who has claimed asylum in England is an enemy to the government.’

Another failed asylum seeker, who said he came to the UK on a student visa in 2003, and has since posted anti-government blogs, said he was highly suspicious when he saw a Zimbabwean official. ‘He was asking for more information about myself to confirm my identity. He wanted to know about my parents and relatives in Zimbabwe. I refused to give him information about myself. I was afraid. If they confirmed it was me, what would they do with that information? He wasn’t even concerned about whether I was an asylum seeker.’

The man, whose asylum claim had been rejected by the Home Office, said he would ‘surely be a target’ if he were removed. ‘I know why they want to help the UK remove asylum seekers. They want to legitimise the current government and be readmitted to the Commonwealth and get foreign investment. They’ve been approached by the British government and have promised to help them’, he said.

The UK’s relations with Zimbabwe have improved since the overthrow of Mugabe and the Independent says the latest British move is part of an agreement with Zimbabwe under which the UK would repatriate 2.500 people.

The Vigil understands it is British policy when seeking to deport failed asylum seekers to engage their country of origin to ensure they are not refused entry. Some asylum seekers either don’t have or have destroyed their identity documents and some countries routinely refuse to take them back.

Social media has been alive with scare stories following the Independent’s article so the Vigil approached the Home Office for more information. All they would offer us was a one sentence statement which had already appeared in the Independent: ‘A routine redocumentation interview event took place in Sheffield on Tuesday 4 December’.

We think this is inadequate and that the Home Office should be more open about the matter (see: https://www.facebook.com/taffi.nyawanza/posts/2365431770151213).

In Zimbabwe, the Secretary for Information, Nick Mangwana, who used to lead Zanu PF in the UK, said Harare welcomed back its sons and daughters regardless of the circumstances under which they left the country (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/feel-free-to-come-home-diasporans-told/).

The Vigil thinks it would be a good idea if Zimbabwe offered further reassurances about the treatment of people returned to the country and suggest that the UK’s massive foreign aid budget could be used to support some independent agency – perhaps the International Organisation for Migration – to monitor their treatment.

The Vigil’s own policy is clear: we do not accept the legitimacy of the Mnangagwa government and are not sure that it is safe to send back known anti-government activists such as the people who campaign with us week after week, year after year in rain and snow. But we can only speak for them.

Other points

  • China has intensified it's grip, control and access to Zimbabwe's mineral wealth by reportedly demanding diamonds and oil drilling rights from President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government, as payment for printing and backing a new Zimbabwe currency, and the building of an opulent new capital city in Mount Hampden, Spotlight Zimbabwe has reported.’ (See: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-151633.html).
  • Despite the lack of court action against corrupt Zanu PF bigwigs, President Mnangagwa is said to have complained of rampant corruption at the party’s central committee meeting in Harare on Wednesday  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #0433ff; -webkit-text-stroke: #0433ff} span.s1 {font-kerning: none; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #000000} span.s2 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #0433ff}

    (see: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/12/14/ed-fumes-over-r5-million-bribe).

  • The South African Constitutional Court has ruled that former President Zuma acted unlawfully in shutting down the tribunal of the Southern African Development Community. This means that the South African government could be held liable for losses suffered by Zimbabwe’s farmers whose land was seized by Mugabe’s government, which was declared illegal by the tribunal (see:  https://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/concourt-judgment-on-zuma-and-sadc-tribunal-welcom).
  • On a cold, gloomy and unrelentingly wet day a valiant eight people (with 2 children) attended a curtailed Vigil. Others may well have been prevented from getting to us by ice and snow in other parts of the country. Thanks particularly to: Miriam Gasho, Simbarashe Jingo, Patricia Masamba, Margaret Munenge, Tapiwa Muskwe, and Collins Tutani. Special thanks to Co-ordinator Patricia Masamba who struggled through heavy traffic to pick up the Vigil paraphernalia so she can run the Vigil next week.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
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Not open for business – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 December 2018 17:22

Zimbabwe’s biggest food processing company has closed its wheat mills because of the foreign currency shortage. Lack of foreign exchange means we have perennial fuel shortages. One can’t buy medicines from pharmacies without US dollars. But if you try to get dollars from money changers you could go to jail. 

Zimbabwe is desperate for investment so it is sobering to learn that it is neglecting the opportunity to get billions of dollars under China’s Belt and Road initiative. This programme and its accompanying Forum for China/Africa Co-operation involves a planned trillion dollars to build railways, ports and other infrastructure on three continents.

The acting Chinese Ambassador, Zhao Baogang, told a media briefing in Harare that he was surprised that an ally as desperate for investment as Zimbabwe had not applied for some of this money. ‘Abundant resources are there and they are just waiting for you’, he said, adding that every time he engaged Zimbabwean officials about the matter they had not read the relevant documents. ‘I just give my constructive proposals and sincerely wish that everyone will come and read them’, he said. ‘If you don’t you will not come up with very good projects’. (See: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-151018.html.)

Criticism of Zimbabwean representatives also appeared in an opinion piece by Gary Kleiman, founder of Kleiman International, specialists in global financial emerging markets, published today in the London Financial Times. He criticised  a recent Zimbabwean delegation as ‘inexperienced at global investor gatherings’ and described their presentation as poor. Mr Kleiman suggested a joint foreign and domestic taskforce could help to clear a path to financial stability (see: https://www.ft.com/content/492aeb6e-f8b3-11e8-af46-2022a0b02a6c). 

Against this background it is not surprising to read of the difficulties facing new finance minister Mthuli Ncube. One observer, the Zimbabwean journalist Blessing Vava, says the minister had been put on a ‘tight leash’ and is being forced to take decisions on political and not economic grounds.

Mr Vava says the dilemma facing President Mnangagwa is that serious reform would jeopardise his own position. He concludes: ‘The Zanu PF government knows what needs to be done but it is unwilling to undermine its own political interests.’ (See: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1141691346007650&id=289756887867771&__tn__=K-R).

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Simbarashe Jingo, Jane Kaphuwa, Jonathan Kariwo, Rosemary Maponga, Bianca Mpawaenda, Faith Ndhlovu and Bigboy Sibanda. Thanks to Bianca, Rosemary and Joyce Mbairatsunga for looking after the front table, to Faith, Bigboy, Simbarashe and Jane for handing out flyers and to Jonathan for taking photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. 

FOR THE RECORD: 15 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 15th December from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  •  The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
 
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Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2010
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2009
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2008
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