All Zimbabweans will be pleased that the veteran BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson thinks of Zimbabwe as ‘intensely beautiful, calm and welcoming’.
In an article in the British Daily Telegraph, Mr Simpson says he hasn’t visited Zimbabwe for 6 years because he has been banned by the Harare regime but, although its troubles aren’t over, ‘it’s going through a period of relative political stability’.
The Vigil thinks Mr Simpson should get out less. Instead of pontificating in the world’s hot spots and tossing off trite pieces for the travel pages he should, as Eternal Windbag of BBC Television News, do some research into what is happening in Zimbabwe before he next writes about it (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/72787/john-simpson-banished-from-beautiful-zimbabwe.html - John Simpson: banished from beautiful Zimbabwe).
He could, for instance, Google Zimbabwe and would be surprised to find that Zimbabwe is anything but calm. As for ‘relative political stability’, he will see that the ruling mafia is tearing itself apart, that the unemployed urban masses are facing down the army while starvation again confronts the rural areas – now accused by Second Vice President Mphoko of betraying the revolution by not growing anything on the land seized from commercial farmers (see: http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=184 - Practiced Hawks or Silenced Prey).
The ‘liberator of Kabul’, BBC oracle Simpleton might even come across an article in the latest edition of the American ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine co-authored by Jeffrey Smith of the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Human Rights and Todd Moss of Global Development (Ominous warning signs resurface in Zimbabwe – http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/03/ominous-warning-signs-resurface-in-zimbabwe/?wp_login_redirect=0).
They say: ‘Over the course of the past few months, we have witnessed an ominous series of warning signs: bitter political infighting within the country’s ruling party, the worsening of already deplorable economic conditions, the abduction and disappearance of a prominent human rights activist, and a surge of inflammatory rhetoric and political violence.’
They continue: ‘The latest developments in Zimbabwe come at a time when the country’s economy is again collapsing and the political elite are tearing themselves apart in a battle for succession. Monitors of mass atrocity risk typically watch for ethnic exclusion, hate speech, and indicators of political and economic stress. The greatest indicator of a country’s atrocity risk is whether it has suffered from similar events in the past. All of these factors are currently, and ominously, present in Zimbabwe.’
So ’calm’ and ‘relative political stability’ don’t immediately spring to mind. Perhaps Mr Simpleton is asleep like President Mugabe, wandering the world like the Flying Dutchman, treated in Nigeria a few days ago as a geriatric imbecile even before demonstrating the reality of this by snoring his way through President Buhari’s inauguration (see:
http://saharareporters.com/2015/06/02/robert-mugabe-taking-his-legendary-daily-nap-during-buharis-inauguration-abuja and http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-22882-Mugabe+humilliated+in+Nigeria/news.aspx).
· A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil agreed to write to Prime Minister David Cameron disowning Mugabe’s anti-white comments at a recent visit to the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community in Botswana. Mugabe, who is not only the SADC chair but the African Union chair as well, speaking of the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa said Africans should direct their anger at whites rather than other blacks (see Vigil diary of 23rd May: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/691-mugabes-poison-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-23rd-may-2015). The meeting felt that Mugabe’s racist tirade did not represent the views of the Zimbabwean people and were an embarrassment to Zimbabweans forced by Mugabe’s misrule to seek the hospitality of other countries. The meeting decided to run the following petition at the Vigil: ‘Exiled Zimbabweans, supporters and friends, at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, record our disgust at the anti-white rants of Zimbabwe’s illegitimate President Mugabe. We wish to affirm our unwavering support of Zimbabwe’s constitutional requirement for non-racism.’ We are planning to present our letter and petition to 10 Downing Street on Saturday 27th June.
· The Forum also resolved to hold a protest outside the Embassy on Saturday 11th July to mark 4 months since the abduction of the human rights campaigner Itai Dzamara by the Central Intelligence Organisation. The Vigil does not accept the regime’s claim that he abducted himself.
· Thanks to Eunice Mucherechedzo, Muchineripi (Ebson) Chigwedere, Deborah Harry, Esther Nyambi, Nobukhosi Moyo, Roda Majoni, Sukoluhle Sibanda and Fungayi Mabhunu for arriving early to help set up. Thanks also to Deborah and Epiphania Phiri for selling drinks to raise funds for the Vigil and to Elton Mzezewa for his gift to the Vigil of 3 packs of printer / copier paper.
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: 54 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 13th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
· ROHR Reading Branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 13th June from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Pakistan Community Centre, London Road, Reading RG1 3PA. For further information contact: Charles D Ndlovu 07413879590, Eric Eluwasi 07888310582, Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Deborah Harry 07748723974 and Shylette Chipangura 07828929806.
· ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 13th June from 11 am – 1 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW. For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803.
· ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 13th June from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: Eastleigh Library, 1st Floor, Swan Centre, Eastleigh, SO50 5SF. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Edward Mukuze (Info & Publicity Officer) 07463975108 and Michael Mpofu (Fundraising Officer) on 07704874196.
· ROHR Southampton fundraising fashion show. Saturday 13th June from 6 – 8 pm. Venue: The Edinburgh Wollen Mill, 41 Market Street, Eastleigh SO50 5RF. Tickets £5 with automatic entry into charity raffle for ROHR Zimbabwe. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Edward Mukuze (Info & Publicity Officer) 07463975108 and Michael Mpofu (Fundraising Officer) on 07704874196.
· ROHR Birmingham general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th June from 1 – 4 pm. Venue: Menzies Hotel,225 Hagley Rd, Birmingham B16 9RY. For more info contact: Chairperson: Thandiwe Gwarimba 07503 512308, Vice Chair: Tino Mashonganyika 07463 272078, Organising Secretary: JaneMary Mapfumo 07412 310429.
· ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 20th June from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL. Contact: Chair: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Organising Secretary: Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.
· 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.
· Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 20th June 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 an optician. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
· Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 27th June at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.
· Facebook pages:
· SW Radio Africa’s website and sound archive is being hosted on www.archive.org. Go to the site and type in swradioafrica which will link you to snapshots of their site over the years and at the top of that page a link to their website where, under podcasts, you will find the audio.