Let them drown? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th April 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 April 2015 18:33

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News that some 700 migrants from Africa drowned when their rickety boat capsized in the Mediterranean off Libya came within hours of a meeting at which the Zimbabwe Action Forum discussed the failure of the European Union and the African Union to deal with the growing crisis posed by the headlong flight from Africa and the Middle East.

 

Our day was spent outside the Zimbabwe Embassy protesting at Mugabe’s regime on the 35th anniversary of independence. But discussion at the Forum after the Vigil turned to wider issues of bad governance, prompted by our contempt of the African Union for electing genocidal Mugabe as their chairman.

 

Anger was only marginally less against the European Union for its pusillanimous refusal to save our children from the people traffickers. An inspiration for these hypocritical EU cowards is the British government which argues ‘don’t fish them out of the water – it will just encourage more to come’. All this as an African woman drowned after jumping into the waves in a desperate attempt to save her child washed overboard.  And when Muslim fanatics hurled Christian refugees out of their boat because they would not stop praying to God for salvation.

 

The forum discussed the following ideas:

1.     European countries will not agree to open their borders to all comers.

2.     The lamentable state of African governments led by icons such as Mugabe will continue to drive a flood of refugees to Europe.

3.     International aid to Africa is largely misspent.

4.     Some of these billions of dollars could be directed at creating a UN protection zone, perhaps in north Africa, where rescued migrants could receive food and medical attention, and indeed schooling, while their asylum claims for Europe could be processed.

 

The Forum is to continue its discussion at its next meeting in two weeks’ time but in the meantime the Vigil would welcome any feedback on these exploratory ideas.

 

As if to show how out of touch with reality the Mugabe regime is, the Herald would have us believe that, after 35 years of independence, Zimbabwe is poised to become a land of milk and honey – or in the paper’s topsy-turvy world honey and milk.

 

It says: ‘the Government, even in the face of harsh economic sanctions that have cost the country over $40 billion, has made significant and notable progress . . . Indeed through the leadership of President Mugabe, honey and milk will flow in all the corners of the country. ZIM-ASSET is one policy which if embraced by all Zimbabweans will take this country to another level and position this country as one of the most performing economies in the world.’ (See: http://allafrica.com/stories/201504180024.html The Herald – Zimbabwe: Independence Supplement – Zim @35 - Yes, So Far So Good).

 

For his part, Welshman Ncube says ‘every true patriot must be hanging his or her head in collective shame at how we got ourselves to be the perfect caricature of a failed African state with its peoples beaten, defeated, and in grinding poverty, stoked daily by the spectre of hunger and in some cases starvation while scavenging for survival, pretty much like our ancestors would do before the dawn of organized state entities. As if the collect shame of all genuine patriots was not enough punishment what is shocking to the marrow is to witness the colloquialism that President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party or, should I say, his overzealous cronies in charge of their communication, choose to trivialize what is meant to be a period of objective self-reflection given that Zimbabwe is on an accelerated trajectory of self destruction. The so-called #1980sofarsogood ‘celebratory’ payoff line is a conundrum – a reckless bravado to deliberately mask the desperate reality of the poverty that’s due to the desperation afflicting millions of Zimbabweans. (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-ncube-treachery-of-1980-so-far-so-good/ – Ncube: Treachery of ‘1980 So Far So Good’).

 

Like Professor Ncube, the Vigil does not share the Herald writer’s sunny optimism. To us ZimAsset has from the beginning been pie in the sky. Even if it wasn’t, Zanu PF would have eaten the pie anyway. President of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe Ephraim Tapa told the Vigil: ‘On today’s 35th anniversary of independence we salute those who sacrificed for our freedom. What we did not know was that the struggle was to be privatised. With this came the privatisation of Zimbabwe to the exclusion of all others. This explains why 3 million people have been driven into exile, the masses reduced to poverty and the health and education systems destroyed while Mugabe and his cronies continue to grow richer. It explains why (human rights activist) Itai Dzamara has disappeared. But we have reason for hope when we reflect on the enduring ideals of the liberation struggle: equality, justice and freedom.’ 

 

The Vigil was joined outside the Zimbabwe Embassy by Mugabe himself (in the form of Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask).  He was surrounded by devils (Danny Kadiki, Deborah Harry and Admire Mhindurwa) bearing the gifts he has given the Zimbabwean people in his long reign: unemployment, starvation and terror.

 

It was our second day in a row outside the Embassy. On Friday we protested against the abduction last month of  Itai Dzamara and also visited South Africa House to deliver a letter demanding action over the xenophobic violence (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/press-releases/682-vigil-protests-17th-april-2015).  Activists from our sister organisation the Swaziland Vigil spent today with us and together we went again to the South African High Commission, where Zimbabwe Vigil supporter Esther Nyambi read a poem she has written: ‘South Africa stop xenophobia’. It begins ‘ South Africans let us remind you during apartheid all your neighbouring countries welcomed you with open arms’. The full poem can be seen on our campaigns page. A word of thanks to those who delivered the Zimbabwe Vigil letter to the South African High Commission on Friday: Patricia Masamba, Piyo Chigo, Mary Muteryerwa, Mary Eluwasi and Mary Ndoro.

 

Thanks also to those who sold sadza and stew to raise more than £40 to help the Vigil: Hilda Gwesele, Deborah Harry, Epiphania Phiri and Shylette Chipangura. Epiphania has also raised money for the Vigil by making and selling greetings cards. Finally thanks to Enniah Dube who came both days and ably looked after the front table.

 

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: 55 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·       Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 25th April 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.

·       ROHR Birmingham general members’ meeting. Saturday 25th April  from 1 – 4 pm. Venue: Malaika House, 81 George Street, Lozells B19 1NS. For more info contact: Chairperson: Thandiwe Gwarimba 07503 512308, Vice Chair: Tino Mashonganyika 07463 272078, Organising Secretary: JaneMary Mapfumo 07412 10429.

·       ROHR Middlesbrough General Meeting. Saturday 25th April from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Teesside University, Student Centre, Clarendon Building. TS1 3BA. For more information please contact Angeline Huni (Chairperson) on 07871367239 Helen Sibanda (Organising Secretary) on 07799574994. Everson T.Moyo (Information and Publicity) on 07479060769.

·       ROHR Executive Meeting: Saturday 2nd May at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.

·       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 2nd May 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.

·       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.

·       Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 2nd May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

·       12 Years: Zimbabwe Association Exhibition Launch. Tuesday 5th May from 6 – 8 pm. Venue: Oxford House in Bethnal Green, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery and shares the oral histories of Zimbabwean asylum seekers' experiences in the UK from 2001 to the present. This exhibition contains material from the Zimbabwe Association archive, an extensive collection of records of individual cases, legal documents, press cuttings, reports, correspondence, and TV and radio recordings. To book: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/12-years-zimbabwe-association-exhibition-launch-tickets-16235246058?ref=enivtefor001&invite=NzczMTg2NS9jby1vcmRpbmF0b3JAemltdmlna
WwuY28udWsvMA%3D%3D&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=
inviteformalv2&ref=enivtefor001&utm_term=attend

·       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:

Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts

ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

ROHR: https://www.facebook.co/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

·       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.

 
Vigil Protests: 17th April 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 April 2015 18:13

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Exiled Zimbabweans demonstrated outside the Zimbabwe Embassy and the South African High Commission in London on Friday 17th April in protest at the abduction in Harare of the civil rights activist Itai Dzamara and at the new upsurge of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

 

The protest came as ambassadors of SADC countries were holding a meeting at Zimbabwe House. Barriers were placed outside the Embassy and police kept guard after several incidents in which demonstrators entered the building in attempts to deliver a letter. Police said their presence followed an Embassy complaint to the Foreign Office.

 

Once again the Embassy refused to accept the Vigil’s letter and the demonstrators were told they could not even push it under the closed front door. So we posted it at the local post office.

 

The letter said: ‘We would like to discuss with you the abduction of the human rights activist Itai Dzamara who was seen being taken away in an unmarked car by five armed men on Monday 9th March. We fear that he is the latest victim of the Central Intelligence Organisation which has been responsible for the disappearance of thousands of opponents of the Mugabe regime. Zimbabwe Vigil fears that the unbridled criminal behaviour by the Mugabe regime is stoking a fire which could consume our people. Because the Embassy has no letterbox we will deliver this letter in person. We assure you that we come with peaceful intentions and intend at all times to obey the law which recognises our rights as Zimbabweans to approach our Embassy.’

 

Vigil activists, who were joined by representatives of a number of Zimbabwean groups, took time out from the demonstration to gather outside the nearby South African High Commission. Amid singing and drumming they presented a letter for President Zuma protesting at the upsurge of xenophobic violence in South Africa. Unlike the hostile reception at their own Embassy, the South Africans received the letter courteously:

 

The letter read: Zimbabweans in the diaspora condemn the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa and call on your government to ensure their safety. We find it disheartening that the attacks are taking place at a time when regional bodies such as SADC are calling for closer ties among African states through the scrapping of visas. We cannot speak for other groups seeking refuge in South Africa from poverty, economic crises, war and government persecution in their home countries. But as far as Zimbabweans are concerned, we hold South Africa responsible for the desperate situation in our country caused by your unwavering support for the oppressive Mugabe regime, publicly displayed only recently during Mugabe’s visit to South Africa. We warn you that until you change sides and support instead the democratic aspirations of our oppressed people you will never see an end to the tide of refugees fleeing Zimbabwe.’

 

On Saturday, the Zimbabwe Vigil will mark the 35th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s Independence with a demand that Mugabe must go.

 

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: 31 signed the register.

 
Deadly silence – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 11th April 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 April 2015 15:19

While Mugabe continues to flaunt himself abroad, there has been a deafening silence from the Zanu PF regime about the abduction of civil rights activist Itai Dzamara despite a court order to search for him.

 

On 9th April, exactly a month after Dzamara’s disappearance, the United States reiterated its call to the Zimbabwean authorities to mobilise their full resources to investigate the abduction and repeated its support for his right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

 

For its part, Amnesty International marked the month since Dzamara’s disappearance with a statement saying there seemed to be no credible investigation taking place. It said ‘It is also worrying that police and state security agents have not been fully complying with the order to keep the High Court informed. If someone can just disappear without a trace it begs the question who is safe in Zimbabwe?’

 

Even ousted Vice-President Mujuru claimed to be outraged by Zanu PF’s indifference to Dzamara’s fate. ‘One wonders if the Politburo ever spared any moment to enquire on the disappearance or lack of news on the whereabouts of young Itai Dzamara and what his young family is going through. My prayers go to all those who are hurting in silence,’ she said, adding: ‘Given the prevailing economic hardships, the looming food crisis and the declining inflows to the fiscus, the Politburo’s silence on these matters is deafening.’

 

Zimbabwean exiles in the UK have made repeated unsuccessful attempts in the past month to deliver a letter to the Zimbabwe Embassy in London seeking information about Dzamara, with whom we were in contact as late as the day before his disappearance. Now the Vigil has informed the police that we are to hold a special demonstration outside the Embassy on Friday 17th April. (For text of our letter to the police see our campaigns page: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/678-text-of-letter-to-the-westminster-police.)

 

As we explain in the letter to the police, we plan to send a small delegation into the Embassy to present the Ambassador with the (now battered) letter. But the Vigil fully expects the Embassy to be closed because they are likely to have heard of our protest, in which case we will push the letter under the front door.

 

During the Friday protest we will take the opportunity to present a letter to the nearby South African High Commission expressing our alarm at the new upsurge of xenophobic violence against people fleeing to South Africa from oppression and poverty elsewhere in Africa. For details of Friday’s protest see ‘Events and Notices’ below.

 

Other points

  • The Vigil will be marking 35 years of Zimbabwean decline on Independence Day on Saturday 18th April. For Cathy Buckle’s assessment of Mugabe’s achievements see: http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=180 – Wo are we? Zimbabwe at 35.

  • Channel 4 TV had an interesting half hour programme about satire in Zimbabwe on 10th April. To watch this, check: Unreported world: Standing up to Mugabe – http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/on-demand/60446-003. You will need to sign in to watch the programme.

  • A Zimbabwean writer Mushiringi De Villiers has written to us about a book he has written ‘Bread and Butter Issues: The Tyranny of Ignorance’. If you are interested in reading the book you can  whatsapp sms him on +263 773 572 786.

  • Thanks to Roda Majoni, Nichodemas Nicholas Moyo, Fungayi Mabhunu and Thobile Gwebu who were there at the start of the Vigil to help set up.

     

    FOR THE RECORD: 40 signed the register.

     

    EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Vigil for Itai Dzamara. Friday 17th April from 10.30 – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR. We will attempt to deliver a letter to the Zimbabwean Ambassador demanding information about the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara. We will also deliver a letter to nearby South Africa House expressing alarm at xenophobic violence against foreign nationals including Zimbabweans, in South Africa.

  • Independence Day Vigil, Saturday 18th April from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. We will be marking 35 years of Zimbabwean decline.

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 18th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Chair: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Secretary: Brenda Chavhundura 07428227530, Organising Secretary: Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.

  • ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 18th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Faith Shimongola (Vice Chairperson) 07500960117, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214. This meeting will be held in a separate area to the ROHR Central London branch meeting.

  • 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 18th April 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.

  • 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.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 25th April 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.

  • ROHR Executive Meeting: Saturday 2nd May at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.

  • 12 Years: Zimbabwe Association Exhibition Launch. Tuesday 5th May from 6 – 8 pm. Venue: Oxford House in Bethnal Green, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery and shares the oral histories of Zimbabwean asylum seekers' experiences in the UK from 2001 to the present. This exhibition contains material from the Zimbabwe Association archive, an extensive collection of records of individual cases, legal documents, press cuttings, reports, correspondence, and TV and radio recordings. To book: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/12-years-zimbabwe-association-exhibition-launch-tickets-16235246058?ref=enivtefor001&invite=NzczMTg2NS9jby1vcmRpbmF0b3JAemltdmlna
    WwuY28udWsvMA%3D%3D&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=
    inviteformalv2&ref=enivtefor001&utm_term=attend

  • 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.

 
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