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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 3rd October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 October 2009 15:45

The Vigil is marking its seventh anniversary on Saturday 10th October by hosting President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace on a shopping expedition at Harrods. They complain that they are victims of illegal sanctions which have prevented them from spending their hard-earned millions on shopping trips to the West.  

The Southern African Development Community last month said the targeted sanctions are the cause of Zimbabwe’s ruin and demanded their removal.  The Vigil wants to meet SADC halfway and show what would happen if the sanctions are lifted.  

Two stalwarts of the Vigil, Fungayi Mabhunu and Gugu Tutani, will impersonate the presidential couple on their shopping spree.  Fungayi will once again be wearing our Mugabe mask. They will return to the Vigil with their purchases by rickshaw to be welcomed by SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors adopting their traditional posture – on their knees in worship of Mugabe. 

The Vigil has sent this letter to SADC’s Executive Secretary, Dr Tomáz Augusto Salomão:  

The Zimbabwe Vigil is presenting the following petition to Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, to pass on to the European Union. “A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe”.   

The presentation will take place at our regular Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 10th October to mark the Vigil’s 7th Anniversary. We reluctantly call for action against SADC members because of their failure to meet their obligations as guarantors of the power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe brokered by SADC a year ago. SADC was committed to reviewing the agreement after 6 months but declined to do so 8 months after the formation of the coalition government, despite an appeal by the Movement for Democratic Change to address outstanding issues which threaten the viability of the government.  

We have asked Mr Van Orden to accept the petition because of his close interest in the Zimbabwean situation. Thousands of people from all over world passing by the Vigil have signed the petition since we first presented a tranche to the European Union exactly a year ago. Since then SADC has been consistent in its refusal to help the people of Zimbabwe and the Vigil believes SADC countries must now be faced with consequences of their dereliction of duty.

SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors in London are being invited to join us at the Vigil to witness the handover of this petition by actors impersonating “His Excellency, President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces" Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, milk producer for Nestlé’s. Mr and Mrs Mugabe will be photographed earlier in the day shopping at Harrods – the denial of this “human right” was seen as the major problem by SADC at their last meeting in Kinshasha at which they called for targeted sanctions to be removed."

We were happy to have Josephine Zhuga on the front table, which engages with people passing by and gets them to sign our petitions etc. She says an IMF official stopped on his way to catch a plane to Harare.  He said things seemed to be getting better.  Josephine told him she disagreed and mentioned the unemployment, the problems with schools and hospitals, the lack of any respect for the rule of law and the continuing human rights abuses etc.   

We at the Vigil are in close contact all the time with family and friends all over Zimbabwe and are increasingly cynical at the over-optimistic spin so many people are trying to put on the situation in Zimbabwe where any dispassionate observer would see complete deadlock in implementing the Global Political Agreement and no rule of law. 

Thanks to Chipo Chaya, Jonathan Kariwoh, Reginald Gwasira and Gladys Mapanda for working so hard  looking after the Vigil register and merchandise and manning the front table.  Also thanks to Kimpton Samkange who, after successfully going through the asylum process, is offering supporters advice on the matter. 

You can hear Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil Management Team in part 2 of ‘Memento’ on the BBC World Service which will be broadcast several times between Friday 9th October 00:06 GMT and Sunday 11th October 23:06 GMT (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/10/091001_fridaydoc_memento_one.shtml) 

We learn from Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network that the Zimbabwean girl Tare has arrived in the UK and has been admitted to hospital. It seems her treatment will take longer than anticipated so donations are still very much needed: www.girchildnetworkworldwide.org   

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/ 

FOR THE RECORD:  158 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October. The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
·         Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·         From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000. http://www.newafricabooks.co.za/books_detail.asp?ID=499. 
·         Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For more information check: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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