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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 31st October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 November 2009 16:59

 Vigil supporters were shocked at the news that the British government has apparently changed its policy on Zimbabwean asylum seekers. It now appears that the UK hopes to send home failed asylum seekers on the grounds that conditions in Zimbabwe have improved.   

We know that this is the message that Morgan Tsvangirai has been giving until recently. But the Home Office seems not to have taken into account the MDC’s recent recantation of this and the widely reported accounts of stepped-up human rights abuses – or, for that matter, the humiliating expulsion of the UN representative.   

Supporters wanted to know what the Vigil can do and the management team assured them that the Vigil would, as always, do everything it can to prevent supporters being sent home as they would be in danger because of their open opposition to the Mugabe regime.  As we point out in our letters supporting Vigil asylum seekers: 

“Our supporters are easy to identify because we are an on-the-street protest constantly photographed by the passing public including unidentified people who do not join the protest and who our supporters confirm as Zimbabwean. These photos appear on many photo and video websites which can be accessed by the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation.  This was recently demonstrated when one of our reports accompanied by a photo of one of our supporters appeared in a newspaper that is circulated in Zimbabwe. Within days his family home in Zimbabwe was raided by the police who spoke angrily about Zimbabweans in the UK – check http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/ZimVigil-Diary-Entries/zimbabwe-vigil-diary-22nd-august-2009.html for more information. The Vigil website also keeps a photo archive of our protest as part of our campaign against the injustices in Zimbabwe.” 

The Vigil believes that the Home Office’s attitude is untenable, especially as there is no evidence that SADC or the AU have the appetite to deal with Mugabe. They both say Zimbabweans must resolve the situation between themselves – in other words leave Mugabe to do what he wants. (See AU Chairperson Dr Jean Ping’s comments on http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/oct29_2009.html#Z15 

The situation is bound to deteriorate until South Africa is forced into action.  What the Vigil wants from South Africa is simple: follow Botswana’s example and announce that South Africa will refuse to recognise Mugabe as the legitimate President if the coalition government breaks up and, in this event, demand immediate free and fair elections. 

We were joined at the Vigil by Patson Muzuwa of our partner organisation the Zimbabwe Association, which deals with asylum issues. He said people worried by the Home Office announcement should contact the Zimbabwe Association  

As usual we had a very lively Vigil, with the added challenge of coping with incursions by the Water Board. As one supporter said, we ended up looking like Santa Claus’s Grotto: because of various barriers protecting the water works supporters had to fit into a small corner and passers-by had to squeeze past us in the narrow passage that was left.  

We were also joined by the UK Organising Secretary of our partners Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), Paradzai Mapfumo. He was critical of the BBC coverage of the situation in Zimbabwe. Paradzai said he was puzzled by the positive spin given by the BBC and said they didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on in the rural areas.  But the BBC has shown a video of a demonstration by ROHR in Harare this week demanding action by SADC against Mugabe. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8334881.stm. A report on the demonstration also appears in the Zimbabwean: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/2009103026135/human-rights/rohr-zimbabwe-pressures-the-troika-to-take-a-tough-stance-in-pictures.html. 

Still on ROHR, the organisation last week staged the first of its Vigils in Liverpool. The ROHR Liverpool Branch reports that passers-by showed great interest. 44 people signed their register.  The next demonstration is to be on Saturday, 14th November. 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 150 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       ROHR North London launch meeting. Saturday 7th November from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN, Nearest Tube Station: Seven Sisters, then buses towards Tottenham, 3rd bus stop from 7 Sisters Station. Routes: 123, 149, 259,279, 349, 476, 341 243. Contact: Gladys Mapanda 07877670522, Collin Chitekwe  07957712691, Valerie Chengaose 07956586377, Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, P Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069
·       ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 7th November from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Fairfield Police Club, Prescot Road, Fairfield, LiverpoolL7 0JD. T-shirts available for £10.00. NEW MEMBERS ARE VERY WELCOME. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.·       ROHR Liverpool Branch Vigil. Saturday 14th November from 2 – 4 pm.  Venue: Liverpool City Centre outside Primark. 
·       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 information: 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 .
·       Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/.   

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