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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 7th November 2009 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 08 November 2009 16:36

One of our supporters summed it up. He said ‘There is a name for someone who repeatedly falls into the same trap – Tsvangirai’.  

A year ago Zanu-PF was on the ropes.  Mugabe’s credibility was gone and Gono’s reserves were down to US$5 million. Tsvangirai came to the rescue on the basis of promises which have still not been fulfilled. 

Last month (see diary of 17th October) the Vigil welcomed Tsvangirai’s disengagement from Zanu-PF. We launched a new petition: “Petition to the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. We urge you to refuse to co-operate with President Mugabe until he respects the rule of law and complies fully with the agreement under which the Zimbabwean coalition government was formed in February.” 

People were puzzled why we phrased the petition this way when the MDC had already pulled back.  We explained in the same diary entry why we had done this: ‘We know Tsvangirai has already adopted this attitude but unfortunately he has a record of flip-flopping and we have worded the petition this way in case he changes his mind next week’. 

So the latest flip following the SADC Troika summit in Maputo came as no surprise.  Yes, talks are to take place and no doubt a few crumbs will be thrown to the MDC. But Vigil supporters see little prospect of real change – an end to hate speech and violence and a return to the rule of law…. . . .  

Does Tsvangirai really believe there has been a change of heart by His Excellency, President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces, Terror of Mankind (as Orwell put it in Animal Farm) Robert Mugabe? We await the next flop – unless President Zuma really has decided to do something. 

Vigil supporters were saddened to hear of the death of MDC-T MP for Makoni Central John Nyamande in a car crash in Zimbabwe.  John was known to many of us because he attended the Vigil over many years when he lived in the UK.  Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil management team who knew John from home described him as a ‘true revolutionary who was committed to the liberation of the people of Zimbabwe’. Justified or not, many at the Vigil felt this was another suspicious accident. Our condolences go out to his family. 

On a happier note, we were pleased that Vimbai Mushongera, Parliamentary and Advocacy Officer of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, visited the Vigil today. She is in the UK as the guest of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Vimbai was delighted to be at the Vigil and said by our protest we were as good activists as those in Zimbabwe. She said we were doing a good job and asked us to keep up our protest. She strongly advised us not to go back to Zimbabwe – it was not safe.  Earlier in the week Fungayi met another guest of ACTSA – Vincent Dlamini of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions.  He was interested in our Vigil and is consulting with Fungayi about how to set up a similar protest on behalf of the oppressed in Swaziland. 

We have been encouraging people to vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network (GCN), one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 (see ‘events and notices’ below).  A media event has been organised for her on Thursday 12th November from 12 – 12.30 pm at the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Development House, 56-64 Leonard St, London EC2A 4LT. The organizers would like a good turnout of Zimbabweans.  You may remember that Betty came to the Vigil on 26th September to welcome Luka Phiri and Dumi Tutani of the Vigil management team when they arrived at the Vigil at the end of their sponsored walk from Brighton (55 miles = 2 marathons). The walk was in aid of GCN’s fundraising efforts on behalf of Tari, the Zimbabwean girl, who has now had successful surgery in London to remove a severe facial tumour.   

Many supporters commented on the big gap because of the absence of our Press Officer Dennis Benton, who hasn’t missed a Vigil in more than two years.  Dennis is the proud owner of a new hip – operated on Tuesday and home by Friday.  Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery.  Dennis was very impressed with the excellent care he has received as an NHS patient. Many other of our supporters wish to record their grateful thanks for their own treatment by the NHS.  

We were glad to welcome back to the Vigil Maxwell Muganiri who was a regular supporter before he was imprisoned for illegal working. He came back to the Vigil as soon as he was free.  Thanks to Thabani Nare who was a great help in packing up the Vigil.  

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Apologies for the poor quality this week. Somehow the camera settings were changed which meant many of the photos were blurred. 

FOR THE RECORD: 169 signed the register.  

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       Media Event for Betty Makoni. Thursday 12th November from 12 - 12.30pm. Venue: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Development House, 56-64 Leonard St, LONDON EC2A 4LT. Betty is one of only ten people worldwide who has been selected as a CNN HERO for her work helping young victims of sexual abuse in Zimbabwe.
·       ROHR Liverpool Branch Vigil. Saturday 14th November from 2 – 4 pm.  Venue: Liverpool City Centre outside Primark. 
·       ROHR Derby general meeting. Saturday 21st November from 1 – 6 pm. Venue: The Community Block, Pear Tree Community Junior School, Pear Tree Street, Derby DE23 8PN. Substantive committee to be elected on the day. All ROHR interim national committee present. Free parking. Contact Tsitsi Razawe 7853508681, Chipo Nhandara 07767335586, Wonder Katurura 07858699224 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·       ROHR Christmas party. Saturday 5th December 2009, time tba. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK2 3AB. Stations: Bletchley (nearest) or Central Milton Keynes. Use Bus 5 from both stations. Parking: additional parking is available in the Veterinary Practice next door and on the gravelled area to the front of the Practice building. Futher parking is available in the Plough Public House approx 100metres from the hall. We are at no time to obstruct the public footpath or highway or hamper access to the neighbouring properties. Contact: Martha Jiya 07727016098, Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Jemias V Mujeyi 07534034594, Rodah Kulhengisa 07983057533 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       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).
·       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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The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.