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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 5th December 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 06 December 2009 18:30

A cold wet Vigil as we in the UK approach the winter solstice – the year’s shortest day (less than eight hours of daylight in London). Our pictures tell the story: starting off in the light and ending in darkness at 6 pm. The weather at this time of the year certainly makes you question what you are doing and whether it’s worthwhile – especially when you hear that  the MDC negotiators at home seem to consider that a really important decision facing Zimbabwe is  who should be buried at Heroes’ Acre.  

We at the Vigil couldn’t believe that this is now said to be one of the sticking points. Never mind the disregard of the rule of law, never mind the selective prosecutions, farm invasions and continued hate speech, never mind the refusal of Zanu PF to implement the GPA, the MDC is worried that they haven’t been given a plot at Heroes’ Acre.  What is going on?  

Vigil supporters noted the massive hole in Biti’s budget and were curious at how it was to be plugged. The German Ambassador has come up with an explanation – aid money from the West. The UK, the EU, the US, the World Bank – all the so-called ‘Friends of Zimbabwe’ – have apparently decided to pump money into the Zimbabwe regime. As the Ambassador put it: ‘attitudes of the West towards Zimbabwe had been strongly influenced by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's statement earlier this year that although President Robert Mugabe was part of Zimbabwe's problems, he was also key to solving the country's 10-year crisis’. (http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/dec5_2009.html#Z3 - Western Donors say Zimbabwe’s Budget needs their support)

So it seems that whatever deal is cobbled up by SADC will be rubber-stamped by the ‘Friends’. Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers in the UK get ready to pack your bags because you are going to be sent home to Mr Tsvangirai.  

A passer-by – who said she was a journalist – added to our pessimism.  ‘What are you doing?’ she said. ‘I know all about Zimbabwe – don’t you know it is all sorted out’. This is a growing refrain. The BBC proudly boasted this week of a 2 hour live broadcast from Harare. The announcer admitted she had only been there a couple of days and hadn’t actually been anywhere. But it adds to the popular notion that everything is returning to normal. What kind of normality is this to build on: undisguised deceit, corruption, exploitation, violence, greed, selfishness . . . All is ready for Prince Charles to be there for Mugabe’s 90th birthday to shake his hand again. ‘You haven’t changed a bit since Rome’. 

Well the Vigil was facing a more immediate problem – the weather on a day when tens of thousands of people converged on London to urge action to deal with climate change. The activists tell us that London is going to get wetter in the winter. So far as we can judge it’s already happening!  

Armed with a new and bigger tarpaulin we created a veritable green cathedral on the Strand, which drew lots of attention including from a posse of Father Christmases out on their pre-Christmas revels. Other visitors were dozens of teenagers from Leyland St Mary’s School who had come down to London all the way from Lancashire to take part in the climate demonstration. They spent a long time with us and were impressed that we had been occupying our spot since 2002. We were so encouraged by their prayers for us.  

The big turnout at this wintry Vigil and the singing and dancing encourages us to continue to campaign for human rights and free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. And we know who that plot in Heroes’ Acre should be for – ‘the unknown Zimbabwean’ – poor, sick, oppressed and abandoned by his leaders.  

Some other points:
·           We celebrated two birthdays today – Jenatry Muranganwa and Kimpton Samkange.
·           Thanks to Godfrey Madzunga and Greetmore Musunda who were at the Vigil at 2 pm to help set up, then helped throughout the Vigil and stayed to the end to clear up.
·           We hope that ROHR supporters had a good gathering today in Milton Keynes for their workshops and Christmas party – at least they were out of the rain! 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 163 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           ROHR Liverpool
Demonstration. Saturday 12th December 2009 from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Liverpool City Centre, Church Street (outside Primark). Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758. Future demonstrations: Saturdays 19th and 26th December 2009. Same time and venue.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting. Saturday 12th December from 1 – 4 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG. Rohr executives present and a well known lawyer. Substantive committee to be elected. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR North London general meeting. Please note this meeting has been postponed. New date and time to be advised
·           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 .

 

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