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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 9th January 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 January 2010 20:32

Snow at the Vigil. It’s our eighth winter protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy but the first time it has snowed. The temperature was below zero centigrade – worsened by a piercing wind from the Arctic / Siberia. We were cheered, on such a desolate day, that so many people made the journey – especially since transport was disrupted and some people were snowed in. To protect us from the elements we used two tarpaulins – one to catch the snow and the other as a windbreak. The bleak conditions were lightened by our singing and drumming.   

During the week the Vigil sent the following letter to the International Development Committee of the British Parliament, which is to review the British government’s aid to Zimbabwe. 

“The Zimbabwe Vigil wishes to express its opposition to any dilution of the pressure on Mugabe and his cronies until they comply fully with the Global Political Agreement signed with the two MDC factions in September 2008.  

We believe, in particular, that to give development aid to the coalition government is premature and will send the wrong signals not only to Mugabe and his Zanu PF party but also to members of the European Union and other countries which have adopted measures against Zimbabwe 

The Vigil wishes to advise the Committee that it is running the following petition dealing with aid to Zimbabwe: ‘A petition to the UK government: We welcome the UK’s humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe but call on the UK government to withhold development aid until it is confident that the money will benefit the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime.’ 

The petition has been signed so far by some 9,000 people from all over the world who have passed by the Vigil in recent months. They are not convinced that there has been real change in Zimbabwe 

The Vigil has been demonstrating outside Zimbabwe House, London, for free and fair elections every Saturdaysince 12th October 2002.  The Observer newspaper (several years ago) described us as the largest regular demonstration in London.    

We would like to take the opportunity to draw your attention to a recent article by the Zimbabwean economist John Robertson, which criticises the economic recovery programme of the ‘inclusive’ government.” 

We are still accepting signatures for this petition and it will present it to the British government at an appropriate time. There are big changes afoot. The EU is to discuss the renewal of its measures against Zimbabwe next month and that might be the time to submit the petition. 9000 signatures may not seem much – but they are those of people who have stopped and engaged us at the Vigil – not just clicked an internet button.  

We were pleased to welcome back David McAllister, who has been cruising the world on a luxury liner as an internet café manager.  He set up our website and has now added a new feature on our home page – a slide show of the most recent Vigil photos. These will change as each Vigil set is added to our Flickr photo website. 

Thanks also to Lungile Ncube and Collin Chitekwe for their athletic lamp post climbing to put a roof over our shivering supporters.  Congratulations to Enock Dzonga on the birth of his daughter.

The documentary film about farm seizures ‘Mugabe and the White African’ was reviewed in the Times on 8th January – text below: 

“Mugabe and the White African (A powerful documentary that pits a white farmer and his son-in-law against President Mugabe in a battle for their farm) – by

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/film_reviews/article6979465.
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In Mugabe and the White African, Michael Campbell, a gentle, dry, 75-year-old farmer from Zimbabwe, asks: “Is it possible to be white and African?” If you’re President Mugabe, the answer is a brutal “no”.  

This powerful documentary pits Campbell and his son-in-law Ben Freeth against their country’s dictator in a battle for their farm, which is holding out – just – against the land seizure campaign that has already led to thousands of white Zimbabweans being forcibly evicted. Their plan? To take the Government of “a country without a rulebook” to an international tribunal that will force it to stop.  

But it’s a race against time. Groups of men with knives and axes stalk their maize fields at night, while neighbours are filmed breaking their settler stoicism and weeping as their own farm is taken for Mugabe’s flunkies, and their friends and workers — black and white alike — are uprooted. The madness in Zimbabwe is not news, but here a human story crystallises it first by seeming curious, then quickly compelling and then horrifically shocking before the final courtroom drama. The hate, fear and greed on show all hit you in your gut — it’s impossible not to steam at the sight of the braggart government minister’s son waiting by his new 4x4 outside the farm, telling Campbell and Freeth how he will simply take their home. But your lasting emotions are of respect for the two farmers, mixed with a lingering, helpless sadness.” 

This film is up for an Oscar and is going to be shown all over the world. It will not improve Zimbabwe’s image. 

We noted that we were quoted  in an article in the Zimbabwe Independent. We applaud every effort by journalists in Zimbabwe to expose corruption:
http://www.theindependent.co.zw/comment/24811-decade-of-hope-may-be-may-be-not.html.
 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 136 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           'Mugabe and the white African' is showing until 14th January at The Empire, Leicester Square (www.empirecinemas.co.uk), until 21st January at the ICA (www.ica.org.uk) and until 14th January at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh (www.filmhousecinema.com).
·           ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 23rd January from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni (Chair Wakefield), 07748828913, Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Beauty Sikosana 07940181761 or David Munemo 07963708923.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           ROHR Hayes fundraising party. Saturday 27th February from 3 pm till late. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 3AB. Admission £7.50 including food (lots of traditional food: Mazondo, Maguru mubhoora and all). Fashion show. Zim Music. Raffle: tickets £5. Prizes include: computer, printer, mobile handset, DVD player. To be drawn at 10.30 pm. Nearest station: Bletchley. Bus number 5 from central Milton Keynes or Bletchley. For more info contact Rodah Kuhlengisa 07958205544, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Martha Jiya 07727016098 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 .
·           For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 26/12/2009:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk

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