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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 22nd May 2010 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 23 May 2010 18:08

The Vigil was encouraged by visits from widely different groups on the British political spectrum.  On a glorious summer day, people from the Tent Village (comprised of anti-war demonstrators, climate change activists etc) who have set up camp outside Parliament came and signed our petitions.  They showed us a communication from the Greater London Authority advising them their presence was unauthorized and telling them to move. We were amused to see it was addressed to “Tent Occupant, Parliament Square”. Other visitors were from the English Defence League, a nationalist group who are vocal opponents of what they call Islamic hate-speech. They joined us after staging a protest in nearby Trafalgar Square. They were anxious to assure us they were not racist and indeed they joined in our dancing enthusiastically. 

We are, of course, anxious that our cause is taken up by the new coalition government. We are happy that Nicholas Clegg of the Liberal Democrats is now Deputy Prime Minister. He has visited the Vigil (26th November 2008) and expressed his support. The Vigil is preparing a letter to the new Foreign Secretary, William Hague of the Conservative Party, to explain our position. We have had consistent support from the Conservatives and have every reason to believe they will back our demand for early and internationally-supervised elections in Zimbabwe. 

We welcome the statement by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions calling for early elections. The acting secretary-general, Japhet Moyo, said “The GNU has been characterised by impasses, name calling and mistrust among the political parties while the majority of Zimbabweans continue to suffer". He went on "The envisaged constitutional making process has been fraught with anomalies and, as predicted by ZCTU, has failed to take off as a result of squabbling. While it would have been possible to have a new people driven constitution in place before elections, this is not currently possible." 

The Vigil believes that the ruling elite in Zimbabwe is disregarding the people’s will.  All three parties appear to be content with things as they are. For them, things have never been so good. As far as Zanu PF is concerned the future is full of diamonds and then the profits from indigenization and, still to be fully unveiled, the takeover of residential areas. And, of course, Mugabe now has Morgan Tsvangirai as his PR agent trotting around the globe saying how well things are going. Even for ‘dimwit’ Mutambara the advantages of the status quo are obvious: any new election would force him to look for a proper job.  

The Vigil notes that, after nearly two months, the three principals are apparently to meet at last to discuss the mediators’ report on the failure to honour the global political agreement. At the Vigil we are not holding our breath and urge President Zuma to call for a SADC summit to end the bickering and arrange new elections.  

If any further evidence was needed of the failure of the MDC leadership there were the remarks of the MDC co-Minister for Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa, announcing a ban on demonstrations during the World Cup. We are not convinced by his embarrassed disowning of these comments. It is clear that he has bought into ‘Dimwit’s empty rhetoric about “rebranding” of Zimbabwe: robbery is reassigning property, violence is keeping order etc etc. It is fatuous to hope that this type of rebranding will create a new Zimbabwe 

At the forefront of the campaign against Mugabe is the Zimbabwean newspaper, which the Vigil buys in bulk for our supporters who look to it to keep themselves in touch with Zimbabwe news. The newspaper plays an important role given the failure of the interim government to open media space in Zimbabwe as promised by the GPA. How much longer does the Zanu-MDC gang expect us to wait before there is a freedom of the media in Zimbabwe 

During the week, City and Islington College in London invited dancers from the Vigil to perform at their Adult Learners’ Week Family Fun Day.  Dumi Tutani, Josephine Zhuga, Moses Kandiyawo, Gladys Mapanda, Kelvin Kamupira and Simon Mwakipesile electrified the audience with their energetic dancing and rousing singing.  Regulars at the Vigil require no rehearsal and can just step up and perform at a moment’s notice. 

There is a possibility that the group known as London Citizens may launch a campaign on behalf of Zimbabweans with disputed nationality (such as arriving in the UK on a non-Zimbabwean – for instance Malawian – passport).  This campaign can only go ahead if there are sufficient numbers to warrant the expense.  If you fall in this category can you email your name to Vigil management team member Luka Phiri on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Your information will be treated in the strictest confidence and not passed on to anyone in authority.  

Some other points
·       We were pleased to welcome newcomer Brian Moyo who boarded a coach in Glasgow on Friday night to attend the Vigil.  He was returning home on Saturday night, spending a large part of his weekend traveling to and from the Vigil.
·       Vigil supporter Try Mahachi asked us to publicise the launch of a new Zimbabwean cultural group in Slough which aims to bring together the Zimbabwean community, help maintain cultural values and keep youths off the streets.   See ‘Events and Notices’ for details. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 175 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES: ·       OTIENO by Trevor Michael Georges. A contemporary reworking of Shakespeare's Othello, set against the continuing deprivation of present-day Zimbabwe. From Tuesday 25th May – Saturday 12th June at 7.30 pm, matinees 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.), London SE1 2TF. For tickets ring 020 7407 0234 or book online here.
·       ROHR West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo  07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza  07908406069.
·       ROHR Brighton general meeting Saturday 29th May from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: The Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG. Contact: Elizabeth Masoka 07545458436, Jane Mugwagwa 07833301145, Wellington Mamvura 07956870547, Patience Chiguta 07780667422 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·       Slough Zimbabwean Cultural Group Launch. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 6 pm. Venue: Weekes Drive Community Centre, Tamarisk Way, Slough SL1 2YN.  Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart is attending and is expected to deliver a speech. Cultural dances, gospel choir, fashion show of traditional costumes, Imbube, Isitshikitsha gumboot dance are planned. Proceeds to go towards helping members access training.
·       ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL.  ROHR Executive members present and Guest Speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.
·       ROHR Bristol Launch meeting. Saturday 5th June 2010 from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Joseph's Presbytery, 232 Forest Road, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3QT. Come along and hear what's happening back home and see if we can do something to help. ROHR President, National Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Bridget Mubaiwa 07789084534, Cecilia Ndhlovu 07545118593, Emelia Sydney 07789991197, P Chibanguza 07908406069, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       ROHR South East London general meeting. Saturday 12th June from 1 – 3 pm. Venue: 16 Sydenham Road, Sydenham, London SE24 5QW. Contact P Chitsinde 07897000075, C Chiromo 07894586005 or 07838153217.
·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
·       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 24/04/2009, check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvwikOhO3Fk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qqXJ7jfVY.

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