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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 19th June 2010 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 20 June 2010 16:56

In a week when it was announced that last year Zimbabwe produced the most asylum seekers in the world (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/june18_2010.html#Z), Vigil members were surprised to get an invitation to hear Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe speak at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London – if they could stump up £25 to get in. ‘Lounge suit / cocktail dress’ required. With 158,000 Zimbabweans seeking asylum from the coalition government in 2009, Khupe’s dinner is just one more sign of how unreal the MDC elite are becoming. Not many of the Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK have a lounge suit or a cocktail dress. Most of us at the Vigil are struggling.  Those Zimbabweans likely to go to this event are well-connected Zanu-PF people of whom there are all too many in the UK.  We are tired of hearing their propaganda at meetings here. 

We repeat our invitation to Ms Khupe to come to the Vigil and talk to some of the ordinary Zimbabweans who can’t afford £25. We would like to hear from her why the MDC appears to have done nothing to end human rights abuses in the past sixteen months and, more particularly, why there has been no announcement of the outcome of the enquiry into corruption in the MDC in the UK. It appears that the MDC is being steadily contaminated by ZANU-PF (see A Letter from the Diaspora: http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/outside180610.htm). We were not surprised that one senior member of the MDC Mutambara faction invited to the UK demanded to travel first class. 

A Zimbabwean journalist working in the UK for a South African newspaper asked the Vigil for comments on various developments in Zimbabwe. Here are our comments on the four issues she raised. 

1. The treatment of Farai Maguwu, who has been at the forefront of exposing human rights abuse in Chiadzwa
The Vigil is shocked by the behaviour of South African businessman Abbey Chikane in betraying the confidence of a brave human rights campaigner Farai Maguwu. Despite openly announcing that his own bags had been covertly ransacked by Zimbabwean intelligence agents, Chikane later went on to inform them that Maguwu had shown him ‘secret’ documents exposing the diamond smuggling racket at Chiadzwa. Chikane apparently said the documents were ‘illegal’. The Vigil remembers that his brother, the Reverend Frank Chikane, was an adviser to the disastrous Thabo Mbeki whose unswerving support for Mugabe has derailed democracy in Zimbabwe. 

2. Delays in implementing the Global Political Agreement
The Vigil’s view is that Mugabe has never had any intention of implementing the ludicrous Global Political Agreement which was forced on the MDC by South Africa. We believe that the MDC should have taken up a tacit invitation to form a government in exile in Botswana after Mugabe drenched the 2008 elections in bloodshed. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe then had only US $5 million and the regime would soon have collapsed. The so-called points of difference over the GPA are merely ducks in a shooting gallery: remove one and another one pops up. We believe the Zanu PF gangsters will never give up power in Zimbabwe until they are forced to. The region will regret allowing them to embed a culture of impunity (in particular the Vigil cannot see that it will be to the advantage of the region to allow blood diamonds from Chiadzwa, and other criminal activities, to spout forth like a BP oil leak).  

3. Fresh wave of farms invasions
The takeover of farms – not only white-owned ones – will go on while Zanu PF is still in charge and can continue to do anything it likes to ensure its survival. Next it will take over the mines, the banks, businesses and then houses and chickens – everything is at risk from a rapacious elite unchallenged by the outside world. The Vigil believes that courts in Zimbabwe are irrelevant as there is no rule of law. 

4. Call for elections
The Zimbabwe Vigil wants elections as soon as possible because we believe there is no advantage for Zimbabwe in delaying them. The coalition government is unworkable and its continuance will only drag the MDC further into corruption. Mutambara, of course, because of his disappearing support, will campaign for elections to be postponed. The real point is that any new elections will need to be supervised by the non-African world. South Africa and the Southern African Development Community and the African Union have all connived at denying democracy to Zimbabwe so we will need credible people to oversee any elections. While the Vigil believes in elections as soon as possible we also believe there should be international support to ensure that the violence that has characterised Zimbabwean elections is not allowed again to sway the result. Our current petition reads ‘Petition to the UN Security Council. We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.’ 

Further Points
·       We were joined by a new asylum seeker who arrived in the UK last week.  He said the situation in Zimbabwe was as bad as ever. We are taking a collection to equip him with a lounge suit and £25 so that he can go to the Khupe fundraiser.
·       Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton reminded supporters of the service in support of Zimbabwean victims of torture. Those who wanted to be in the choir should arrive by 11.30 am. See events section for details of the event.
·       The World Cup excitement was brought home to us when a passer-by joined us to play his vuvuzela.  

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: 151 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       Church Service in Support of Zimbabwean Victims of Torture. Saturday 26th June from 12 – 1.30 pm. Venue: Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EP. Speakers: Rev Useni Sibanda (National Director of Zimbabwe Christian Alliance), Maureen Kademaunga (Human Rights Activist) and Father Nigel Johnson SJ (Station Manager: Radio Dialogue).This is an annual event organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The Zim HR Forum has asked the Vigil to provide a choir – this will be led by Sister Beverley Mutandiro.  After the service there will be a procession to the Vigil.
·       Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Workshop on Transitional Justice Outreach to the Diaspora. Thursday 1st July from 11 am – 4 pm. Venue Development House, Meeting Room 2b, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT. Nearest tube: Old Street. Facilitators: Rev Useni Sibanda (National Director of Zimbabwe Christian Alliance), Father Nigel Johnson SJ (Station Manager: Radio Dialogue) and Gabriel Shumba (Director of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum). Places are limited. To register email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone Wiz / Ebba on 020 7065 0945.
·       ROHR Peterborough launch meeting. Saturday 3rd July from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 37-38 Copeland, Bretton, Peterborough PA3 6YJ.  Present will be the Founder of ROHR and National Executive plus a well known lawyer. Contact: Alista Mabiya 07724540506, Nyarai Maziso 07732545514, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       ROHR North London general meeting. Saturday 10th July from 2 – 5.30 pm Venue: Tottenham Chances, 339 High Road, London N17 6QN, Closest Tube - Seven Sisters, from Seven Sisters towards Tottenham three stops on buses 123, 149, 256, 349, 341, 476. ROHR Executive and Guest Speakers present. Contact Gladys Mapanda 07576941003, Bekthemba Nyahwa 0754905348, Nobuhle Ndlovu 07949588597 or Collin Chitekwe 0795771291.
·       ROHR Coventry general meeting. Saturday 24th July from 1 0 5 pm. Venue: 90a Paynes Lane, Coventry CV1 5JH. ROHR National Executive and a well known Lawyer present. Ccontact V.J Mujeye 07534034594, Nash Sibanda 07886660392, Pauline Makuwere 07575265710, P. Mapfumo 07932216070/07915926323 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·       ROHR Hayes general meeting. Saturday 31st July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Brookside Community Centre, Hayes, UB4 0PE. The raffle for the cmputer, DVD player, printer and Samsung mobile phone will be drawn and tickets are still on sale. ROHR Executive present. Contact Roda Kulhengisa 07958205544, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091 or P Mapfumo 0791592623 / 07932216070
·       Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts
·      
Vigil Myspace page
: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil
·      
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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