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The Three Alternatives – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th June 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 19 June 2011 14:44

The feeling of optimism we spoke about in last week’s diary seems to have been justified by the outcome of the SADC summit in Johannesburg. We could have hoped for no more: President Zuma has grasped the devil by the horns. It must have been wonderful to behold when, one by one, SADC leaders dozed off during Mugabe’s 45 minute rant as it became clear that the devil had been dehorned – clear if only because a senile Mugabe addressed Zuma as ‘Mandela’ and then, when apprised of his mistake, compounded it by assuming Mandela was dead. ‘God rest his soul’, he said. The Vigil wishes the same to Robert – as soon as possible.  

SADC leaders made it obvious in Sandton that they have had enough of Mugabe’s prevarications. They are impatient to move on. As the Botswana Vice President Mompati Merafhe said, the region was sick and tired of the Zimbabwe problem. But what is not yet obvious is whether SADC has the bottle to deal with the problem. After all, Mugabe may have lost his horns but there is still plenty of devil left.  

A quick opinion survey at the Vigil – in between short, sharp showers – produced three alternatives. We quickly ruled out the first: that Mugabe would comply with SADC’s demand that he honour his obligations under the GPA by the next SADC meeting in Luanda in August. (All Zimbabweans know this is out of the question, not least the GPA negotiators who rushed back to Harare and promptly decided to have a meeting . . . . next month.) 

There was more debate about the so-called nuclear option: would Chiwenga decide to reject SADC? The military is stupid, yes – but this stupid?  

But the third option, we decided as we dodged the showers, was the more likely – if only because it is what Zanu PF has always done: pretend to go along with the GPA while putting every obstacle in the way. So what can we expect? No-one can say that Zanu PF is not outrageous. They could, for instance, arrest Tsvangirai for murdering Police Inspector Petros Mutedza in Mbare. After all they have arrested loads of other MDC people for it. Anything to collapse the government so they can hold an ‘emergency election’ and – lo and behold – who will be pulled out of the hat blinking through his cataract eyes? Yes – that old devil! 

For a Zanu PF view of the SADC developments from one of their many people in the UK the Vigil refers you to Lloyd Msipa (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun15_2011.html#Z3 – SADC summit: Sanctions remain MDC's burden). According to the UK Telegraph on 4th December 2010 ‘Two years ago Lloyd Msipa, a Zimbabwe-born approved adviser, was given a suspended prison sentence after charging people hundreds of pounds for advice he was not entitled to provide, while working for a not-for-profit voluntary organisation.’ (See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/8181415/Government-to-review-future-of-immigration-advisers.html.) 

Other points
·       As we mentioned in our diary of 11th June, a member of the Vigil management team, Ephraim Tapa, has been elected President of the new Zimbabwe ‘Yes We Can’ Movement. Ephraim is President of our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). He attended a meeting of the Zimbabwe Vigil management team on Wednesday 15th June to explain the new movement. He said it was a grass roots global movement for REAL change with wide support in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK, the US and South Africa. Ephraim said there had unfortunately been some misinformation on the internet claiming that the movement was a political party. He said there was to be a meeting of the Zimbabwe ‘Yes We Can’ Movement on 25th June to agree a constitution and positions on issues. Ephraim said how the movement developed depended on the response of ordinary Zimbabweans and what they wanted from it. People must realise they can make a difference and have the courage and confidence to act for REAL change. The Vigil management team agreed to support the Zimbabwe 'Yes We Can' Movement.   Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani was chosen as Vigil representative to the movement.
·       We get nutters visiting the Vigil most weeks but they were extraordinarily prolific this week. For instance we had a very drunk man swigging from a bottle of whisky dancing with us. We were worried he might fall and break the bottle and injure himself. Another man was very angry and shouted at Vigil supporters while we were praying and yet another said he had a panacea for sorting out our problems (including the human rights abuses and lack of democracy in Zimbabwe) as long as we listened to him and did what he said – he talked about tolerance but got very angry when we tried to respond. (We are trying to get the three together.)
·       The Secretary-General of SADC, Tomaz Salomão of Mozambique, is to address a meeting in London on Tuesday (for details of the meeting see Events and Notices). Everyone will remember him for endorsing the last Zimbabwean elections as free and fair. If anyone goes to the meeting they might like to ask why the SADC secretariat has never replied to our communications which have included the submission of various petitions. Was this a policy of arrogant disregard of normal courtesies or just inefficiency, which is known to characterise the secretariat?
·       Thanks to Juliet Musandirire for providing soft drinks today.  Also to Caroline Witts who came from Exeter and took care of the front table in the absence of our regulars and to Mercy Muranganwa for looking after the back table with  4 children in tow (one a baby on her back).
·       The Zimbabwe Association has moved into new offices – check Refugee Information.  

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.    

FOR THE RECORD: 87 signed the register.  

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
·       ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News. 
·       The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE.
·       Talk by the Secretary-General of SADC Tomaz Salomão. Tuesday 21st June from 4 – 5 pm. Venue: Chatham House, 10 St. James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE. A coffee reception will be held from 15:30 to 16:00. Everyone is welcome but you need to a book place through Tighisti Amare at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it stating your name and affiliation.
·       ROHR National Fundraising Event. Saturday 25th June from 12 noon till late. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Come and enjoy African dishes and music while donating to a good cause.  Admission fee £8 includes a plate of food and a soft drink. Raffle tickets on sale @ £1. Contact: Peter Nkomo 07817096594, V J Mujeyi 07403446696, Tsvakai Marambi 07915065171, Solomon L Matshoba 07733741065, P Chibanguza 07908406069, R Chifungo 07795070609 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070
·       Free film screening of 'Hear Us'. Saturday 25th June from 7 - 9 pm. Venue: The Frontline Club, 13, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ. ‘Hear Us’ is a film from inside Zimbabwe about political violence against women. Kudakwashe Chitsike of the Research and Advocacy Unit will introduce the film and take your questions. For more information contact: the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, tel: +44 (0)20 7065 0945 or check: http://www.hrforumzim.com/hear-us-film.png
·       Service of Solidarity with Zimbabwe’s torture victims: Sunday 26th June from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission, 49 City Road, London EC1Y 1AU (nearest tube: Old Street). The event is organized by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (www.hrforumzim.com). Speakers are Irene Petras, Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Kudakwashe Chitsike, Lawyer in the Women’s Department of the Research and Advocacy Unit (Zimbabwe). Vigil supporters will be providing the music in the form of Zimbabwean hymns. (Because this is a human rights event the Vigil register will be taken.)
·       Stop the violence in Zimbabwe: Vigil for democracy and rights. Monday 27th June from 1 – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR. This protest marks the anniversary of the fateful 2008 presidential ‘run off’ election when Zanu PF ran a brutal campaign of violence including mass rape in a bid to retain power.  Zimbabwe may have elections within the year. We cannot let the violence happen again. The protest is organised by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. ACTSA will be presenting hundreds of stop the violence cards to the Embassy. To get copies of the card or to let ACTSA know you’ll be attending, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . (Because this is a human rights event the Vigil register will be taken.)
·       ROHR Liverpool general meeting.  Saturday 9th July from 1.30 – 4.30 pm. Venue: Kensington Methodist Church, 294 Kensington, Liverpool L7 2RN. ROHR national executive members present. A well-known immigration lawyer available to talk about the new country guidance ruling. Contact Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Netsai Karota 07767483180, Panyika Anselm Karimanzira 07538534375, Sheilla Mironga 07578541227 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·       Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·       Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·       ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.

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