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Aid begins at home? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th August 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 15 August 2011 09:35

There was much talk at the Vigil about the riots in England and what lay behind them. Many people pointed to a lack of discipline for children: apparently half of those arrested in London were under 18. We know something about the difficulties facing parents here: one of our supporters served a jail term for disciplining his wayward son in traditional Zimbabwean fashion.  

We were glad to be joined by Vigil management team member Patson Mazuwa, who brought a group from Leicester, about 90 miles away. He said there had been trouble there too and his group was appalled at the behaviour.  

There was little sympathy at the Vigil for Eddie Cross’s remark in his latest article ‘Marvellous Zimbabwe’ (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/eddiecross090811.htm). He said: ‘Now we watch the Yobo’s of London and Liverpool trash their cities and burn their future while the Police seem totally incapable’.  

The Vigil suggests that Zimbabwe might learn much from these ‘incapable’ policemen. Within a few days 800 people had appeared in courts around the country after being identified by closed circuit television and other means. Interestingly, none of them said they had been tortured – unlike in ‘Marvellous Zimbabwe’. Indeed, despite their violent behaviour, no looters were killed or seriously injured by the police. If anyone other than Zanu PF thugs were allowed to riot in Zimbabwe the police and army would fire on them with live ammunition. All those arrested would be thrown into overcrowded filthy jails to rot indefinitely. We – the people in Britain including Zimbabweans – turned out with brooms and cleared up the debris and by the end of the week attention had turned to a beach ball which had found its way onto the field during the test match at Birmingham against India which saw England become the leading cricket nation in the world.  

Mr Cross says he is proud of Zimbabwe’s excellent private schools and private health service but his comment about the UK comes at a time when many people here are having to tighten their belts and wondering why they are being asked to help pay for Zimbabwe’s schools and health service. Only this week Britain gave another $1 million for cholera relief (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/aug12_2011.html#Z17Britain donates US$1 million to avert cholera in Zimbabwe).  

Whatever the causes of the rioting in the UK, they would certainly be eased by reversing the government cutbacks affecting the police and local services. We at the Vigil are grateful to the UK for offering us a home along with countless other asylum seekers from all over the world. We understand why the British people are beginning to wonder whether the £7-8 billion spent this year on foreign aid could not be spent more fruitfully on local services here.  

Talking about foreign aid, a former Foreign Office minister Kim Howells has raised the possibility of cutting off British aid to Zimbabwe – now running at about £100 million a year. He was speaking on a BBC radio programme about CIO attempts to intimidate Zimbabweans in the UK. Mr Howells said foreign aid should be cut off to Zimbabwe and other countries if they threatened people in Britain. (See weblinks: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b012wjdc and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/fileon4_02_08_11_exilesinfear.pdf).

Other points
·         Flowers were laid at the door of the Embassy and a candle was lit by Martin Chinyanga in tribute to MDC activist Maxwell Ncube. A notice said he was abducted and killed by CIO agents and that Mugabe must be charged at the Hague with human rights abuses.
·         Please note that the UK performances of the play Rituals, scheduled this month, have been cancelled because the cast were not able to get visas. 

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 RECORD: 77 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.
·         ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 27th August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future demonstrations: 4th September, 29th October 26th November, 31st December. Same time and venue.
·          ROHR Woking General Meeting. Saturday 3rd September from 2 – 6 pm, Venue: Woking Homes, Oriental Road, Woking, GU22 7BE. Contact, Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Saziso Zulu 07861028280 or P.Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·         ROHR Manchester Meetings. Saturday 10th September (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB.  Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future meetings:  8th October, 12th November, 10th December. Same times / venue.
·         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.

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