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Archbishop shares our pain – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th September 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 11 September 2011 16:15

The Vigil was pleased to hear of plans for the Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Zimbabwe as part of a tour of the Anglican Province of Central Africa which takes in Botswana, Malawi and Zambia as well as Zimbabwe. Apparently he is scheduled to be in Zimbabwe on 9th October and is seeking a meeting with Mugabe. This has been criticized in the British press, with some commentators saying it will provide a propaganda opportunity for Mugabe. We took a different view and decided to send the Archbishop the following letter: 

Open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from the Zimbabwe Vigil 

Dear Dr Williams 

The Zimbabwe Vigil welcomes your planned visit to Zimbabwe next month in support of besieged Anglicans under the rod of the unelected president Mugabe.  

We have been bearing witness outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for nine years against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Most of us are Christians, many Anglicans.  

The persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe has continued too long with little condemnation from the Christian community at large. Even brother churches in Zimbabwe have scurried from the crucifixion. 

The Vigil is disappointed that Mugabe has been consistently received with honour by the Vatican when he has gone to Rome on his shopping trips.  

We disagree with those who question the wisdom of your visit. We are encouraged that you share our pain, though we have no doubt that Mugabe will seek to use your visit for propaganda purposes. 

We do not believe his regime – steeped in lawlessness, terror and greed – will make any meaningful concessions at your request. But we pray that your visit will highlight to the world the plight of our suffering brothers and sisters at home. 

Vigil Co-ordinators 

Other points
·         We were glad to have with us Ephraim Tapa, President of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) and the recently formed Zimbabwe We Can movement. He spoke of the importance of Zimbabweans having a national agenda rather than identifying themselves as Zanu PF or MDC or whatever. ‘We are too divided as a nation’, he said. Zimbabwe We Can wants to change this mindset so that people can see the country’s problems as a whole.
·         Readers of the diary will know that there has been an attempt to take over ROHR. A website has been set up purporting to be the official website.  They have stolen all the information from the official website and claimed it as their own. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/ which is the only website that represents ROHR. One must be patient, these ticks drop off after a while. They disintegrate in the mire of their lies and deceit.
·         Vigil supporters attended a demonstration outside the Swaziland High Commission in London on Tuesday in support of our Swazi friends who, like us, are confronted with an oppressive tyranny.
·         A long-term Vigil supporter who has returned to Zimbabwe has communicated with us. He says ‘I am surviving. The situation looks okay on the surface but it’s really disturbing to see the reign of terror that pervades the whole nation. Don’t believe what visitors say. It takes a while to sense the unfreedom. Keep up the good work. The diary is popular reading. Greetings to all.’
·         There was much discussion at the Vigil of the Wikileaks revelations and the prospect that every politician in Zimbabwe will be prosecuted for treason. Among the latest revelations that struck us were:
-         Nelson Chamisa, MDC Organising Secretary, commenting on the allegation that he described Tsvangirai as ‘weak and indecisive’ said “There is no cohesion in terms of the so called cables which were just opinions by a mere mortal who was possibly doing so without realising that it will actually come out some time. So he is the culprit rather than somebody whom they just allege . . .”
-         According to documents released by Wikileaks, Mugabe had a secret meeting with UN Ambassador Charles Ray at one of his farms.  Ray said the place was in darkness and Mugabe was sitting alone on a throne in the bathroom. Between grunts he complained that the illegal sanctions had cut off the water . . .
·         The respected London-based theatre company Chickenshed is producing ‘The Rain that Washes’ by Dave Carey with Zimbabwean Christopher Maphosa. It is described as a one-man show based on a true story. “Following the dream of majority rule, one man sees Ian Smith's Rhodesia become Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. From refugee camps in Botswana to air strikes in Zambia via Marxism in Bulgaria, he returns to Zimbabwe, only to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . .” They have been in touch with the Vigil and are keen that a group should go and have a meeting with the author. See ‘Events and Notices’ for further details. 

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: 59 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. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
·         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 24th September 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: 29th October, 26th November, 31st December. Same time and venue.
·         ‘The Rain that Washes’ – Zimbabwean theatre production. Performances: Thursday 29th and Friday 30th September at 7.30 pm, Saturday 1st October at 6 pm, Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th October at 7.30 pm, Saturday 8th October at 6 pm. Venue: Studio Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. Tickets £8 (£6). To book, call 020 8292 9222, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or book online at www.chickenshed.org.uk. Chickenshed is between Oakwood and Cockfosters tube stations, and on bus routes 298, 299, 307 and N91. Free parking is also available.
·         ROHR Manchester Meetings. Saturday 8th October (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:  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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