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Aid change – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th November 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 27 November 2011 15:23

To our disappointment there was no sign of the promised Zanu PF demonstrators when a Vigil supporter went to check outside the Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street, just around the corner from the Zimbabwe Embassy. 

Mugabe fans in the UK, led by George Shire, Lloyd Msipa and Laurence C Muzembi (brother of Zanu PF Minister Walter), had said they were to present a petition today to Mr Cameron calling for an end to the vicious neo-colonialist, racist, destructive and ineffective illegal sanctions which have deprived Zimbabweans of electricity and water, destroyed agriculture, caused potholes, prevented drugs reaching the sick and the supply of spares for ambulances and caused the drought and floods. 

At the last count the petition had amassed 51 signatures so perhaps the weight of it delayed the planned march from Lancaster House. In any case, the place near 10 Downing Street set aside for demonstrations was occupied by Yemenis celebrating the ousting of the despised President Ali Abdullah Saleh – yet another of Mugabe’s despot friends to bite the dust.  

The Vigil was surprised at how few people appear to have signed the Zanu PF petition given the number of long-serving Mugabe PF supporters who have been forced by the illegal sanctions to come to the UK. Perhaps they are keeping low so they don’t join the failed asylum seekers now being sent back to Zimbabwe. On the other hand, since they are here at all, they could have friends working in the UK Border Agency like the ex-Nigerian jailed this week for fraudulently allowing his former countrymen into the UK. 

Vigil supporters found much food for thought in a speech delivered in London this week by Roy Bennett, exiled MDC Treasurer General (for full text see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/nov25_2011.html#Z1). He noted that western countries had given hundreds of millions in humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe and that thousands owed their lives to this generosity. But he argued that a sizable portion of this aid should have been directly targeted at political change.  

It is a false economy to pour billions into aid over an extended period when a fraction of those resources could be used to deliver change in a fraction of the time’, he said. ‘Zanu PF and its supporters will shriek and wail about imperialism and regime change . . . but the groups capable of confronting authoritarian regimes must be directly funded and resourced’.   

At a time when Mugabe says it is satanic of the British Prime Minister to link aid to the question of human rights (if gays are to have human rights!) Mr Cameron might usefully rethink how Britain spends its annual $100 million official aid to Zimbabwe. 

After all, it appears to us at the Vigil that nothing is changing in Zimbabwe. There is no sign of Zanu PF implementing the GPA, no sign that Zuma will put real muscle into his mission and little enthusiasm for any elections in the foreseeable future . . . The Vigil wants aid for change. 

Other points
·         Mugabe’s place in the pantheon of despots has been highlighted in a hilarious Nando’s advert on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1EX--vdxh4. The UK Daily Mail (http://dailymail-nandoslastdictator.notlong.com) has picked up the story.
·         We laughed even more at the sight of two people from the Embassy walking past us sideways so we could not take pictures of their faces (see: Vigil diary of 12th November).
·         We are anxious about two Vigil supporters who are in detention at the moment. They are Tecla Bandawe and Stephen Ndalama. Tecla has been advised she is to be deported on 5th December.
·         Human rights activist Martin Chinyanga joined us and laid flowers in the Embassy doorways to mark the death of MDC activist Albert Vhiriri.
·         Thanks to Kennedy Mashonganyika for his wonderful singing.
·         We hear that intrepid human rights activist Jenni Williams of WOZA has received the French Order of Merit from the French Ambassador in Harare. A well-deserved honour.  

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: 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. 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://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.
·         Human Rights Day at the Zimbabwe Vigil. Saturday 10th December from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London.  We will be joined by the Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) who will be bringing human rights speakers and activists from a variety of civil society organizations in Zimbabwe.
·         ROHR Manchester Meetings. Saturday 10th December (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.
·         ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 31st December 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.
·         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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