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What will Zuma do? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th December 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 18 December 2011 14:03

The Vigil staged a demonstration outside the South African High Commission in London to urge President Zuma to force Mugabe to honour the Global Political Agreement. Vigil activists and MDC members made their way to South Africa House from the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy and stood in silence with banners reading: ‘Zuma save Zimbabwe’.  

The demonstration reflected the Vigil’s disgust at the ANC’s offer to help Zanu PF in the next elections. ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told the Zanu PF Conference in Bulawayo: ‘We are willing to assist in coming up with election messages and strategies that would deliver victory’. 

Mr Mantashe didn’t say what the messages would be but we doubt that they will include: ‘No violence’, ‘No ballot rigging’ and ‘No arbitrary arrests’.  

Mr Mantashe went on to underline the ANC’s contempt for democracy: ‘The ANC wishes to affirm her commitment to being a good and trustworthy neighbour to a fellow liberation movement’ (whether the people want it or not!). 

We were equally puzzled by comments by Lindiwe Zulu during a visit to Harare. Ms Zulu, spokesperson of the South African mediation team, made it clear that, as far as South Africa was concerned, there could be no elections in Zimbabwe until the outstanding issues between the parties have been resolved. We are puzzled because after three years of unity government the GPA project is two years behind schedule. At this rate of progress there will not be elections for decades . . .  

The Vigil does not believe that the South Africans want this paralysis. What we want is tough action by President Zuma to stop Zanu PF blocking progress.   

Today’s demonstration was originally proposed by the MDC UK as part of an international MDC protest outside South African diplomatic missions. They told us that, unfortunately, this plan had to be postponed. We were nevertheless happy to welcome MDC members who had not been told of the postponement. 

Other points
·         Further evidence of the incompetence of the UK Border Agency came in a letter to a member of the Vigil Management Team who requested access to the file on her held by the UKBA. Here is part of the letter from the Agency’s Resource Management Group based in the appropriately named Lunar House in Croydon: ‘Thank you for your Subject Access Request concerning yourself. We have now completed the processing of that request, but, unfortunately, we have been unable to locate all of the UKBA records relating to yourself. We have searched across our IT databases, identified the records in question and requested these records from our file storage unit. We have further chased for these records on a number of occasions, but with no success. We are therefore satisfied that we have made all reasonable efforts within the statutory time limits of  the Data Protection Act to locate these records and that, regrettably, it is now simply not  possible to supply copies of records that we can’t locate.’ The letter goes on to say: ‘As we have said above, supplying copies of the above-mentioned records is not possible because the records are missing and should be shortly designated as lost by the Agency. To continue to try and locate the records for the purposes of our obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 would, in our opinion, be unreasonable and involve disproportionate effort as per Section 8 (2) (a) of that Act.’ (For full text of the letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/353-letter-from-ukba-re-losing-information).
·         Thanks to Jonathan Kariwoh who took on responsibility for the Vigil during the protest outside South Africa House.
·         The Vigil will be held as usual next week although it is Christmas Eve. We will also be outside the Embassy on New Year’s Eve. (Things might close down for a month at home but we don’t . . . despite the freezing weather.) 

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: 72 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.
·         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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