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‘Unsatasfactory’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th January 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 29 January 2012 18:01

Comments about Morgan Tsvangirai by the new Zambian President Michael Sata show how far the MDC has to go to secure the understanding – let alone support – of our neighbours in SADC. Far from being a new broom, Sata – a former platform sweeper at London’s Victoria Station – made it clear in an interview with the UK’s Telegraph newspaper that he was not interested in sorting out the rubbish in Zimbabwe (see: 'Humiliating' work as Victoria station porter helped Michael Sata become Zambia's president – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/
africaandindianocean/zambia/9030905/Humiliating-work-as-Victoria-station-porter-helped-Michael-Sata-become-Zambias-president.html
).

‘Tsvangirai is a stooge of the West’ he said, going on to suggest that everything was ok in Zimbabwe and no reforms were necessary to ensure free and fair elections. His attitude perhaps explains why SADC has still not sent the three representatives it promised last June to sort out JOMIC. One of the three was to have been from Zambia. Perhaps he is being delayed for a cram course in sweeping things under the carpet.   

We at the Vigil have come to the conclusion that nothing can be hoped for from SADC – but we are nevertheless puzzled why the MDC has not managed to explain things to Sata. He persuades us that the time has come to present our petition: A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.’ 

It has been signed by many thousands of people who have passed by the Vigil and support our view that tax payers in the UK should not be expected to give hundreds of millions to governments that are not interested in human rights in Zimbabwe. We also demand that Sata returns his broom to Victoria Station.  

Other points
·         Vigil supporters were reminded that a ROHR general meeting is to be held next week (see ‘Events and Notices’). A couple of responses to our mailshot about the meeting show that some of our supporters do not know about the Vigil’s relationship with ROHR. The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) was started by the Vigil in 2007 growing out of the need to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR has been seriously decampaigned in recent months and the Vigil has to ensure that correct information is circulated to its supporters so they know what’s going on.  As you know, Zanu PF and the CIO are prepared to throw a lot of resources into undermining human rights activists including paying people to decampaign human rights organisations.
·         Supporters were also reminded about the forum after next week’s Vigil. The Vigil management team is hoping that many people will attend our first joint gathering with ROHR and Zimbabwe We Can. We hope this will become a platform to discuss activism that will produce real change for a free Zimbabwe. We plan future forums on the first Saturday of every month. For details see ‘Events and Notices’ section.
·         Talking about activism, Gene Sharp author of ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy’ is speaking in London at the Frontline Club on Monday – unfortunately the event is fully booked. However you can download his book from this link: http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf. According to the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12522848), Dr Sharp is credited with the strategy behind the toppling of the Egyptian government. One of his points of particular resonance for Zimbabweans is that negotiation with dictators is of limited value because it legitimises brutal regimes. Zimbabweans should consider adopting a strategy of political defiance on the lines suggested by Gene Sharp. 

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: 56 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011-.  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.
·         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 general meeting. Saturday 4th February from 1 – 4 pm. The meeting is being called to elect a new UK Executive. All ROHR members and those interested in joining ROHR are welcome to attend. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
·         First Joint ZimVigil, ROHR and Zimbabwe We Can Forum. Saturday 4th February from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel, 143 Strand, WC2R 1JA. For directions see above entry. Future joint forums to be held after the Vigil on the first Saturday of each month.
·         Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·         Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

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