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Mugabe’s birthday gifts – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th February 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 19 February 2012 16:26

It was a special birthday party at the Vigil for Mugabe as he celebrated the easing of sanctions and news that Zanu PF is expected to sell India 11 million carats this year. That’s a lot of diamonds (see: Busted: Mugabe's criminal cabal selling diamonds at half price in looting spree – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/feb17_2012.html#Z16).

‘A big thank you to Baroness Ashton,’ said Mugabe, referring to the EU’s foreign affairs chief, who was at the centre of both developments, helping Zanu PF get Kimberley Process approval to unload its blood diamonds and getting sanctions removed on many of his cronies – despite Mugabe making it clear he has no intention of allowing free and fair elections.

The birthday boy – 88 on Tuesday -- was played by Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Mugabe mask and holding a candle in one hand and an empty water bottle in the other, representing Zimbabwe’s liquidity problems: no water and no money... He was given gifts labeled looted diamonds, sanctions eased, illiquidity and typhoid. Posters proclaimed ‘Mugabe’s 88th Birthday – vote for me or DIE’ and ‘Vote MDC and die’.

We were joined by three Swazi ladies who told us they were to relaunch their Vigil outside the Swazi High Commission on Saturday 25th February. It will take place from 10 am – 1 pm every other week.  The group included Jabulile Simelane, whose father (Paulos Majaji Simelane) was Commissioner of Police in Swaziland and was accused of plotting to kill the king and thrown into jail. She said all his relatives were being penalized, as indeed was everyone in Swaziland where there was ‘grinding poverty, hunger, no jobs, no medicine in hospitals, let alone sheets for hospital beds’.

Jabulile said that the Swazi High Commission is London should be closed as it did nothing for Swazis except look after King Mswati’s children studying in the UK who were given £30,000 a month to spend while children at home had no books. She added that Swazis in the UK were to write to the Queen to protest at the invitation to King Mswati to her Jubilee celebrations in June. She said ‘I am sure that Her Majesty cannot know how monstrous Mswati is. Our people are starving but he has £16 billion in Qatar. He should go and stay there.  Why is Mr Cameron not doing something about Mswati when he is acting against people like President Assad of Syria?’

Other points
·         Vigil Co-ordinator Rose was encouraging people to support Tuesday’s Free Zimbabwe Global Protest (see Events and Notices) when she got a call from Patrick Chatakuta our supporter who was threatened with deportation. He is now out of detention and he phoned to thank the Vigil for our support. We are delighted he is free but sorry to report that another Vigil supporter, David Moyo, has been detained and given a deportation date of 1st March. More of this as we get more information.
·         The Vigil was interested to see that Zimbabwe was the only African country to vote in favour of President Assad   slaughtering his people (Zim votes against human rights in Syria – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/feb18_2012.html#Z17).
·         We were joined today by John Yohane of the Zimbabwe Watchmen. He was a great help in setting up the Vigil in the rain and sang and prayed with Vigil supporters.
·         It was good to be reminded by a passer-by of a quotation attributed to Edmund Burke, an 18th century parliamentarian. He told us that ‘nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little’.
·         Vigil supporters joined Martin Chinyanga in laying flowers at the Embassy door in honour of Zimbabwe’s murdered political activists.

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: 47 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         New film ‘Robert Mugabe . . . What Happened?’ on Tuesday 21st February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG. Please reply to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or leave a message on 020 7739 8226.
·         Second Free Zimbabwe Global Protest organized by the MDC diaspora to put pressure on South Africa to do something about Zimbabwe. Tuesday 21st February from 12 noon to 4.30 pm. Meet at the Zimbabwe Embassy at 12 noon. Protesters will move to the South African High Commission at 2 pm. For more information contact Tonderai Samanyanga 07917 742 022.
·         Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 3rd March from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. 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.
·         ROHR North East general meeting. Saturday 10th March from 12 noon – 3 pm. Venue: Gateshead Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1HH. 3 mins walk from Gateshead Interchange and Metro station before Police Station. Free parking available. For directions please contact Hazvineyi Choto 07424524910, Susan Ndlovu 07838872435 or Tapiwa Merrymore Semwayo 07722060246.
·         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.
·         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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