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Rape a Mugabe weapon – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th March 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 01 April 2012 19:33

 

Women from the Vigil took part in a programme to mark International Women’s Day on Thursday 8th March. Led by management team member Josephine Zhuga, they danced, sang and drummed at a well-attended event at City and Islington College, one of England’s largest further education colleges.

 

A majority of the Zimbabweans turning up for the Vigil outside the Embassy in London every Saturday are women and many of them have been victims of sexual abuse. Josephine, an official speaker at the event, told the audience how rape was used as a form of political control in Zimbabwe. Her message reinforced a speech made in Geneva that day by Stephen Lewis of the organization Aids-Free World at a UN Human Rights Council meeting. Mr Lewis said his organization had gathered evidence from 70 women in Zimbabwe who had been subjected to 380 separate rapes because they supported the MDC.

 

“The raping was diabolical, completely without conscience, merciless in its ferocity, committed by members of Mugabe’s Youth Corps and War Veterans. The pattern of rape was identical and uniform in every part of the country. It was carried out in every province. There was no doubt as to its orchestration. There was no doubt that it constituted crimes against humanity.”

 

Mr Lewis said every country on the Security Council knew what was being done to the women of Zimbabwe but no action  was being taken. Mugabe seemed to be exempt. “Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe beats them all (other countries) for the scale of oppression and rape.” He went on to warn that unless there was outside intervention the same horrific abuses would be perpetrated in the elections Mugabe has insisted on this year.

 

Josephine told the Vigil she had heard that  two MDC ministers, Nelson Chamisa and Theresa Makone, had warned people in the UK against going back to Zimbabwe and confirmed that the MDC had no real power in government. The two attended an MDC UK meeting in Birmingham recently but few details have been released except that Makone had a meeting with the UK Immigration Minister Damian Green to ask him to suspend deportations until after the elections. “Tsvangirai, himself, says he will never be allowed to take power. Why doesn’t Mrs Makone point out to the UK that any woman sent back to Zimbabwe will be subject to rape. The evidence is there.’ (See: Honour women by naming and shaming Zimbabwe – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/mar9_2012.html#Z24)

 

Other points

·        Thanks to Mary Muteyerwa and Louisa Musaerenge who accompanied Josephine and Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton to the lively women’s day event at City and Islington College which featured one of the staff having her head publically shaved to raise money for cancer treatment for the daughter of a fellow staff member. Sympathies to Wendy Ziyambi and Edna Mdoka who made great efforts to reach the college for the event but were prevented by serious disruption on London Underground.

·        We were surprised to hear that long-term Vigil supporter and committed activist Kelvin Kamupira had his asylum application turned down. He is lodging an appeal and we will do everything we can to support him in this.

·        Thanks to Patricia Chipo Kahanda who has been coming at the start of the Vigil to help set up, helping at the front table throughout and clearing up at the end.

·        Our Swazi friends joined us again after what they described as a very lively vigil outside the Swazi High Commission.

 

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: 73 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 24th March from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 7th April 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.

·        Two Gentlemen of Verona Shona Production at the Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT. Dates / Times: Wednesday 9 May, 2.30pm. Thursday 10 May, 7.30pm. Tickets £5 - £35 (700 £5 tickets available) from 020 7401 9919 and www.shakespearesglobe.com. A two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. In a triumphantly energetic ‘township’ style, Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu slip into all of the play’s fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog – in this new, specially commissioned translation.

·        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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