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UK supports ‘brutal and corrupt dictatorship’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th March 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 18 March 2012 14:41

The Vigil was asked what we thought of the criticism of the UK government for (as SW Radio Africa put it) ‘appearing to support Robert Mugabe’s regime through a multi-million pound gap year placement scheme’. This followed comments by Dr Peter Slowe, founder of the Projects Abroad organization, which sends British volunteers to help in developing countries during their gap between school and university.

Dr Slowe said the UK ‘should not be paying for young people to go to Zimbabwe. It’s dangerous for the people involved and it also gives direct support to Robert Mugabe’s brutal and corrupt dictatorship (see: UK slammed for ‘supporting’ Mugabe regime with gap year scheme - http://www.swradioafrica.com/2012/03/15/uk-slammed-for-supporting-mugabe-regime-with-gap-year-scheme/).

Well, this is the Vigil’s view as given to a journalist who asked us: ‘The Department for International Development, with its bloated budget, is now the tail wagging the Foreign Office dog. Pie in the sky thinking is making DFID a laughing stock.  What Zimbabweans need is aid going to opponents of Mugabe to secure peaceful change envisaged by the Global Political Agreement, for instance by countering Zanu PF propaganda which capitalizes on aid projects like this. The MDC’s Treasurer General, Roy Bennett, said in a speech in London last November ‘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 went on to say ‘the groups capable of confronting authoritarian regimes must be directly funded and resourced’. The Vigil supports this view.’

 

The Vigil has become increasingly sceptical as the UK and the West in general pump billions of dollars of aid into Zimbabwe with no return: not only no political progress but no acknowledgement from the Mugabe mafia and no let up in their anti-Western hate speech. We fear this policy  has in fact enabled the regime to unload responsibility for funding health, education and development needs to the despised West, freeing them to pursue their own enrichment.

 

We haven’t spent 10 years, week after week, facing winter after winter, and rain – as we had today – outside the Zimbabwe Embassy without working out that a criminal mafia is in control of Zimbabwe and is quite unable to relinquish power – for fear of prosecution if nothing else. But we object that they are effectively protected by the West’s lickspittle diplomacy.

 

We hope our neighbours know by now that the lawless Mugabe mafia is a threat to them. We trust this informs President Zuma’s much-trailed ‘showdown’ meeting with Mugabe in Harare. Vigil supporters were urged to again join the diaspora protest outside the South African High Commission on Wednesday 21st March to put pressure on South Africa to get Mugabe to honour the GPA. The Vigil drums will be there. See Events and Notices for details.

 

Other points

·        More detentions: Nancy Makawa was detained when she went to sign in at Bournemouth Police Station and is now at Yarlswood Immigration Removal Centre. She is a good supporter of the Vigil and we are doing what we can to help and will keep everyone informed. We were sorry to hear that a second deportation order has been served on David Moyo for Tuesday. More details as available.

·        Our Swazi friends were with us again today and said how energized they felt by coming to the Vigil.  A passer-by stopped for a long time to listen to our singing. He said we should record it.

·        If you read our last diary about Mugabe’s use of rape as a political weapon you might be interested in an interview with Stephen Lewis of the group AIDS Free World on SW Radio Africa (podcast of Diaspora Diaries 13.03.12).

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:

·        Third 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest organized by the MDC diaspora. Wednesday 21st March. Meet at the Zimbabwe Embassy at 1 pm. Protesters will move to the South African High Commission at 2.30 pm. For more information contact: Khama Matambanadzo 07939318315, Washington Ali 07786646071, Clemence Munyukwi 07830707959.

·        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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