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Call their bluff – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th March 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 25 March 2012 13:41

Following Morgan Tsvangirai’s talks in London with the British Prime Minister, the Vigil is to seek an opportunity to present Mr Cameron with our petition calling for UN supervision of the next elections. It has been signed by many thousands of people who have passed by the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy.

During their meeting, Mr Cameron promised Tsvangirai his support in ensuring the elections are free and fair (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/mar24_2012.html#Z5 – British PM Cameron pledges to push for free elections in Zimbabwe). The Vigil hopes that Britain, as a permanent member of the Security Council, will pass on the petition, which reads: ‘We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.’

We thought we had better act now because Zanu PF seems hell-bent on elections this year – regardless of the GPA’s insistence on a new constitution and electoral reforms – a stand backed (so far) by SADC. The Vigil believes that if Zanu PF goes ahead with its threat the UN must demand a role. Mr Tsvangirai was typically buoyant during his London visit, promising to form a government of national unity if the MDC wins power and giving reassurances to Mugabe’s cronies to ease their fears of retribution. The Vigil does not share his optimism. We don’t think a hyena can change its spots but we would feel a lot less pessimistic if the UN acted on our petition.

The Vigil also appeals to the UK government to spend some of its $100 million a year aid to help Zimbabwe find out which human rights treaties it has agreed to.  Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament that the government didn’t have a clue (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/mar24a_2012.html#Z9 – Govt has no treaty record). Perhaps if Mr Chinamasa knew that a biased judiciary was not permitted, Gwisai and his companions would not have been tortured and convicted of watching television. Or that the ‘First Family’ could not run up an unpaid  $350,000 electricity bill for their numerous farms (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/mar24a_2012.html#Z1 – Mugabe fumes over Zesa bill). Or that the Governor of the Reserve Bank could not similarly get away with not paying $800,000 for telephone calls (to Grace Mugabe?) (see: Gono’s US$800,000 phone bill – http://www.swradioafrica.com/2012/03/19/gonos-us800000-phone-bill/). Or that Police Commissioner Chihuri could not make off with 80 tonnes of fertilizer from the Grain Marketing Board while the majority of farmers failed to get a single bag – contributing to yet another disastrous agricultural season (see: Bigwigs under probe over inputs scam – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/mar24a_2012.html#Z2).

Other points
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On a lovely sunny day, as warm as summer, we were joined by our Swazi friends who came on to us after an exuberant vigil outside the Swazi High Commission.
·       
Homeless people gather near the Vigil waiting for food handouts from a charity which visits in the evening. One of them said he wanted to ask us a favour. We assumed he was after money but much to our surprise what he wanted  was a piece of our string to hold his trousers up!
·        Many members of the Vigil attended the 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest outside the South African High Commission on Wednesday (for our report on this see:
http://zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/379-third-21st-movement-free-zimbabwe-global-protest-wednesday-21st-march-2012).
·        Thanks to Linnet Moyo for her energetic help in setting up the Vigil including athletically climbing on our drum to put up the high posters.

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: 79 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·        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.
·        Next Swaziland Vigil.
Saturday 7th April 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.
·        Fourth 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest
organized by the MDC diaspora. Saturday 21st April. On this day the Vigil will also mark Zimbabwe’s 32nd Independence anniversary.
·       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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