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Zimbabwe ordered to speed up reforms – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd June 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 03 June 2012 17:27

As we joined in the celebrations of the Queen’s Jubilee, Vigil supporters also rejoiced at the tough line against Mugabe taken at the SADC meeting in Luanda. Regional leaders made it clear they would not be steam-rollered by Zanu PF into agreeing to elections in Zimbabwe before the GPA has been honoured. Instead they ordered Mugabe to observe a twelve month framework for introducing reforms.

 

It seems that all the SADC leaders – apart from Sata of Zambia – came out against Mugabe’s rush to the polls. If he now goes ahead and calls elections unilaterally the results will not be recognised by SADC or anyone else.

 

People from the Vigil went on to a lively and well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) on Saturday night after we finished our weekly protest outside the Embassy. There was no confidence in the GPA and we discussed what we could do to keep up pressure on SADC and mobilise people in the event of a Zanu PF suicide attack. Several people were tasked to set up a facebook page for ZAF and it was agreed the next meeting would be brought forward a week because of the urgency of the situation.

 

As for the likelihood of Zanu PF going ahead with an election this year, we were interested to get an email from the MDC MP Eddie Cross about a meeting between an unnamed person and a retired army general. The unidentified  person reported: ‘The general said the military was not engaged in rhetoric when they say they are not prepared to countenance a possible MDC victory. They mean it and they are ready to take over power in the event the MDC wins the next elections. On the issue of elections he said there was nothing that could stop President Mugabe and Zanu PF going ahead with the elections in 2012.’ (For full email, see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/405-email-to-eddie-cross.)

 

Vigil supporters welcomed the outspoken comments by the exiled MDC Treasurer-General Roy Bennett in a speech at Oxford. Roy was one of the people who inspired us to start the Vigil. Here are a few extracts from his speech (for full text see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may30_2012.html#Z13Roy Bennett Speech: Smoke and mirrors: another look at politics and ethnicity in Zimbabwe):

·        ‘What I am asserting is that the primary agenda (of Zanu PF) has always been the pursuit of wealth and power –and that basic human rights, let alone the national good, have always been thrown out the window when they impinge on that agenda. The Big Lie is found in the contradictions between rhetoric and reality: the ‘liberators' enslave, the ‘avengers' steal, the ‘defenders' murder and rape.’

·        ‘The talk now hides, very barely, sheer gluttony and rampant avarice. This is a disease, an addiction unhinged and uncontrollable. Many of Mugabe's acolytes have become unimaginably rich. But, now, in Zimbabwe, enough is never enough.’

·        ‘What we have, then, is the exaltation and ruthless pursuit of mammon, a god whose worshippers come from all shades of life and who are supported by regional and international bandits and shoplifters. This criminal syndicate is laying waste to what remains of the nation's body and soul.’

·        ‘Already, the tried and tested (coercive) methods are being dusted off for the next elections. Meanwhile, some of the lucre must be distributed to members of the opposition whose eyes have become bigger than their heads. This is the largely untold story of the last four years, since MDC has entered the so-called government of national unity.’

 

The British government has assured the Vigil that it is ready to help SADC in its efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The assurance came in a letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to our petition submitted on 21st April calling for UN intervention in Zimbabwe. Here is part of their reply: ‘We share your concerns over the potential for violence in the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe and that the international community, particularly SADC, have a critical role to play in ensuring that this does not happen. We are encouraged by SADC’s commitment, as guarantor of the GPA, that necessary reforms must be completed so that elections, whenever held, would be credible and free from violence. We stand ready to assist SADC in any way we can to help them achieve this.’ For full text of the letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/406-letter-from-the-fco--30-may-2012.

 

Other points

·        The Vigil found it ironic that Zimbabwe showed such an ugly face to visitors in the same week as Mugabe was named a UN ambassador for tourism. At the very least, the arrest of the British music presenter Petroc Trelawny showed a paranoid, dysfunctional, ‘bully’boy’ government. Whatever Zanu PF thinks, Zimbabwe’s jails are not a tourist attraction. The Vigil, which broke the news to the media of Trelawny’s plight, is impressed by his generosity of spirit (see: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/world/my-cold-night-in-zimbabwe-police-cell-by-bbcs-petroc-trelawny-7811022.html – my cold night in Zimbabwe police cell, by BBC's Petroc Trelawny). Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton went on BBC’s Radio 5 to alert the world to his situation.

·        Rose was also on SW Radio Africa’s ‘Beyond Protest’ talking about the wider role of the Vigil as a protest (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/podcasts/wordpress/?p=15694).

·        Another Vigil person in the media was Addley Nyamutaka who with son Mandla was filmed on ITV taking part in a Queen’s Jubilee party in Brixton, south London to express the gratitude of asylum seekers and other immigrants to Britain for their welcome to this country.

·        Flowers were laid on the steps of the Zimbabwe Embassy for murdered MDC official Cephas Maguru.

 

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: 72 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 16th June 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. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

·        ROHR North East Meeting. Saturday 16th June from 12 - 3pm. Venue: Gateshead Council Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1HH. 3mins walk from Gateshead Interchange and Metro station before Gateshead Central Police Station. Free parking available.For directions please contact Tapiwa Semwayo 07722060246 / 07412236229, Susan Ndlovu 07767024586 and Catherine Tshezi 07428189705.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 30th June 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.

·        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.

 

How can you help?

The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.