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Open letter to Zambia – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 9th June 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 10 June 2012 15:22

Vigil supporters were pleased at the impact in Zambia made by our small demonstrations in London on Wednesday against the visit by President Sata.

 

After staging a protest at Marlborough House, where the Queen was joining Commonwealth leaders for lunch, a group of us went on to the Zambian High Commission with a letter protesting at Sata’s abject support of Mugabe. Zambian diplomats refused to accept the letter and a broom we wanted given to Sata so that he could resume his former career as a sweeper.

 

A Zambian website which carried a report about our demonstrations soon had more than 80 comments – mainly supportive of our action. Someone even suggested regular Friday ‘broom’ days (see: Zambian officials refuse to receive Sata’s broom from Zim protesters in Londonhttp://www.zambianwatchdog.com/2012/06/06/zambian-officials-refuse-to-receive-satas-broom-from-zim-protesters-in-london/).

 

The Zambian Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister, Given Lubinda, said that we should go home and ‘participate in various processes aimed at bringing harmony’ (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun8_2012.html#Z7 – Sata answers Zimbabwean critics). He ignored the reasons why an estimated 2 – 3 million Zimbabweans out of a population of about 12 million have been forced into exile by Mugabe’s oppression and his destruction of the economy. Nor did Mr Lubinda explain why President Sata was supporting Mugabe in his less than ‘harmonious’ brutal suppression of dissent.

 

We sadly report to Zambians that Sata was called a ‘clown prince’ in news reports of his antics at the SADC meeting in Luanda at which Mugabe was ordered to stop obstructing reforms he had signed up to in the coalition agreement with the MDC four years ago (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun8_2012.html#Z6 – Sata’s theatrics embarrasses ZANU PF at SADC summit).

 

The Vigil certainly intends no disrespect to the people of Zambia. On the contrary we are grateful for Zambians’ support during the liberation struggle and  admire their democracy.

 

But these quotes from a news report explain why we will continue to protest at Sata’s interference in Zimbabwe’s affairs (see: Sata’s antics get into overdrive http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun9a_2012.html#Z4):

·        ‘Zambian President Michael Sata stole the show at last week’s SADC summit in Luanda with his exaggerated antics which bordered on embarrassing clowning, in the process annoying some delegates who felt his remarks were more appalling than comical. Right from the start of the troika meeting, Sata appeared determined to indulge in attention-grabbing clowning around when he welcomed President Robert Mugabe with chants like “sekuru, sekuru (old man)”, pamberi ne Zanu PF, pamberi ne Jongwe (forward with Zanu PF, forward with the cock (Zanu PF’s symbol).’

·        ‘On media reforms, Sata said there was no need for media reforms because “if you are a news maker you will always make news anyway!” whether there are reforms or not.’

·        ‘In response to Tsvangirai’s contribution on Mugabe unilaterally re-appointing the top army and police commanders, Sata retorted: “Where in the world have you seen a situation in which to appoint generals the president must first beg the prime minister?’

·        ‘Sata’s remarks on women such as Malawian President Joyce Banda whom he described as an “amateur”, Thokozani Khupe, Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga and a lady in the Botswana delegation, infuriated some delegates. Equally infuriating was his call for SADC to bribe other African countries to vote for South African Home Affairs minister into the AU position.’

 

The last comment about bribery chimes with allegations that Mugabe bankrolled Sata’s election campaign. Further allegations about his links with Mugabe appear in the Zimbabwe Mail (see: Sata hires Zimbabwean CIO hit-squad to assassinate opponent – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun9_2012.html#Z9).

 

The Vigil wants Mr Sata to know that – with all respect to Zambians – we will protest whenever he comes to London as long as he continues his opposition to freedom and democracy for the people of Zimbabwe.

 

To the people of Zambia who have to live with him: good luck from the Zimbabwe Vigil.

 

Other points

·        Despite Sata’s contempt for Malawi’s new President because she is a woman, we at the Vigil applaud her decision to refuse to host an African Union summit next month. She objected to the attendance of President Bashir of Sudan, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, but all too acceptable to the AU (see: Malawi cancels AU summit over Bashir – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun9_2012.html#Z8).

·        In light of the Zambian Foreign Minister’s comment that we should go home to protest, we were glad to see cranes outside Zimbabwe House. Presumably he has arranged for the building to be taken to Zimbabwe as well so we can continue to hold our regular demonstrations.

·        A remarkable coincidence: an Irishman in his 60s spoke to us of his ties to Zimbabwe.  He said that in the mid-70s his fiancée went to teach in Bulawayo and was shot dead. We asked him when this happened and he said it happened on 9th June. We pointed out that this was the date today. He hadn’t realised.

·        We urge everyone to look at two useful new websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

 

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: 60 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.

·        Official launch of ROHR Slough Branch. Saturday 23rd June from 6 pm until late. Venue: 100 Lounge Bar, 100 High Street, Slough SL1 1HL. There will be a speech from ROHR Founder Ephraim Tapa, new member registration and the election of an interim Slough Executive. Music, food (including BBQ) and drink available. For more information: Mary 07946 072 989, Ernest 07989 859 427, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , facebook: www.facebook.com/RohrZimbabweSlough. Please call, text, email or facebook to confirm attendance.

·        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.

·        Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

 

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.