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No observers, no elections – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd March 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 03 March 2013 15:16

The Vigil is to urge the United Nations not to finance the Zimbabwean elections unless UN monitors are allowed to attend.

 

Zimbabwe asked the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for some $80 million to pay for the referendum on a new constitution but the request was turned down because the application had been left too late. Justice Minister Chinamasa says the money has now been found from ‘local sources’ – but refused to name them.

 

The government is now looking to the UNDP to provide about $200 million it says it needs for the elections, said by Jonathan Moyo likely to be held in late June. The Vigil believes Zanu PF could easily pay for the elections out of looted diamond money so we are sending the following letter to the UNDP.

 

‘The Zimbabwe Vigil understands that the Zimbabwe government has asked you to pay for the coming elections as it says it has no money. At the same time, Vice President Joice Mujuru has insisted that only observers from Southern Africa will be invited to monitor the elections.

 

We believe that President Mugabe’s Zanu PF cronies have syphoned off billions of dollars of diamond revenue and that the President could easily arrange to finance the elections.

 

But if the UNDP is of a mind to squander donors’ money on the Zimbabwean elections we believe it should be conditional on UN observers being allowed to monitor them. We suggest that the observers should be drawn from those countries such as the US and EU members which provide most of the funds.          

 

You will be aware that three UN rapporteurs recently expressed alarm at the increasing human rights abuses as Mugabe seeks to ensure another term of office. You will also have heard of the police harassment of civil society organizations and the seizure of short wave radios which allow people access to the outside world.

 

The Vigil believes that, unless the UN takes a more robust approach, Mugabe will use the same violent methods to cow voters and then go on to rig the elections as he did five years ago.

 

We wish to draw your attention to the following petition which we have submitted to the United Nations. “We call upon 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 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 are sorry to say that we have received no response to this petition signed by many thousands of people passing by the Vigil which has been held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for more than ten years in support of free and fair elections.’

 

Other points

·         After the Vigil we gathered for the twice-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum down the road from the Vigil at the Strand Continental Hotel. We discussed the letter to the UNDP and an event on Thursday 7th March organized by the Mike Campbell Foundation (see events and notices below). A number of people said they would attend.

·         The diaspora organization Yes We Can Zimbabwe (www.yeswecanzimbabwe.org) joined us at the Forum. David Kadzutu, Organising Secretary, said the organization had grown steadily since its formation in February 2011 because of growing concern that the MDC as part of the GNU no longer provided an opposition. Another member of the organization, Darlington Sibanda, said it was necessary to have a plan to counteract Zanu PF if they won the elections. One suggestion was that we should campaign for the MDC to refuse to join a new government of national unity so that it can distance itself from Zanu PF and regain credibility.

·         Martin Chinyanga, who has launched a campaign ‘Diaspora Feels It’, also joined us at the Forum after laying flowers on the doorstep of the Embassy in memory of 12-year-old Christpower Maisiri. He said Mugabe’s call for an end to violence was hypocritical and Zanu PF was attacking innocent children. Another supporter said he was sorry to see MDC leaders arriving at the murdered boy’s humble funeral in flashy cars and suits. There was much comment on a report that Tsvangirai had asked Mugabe to allow him to stay in his government-owned mansion if the MDC lost the elections (see: Plush government home haunts Tsvangirai, http://mg.co.za/article/2013-03-01-00-government-home-haunts-tsvangirai).

·         The Forum welcomed a proposal by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, to mark Referendum Day on 16th March. The Vigil is grateful for their support. Further information on this in next week’s diary.

·         The Vigil was set up in record time today with help from ROHR members fresh from a meeting of the ROHR Central London Branch attended by 30 people. The branch decided to present ROHR’s petition to the UK Border Agency protesting at deportations to Zimbabwe as violence worsens ahead of the elections. This petition, which has been available for signature at the Vigil, will be taken to 10 Downing Street on Referendum Day.

·         The Vigil was saddened to hear that our supporter Pelagia was seriously ill in Leicester. We pray for her return to good health.

·         Thanks to Iline Manhunzi and Grace Nyaumwe of ROHR Slough and Tafadzwa Mushakwe, Hilda Gwesele and Tendayi Vheremu of ROHR Coventry for providing food to fundraise for ROHR.

 

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: 50 signed the register but there were many more people there.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·         Mike Campbell Foundation: Hope in a Desert. Thursday 7th March at 7 pm. Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Speakers are Ben Freeth, Dr Craig Richardson and Gillian Higgins. The event will be chaired by Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe. Tickets: £15. Check: http://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/images/rgs2013flyer.pdf for more information.

·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 16th March from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The meeting will take place straight after the Vigil. 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 ZAF, Saturday 2nd April same time and venue.

·         Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012.  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 Highlights page.

·         The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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.

·         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.

 

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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.