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33 years of oppression – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th April 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 21 April 2013 14:22

Despite renewed pressure from SADC for the full implementation of the GPA, President Mugabe exuded confidence that he will win the elections he insisted should be held last year or the year before that at the latest. ‘You’d be surprised what little bags of diamonds can do’ he told the Vigil. ‘Just ask my friend Charles Taylor or for that matter. . .’

 

Waving a pistol at Vigil supporters, the President (played by Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask) was making his annual appearance outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London to mark Independence Day. Carrying a poster reading ’33 years in power’, he was beset by Zimbabwean exiles with rival placards such as: 33 years of oppression, 33 years of looting, 33 years of suffering, 33 years of lawlessness, 33 years of violence and 33 years of rigged elections.

 

Mugabe assured us that the voters’ roll had been cleaned up. ‘Dead people have been taken off’ he said – but added under his breath ‘more of them will be added’.

 

Vigil supporters signed a letter to President Zuma drawing his attention to the moves underway for massive vote rigging (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/apr20a_2013.html#Z8 – Cabinet descends on chaotic RG’s office).

 

The letter reads:

 

We welcome the latest visit to Harare by the SADC facilitation team but caution South Africa against paying for the forthcoming elections there.

 

As Professor Welshman Ncube has pointed out, it is well within the capacity of Zanu PF to fund the elections if they are prepared to use their diamond revenue. Finance Minister Biti has made the same point, lamenting the loss of diamond revenue to the Treasury.

 

The UN, the US and the EU have all expressed willingness to fund the elections but their offers have been rejected by Zanu PF because it fears objective scrutiny. We believe that South Africa should also exercise due diligence in this matter.

 

With elections coming in the next six months, we call on the facilitation team to ensure that eligible voters in Zimbabwe are allowed to register and draw your attention to what is described as ‘calculated bias towards ensuring perceived Zanu PF voters register to vote, with simultaneous efforts being made in some quarters to prevent opposition party supporters from registering at all’ (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/apr19_2013.html#Z23 – Zimbabwe Election Watch: Issue 1).

 

The Zimbabwe Vigil has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past eleven years in support of human rights and free and fair elections.’

 

The letter was the Vigil’s contribution to the 16th monthly Free Zimbabwe global protest. The theme this month is ‘Simuka, Phakama – stand up and be counted’.

 

Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa stood up and spoke of the recent undercover visit he’d made to Zimbabwe. He said the three party leaders were congratulating themselves on the 33rd anniversary of independence as if everything was ok. Everything was not ok, he said, and that is why we were gathered on the Strand demanding free and fair elections which would produce a credible result. He added that he had found a cowed nation and that he believed the result of the elections had already been decided.

 

Other points

·         It was a busy day for Ephraim who came to the Vigil after chairing a well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Yes We Can group of which he is President. After the Vigil, he joined us at the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum to speak about his time in Zimbabwe. He spoke of the daily hardships of the people living the ‘economy of the stomach’ and how when he visited people’s carefully kept homes in Harare their faces fell when he asked to use the toilet. Running water was sporadic and when it was available was full of sewage. He also spoke of his terror on the death trap of the Masvingo Road. Large lorries with swerving trailers resulted in cars being swept off the road. In contrast the road to Mutare (and the diamonds) was immaculate.

·         To our joy it was the warmest and sunniest day for seven long months. The dancing, singing and drumming reflected this.

·         We were happy to be joined by our good friend Mark Beacon and others from Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-apartheid Movement. Other visitors included a Pakistani lady, Ayesha Siddique Khan, who is studying human rights law in London and who said how important it was for oppressed people to stand together.

·         We are glad to let you know that our Swazi friend Tintswalo Ngobeni who was threatened with deportation is still in the UK. After our mailing on Thursday in which we called on the airline not to take her back, we were told that the deportation had been called off.

·         Grateful thanks to Rose Maponga who took away our weather-worn banners for repair and return next week.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 72 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·         ROHR Milton Keynes Branch Relaunch. Saturday 27th April from 2 – 5.30 pm. Venue Coffee Hall Meeting Place (Coffee Hall Community Hall), 60 Garraways, Coffee Hall, Milton Keynes MK6 5E. For more information please contact: Casper Nyamakura (07577666912), Epiphania Phiri (07426 136 124) and William Muchayi (07826311731).

·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 4th May from 6.30 – 9.30 pm.  Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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.

·         ROHR Executive meeting. Saturday 4th May from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For full directions check entry for Zimbabwe Action Forum.

·         ROHR Birmingham Branch meeting. Saturday 11th May from 12.30 – 3.30 pm. Venue: All Saints Centre, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath B14 7RA. For more information, contact: Zenzile Chabuka 07951418577, Anne Chikumba 07857528546, Petronella Mapara 07903644612, Jane Mary Mapfumo 07412310429, Pedzisai James 07428180518 and Tecla Bandawe 07450507650.

·         ROHR Southampton Branch meeting. Saturday 11th May from 12.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Swaythling Neighbourhood Centre off Broadlands Rd, Southampton SO16 3AY.  For more information contact: Wellington Mukucha 07450264733, Sally Mutseyami 07969029752, Manfred Mambo 07774538359 and Taylor Madondo.

·         ROHR Central London Branch meeting. Saturday 18th May from 12 – 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Contact Fungayi Mabhunu 07746552597. For full directions check entry for Zimbabwe Action Forum.

·         ROHR Reading Relaunch. Saturday 25th May from 11 am – 5 pm. For more information please contact: Tawanda Dzimba 07880524278, Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386789.

·         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.

 

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.