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‘No reforms, no elections’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd June 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 23 June 2013 17:49

After a brief ray of hope from the SADC Summit in Maputo, the week since then has seen prospects of free and fair elections again dimming as Zanu PF refuses to implement agreed reforms.

 

The Vigil would have hoped that Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, left kicking their heels at State House for three hours on Friday, would have at least ‘chatted the way forward’ (a useful neologism introduced some time back in a Zimbabwean newspaper). But it would appear that their mutual antipathy is greater even than their desire to get rid of Mugabe and we doubt that they had much to say to each other while waiting vainly for Mugabe to pitch up for a crucial meeting.

 

What the Vigil would have liked to see from Tsvangirai and Ncube is a decision to present an ultimatum to Zanu PF and SADC: no reforms, no elections. This was the theme of the latest round of monthly diaspora protests at which the Vigil was joined outside the Embassy by MDC members, as well as ROHR and Zimbabwe We Can supporters. Their signatures quickly filled pages of our newly-launched petition: ‘Zimbabweans in the diaspora and supporters call on political parties at home not to take part in the forthcoming elections unless Zanu PF implements the reforms demanded by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at its summit in Maputo on 15th June 2013. We believe that, unless these reforms are made, the results of the elections will not be credible’.

 

Job Sikhala, leader of MDC-99, has already announced his party will boycott the elections, which he described as ‘a charade’. Indeed, all signs are that there will be no reforms to level the playing field. Justice Minister Chinamasa said ‘as Zanu PF we are contesting the idea that there is any need for reforms’. He insisted he would only implement what the parties had agreed on, adding ‘if we do not agree then there nothing to implement; until we agree on a particular reform then there is nothing to reform’ (see: http://allafrica.com/stories/201306190274.html – Zimbabwe: Why the Opposition Shouldn't be Distracted by the Election Date).

 

Given this logic, the Vigil believes that, unless SADC puts some muscle behind its Maputo recommendations, the MDC should not lend the elections any credibility by taking part.

 

Other points

·         After the Vigil about 40 supporters went on to a meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum. Ephraim Tapa head of ROHR and Zimbabwe We Can said free and fair elections were very unlikely because of intimidation and vote rigging. He said the results would be cooked but at the finishing line a Zanu PF government would be recognised. The meeting was addressed by Marga Knorr of a new charity Beyond Violence, which is planning a campaign ‘aiming to reduce the number of people participating in and standing by political violence in the run-up to and during the elections in Zimbabwe’. It was agreed that we would help publicise their work and they could video Vigil people about the situation in Zimbabwe (see events and notices for more details of the organisation). Another guest at the meeting was a solicitor George Tizirai-Chapwanya of GTC Legal Consultancy Services, who kindly came down from Birmingham to give us an update on asylum and immigration issues. His talk was much appreciated.

·         During the week about 20 Vigil supporters attended a meeting in London at which a new film was shown ‘Beatrice Mtetwa and the rule of law’. We were happy to be introduced to Beatrice, who said the new constitution would not of itself restore the rule of law. This would require full commitment by all parties. At present the voters’ roll was in a shambles and perpetrators of political violence were still at large. Even if changes were made now there was not enough time left to affect people on the ground. Our supporters ended the evening singing and dancing in the foyer.

·         The Vigil is to take part in a demonstration outside the Zimbabwe Embassy on Thursday, the fifth anniversary of the infamous presidential run-off by means of which Mugabe smuggled himself back into State House. Joining us under the banner of ‘Never Again’ are Action for Southern Africa (formerly the Anti-Apartheid Movement) and the Trades Union Congress (see Events and Notices for full details).

·         The publishers Chatto & Windus have kindly given the Vigil several copies of a new book by NoViolet Bulawayo, titled ‘We Need New Names’. It has been highly praised and we are lending the books out to supporters so everyone can read it and we will let the publishers know what supporters think of it.

 

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: 71 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

         Culture without Borders. Tuesday 25th June onwards. For more information contact Wiz Bishop at the Zimbabwe Association 020 7739 8226, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.zimbabweassociation.org.uk:

-         Storytelling with Chenjerai Hove. Tuesday 25th June from 11 am – 2 pm. Venue: Spitalfields City Farm Yurt,  Buxton St, London E1 5AR

-         Solidarity with Zimbabwean victims of torture. Wednesday 26th June from 11.30 am – 2.30 pm. Venue: Oxford House Theatre, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG.

-          Chenjerai Hove in Birmingham. Thursday 27th June from 6 – 9.30 pm. Hosted by the ZA regional Drop-in Centre at Carrs Lane Church, Birmingham B4 7SX.

-         Arts and Culture Consultation with the Zimbabwean diaspora. Friday 28th June from 10.30 am – 5 pm. Venue: Oxford House Theatre, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG. ZA is collaborating with the Culture Cluster of the Commonwealth Organisations Committee on Zimbabwe (COCZ) on this event.

-         The Britain Zimbabwe Society Research Day on Culture without Borders. Saturday 29 June from 9 am – 5.15 pm. Venue: St Anthony’s College, 62 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6JF. It is followed by a BZS party with Linos Magaya and Zimbaremabwe. Venue: The Buttery, St Anthony’s College. £10 entrance on the door, cash bar, free nibbles. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , http://britainzimbabwesociety.wordpress.com/.

·         ‘Zimbabwe: Never Again’ protest. Thursday 27th June from 1 – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. It is a joint protest with ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and the TUC. This protest marks the fifth anniversary of the presidential run-off in 2008 marred by a brutal campaign of violence, including murder, disappearances and mass rape. Zimbabwe will hold elections again very soon. Join us to say never again to a repeat of the terrible violence of 2008 and support the call for free and fair elections that comply with the Southern African Development Community standards for democratic elections. Contact ACTSA on: 02032632001, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it www.actsa.org

·         ROHR Slough branch meeting. Saturday 13th July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road SL1 5JW. Contact: Grace Nyaumwe 07850 284 506, Patricia Masamba 07708 116 625.

·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 20th July 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 North East Region Zimbabwe Day Fundraising Event. Saturday 27th July from 1 – 8 pm. Venue: Benton Community Centre, 17 Edenbridge Crescent, Benton, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE12 8EP. Food, drink & entertainment. Contact Givemore Chitengu 07912747744, Kennedy Makonese 07979914429, Tapiwa Semwayo 07412236229, Collet Dube 07951516566. 

         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.

         Facebook pages:

-         Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts

-         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

-         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

         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

         Contact details for Beyond Violence. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beyondviolenceorg, Website: www.beyondviolence.org, Twitter: https://twitter.com/Beyond_Violence.

 

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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.