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‘Poor, bankrupt, miserable country’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 January 2019 15:40

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This description by British minister Alan Duncan was spot on. He was speaking on his way to the UN to discuss Venezuela. But he could equally well have been talking about Zimbabwe.

Venezuela was seen by the UN to be the more pressing problem. 20 years ago it was one of the richest countries in Latin America with perhaps the largest oil reserves in the world. All was set fair until a socialist ideologue came to power. Inflation exceeded one million per cent last year. A tenth of the people have fled the country in the last four years. Food is scarce, leaving half of children malnourished. What medicine you can get must be paid for in US dollars.

Sound familiar? But here the paths diverge. In Venezuela hundred of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets and the opposition leader declared himself President, immediately supported by neighbouring Colombia and the continental giants Brazil and Argentina, as well as the United States (and the UK).

In Zimbabwe, when the people took to the streets  the government launched a campaign of intimidation, beating and torturing civilians including women and children as young as nine. But there has been no criticism from neighbouring giant South Africa. On the contrary, President Ramaphosa chose to throw in his lot with Zanu PF, appealing at the Davos summit for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted because the country was ‘on the right path’. If this is the right path then Zimbabwe is doomed.

The Vigil thinks that Zimbabwe is on the wrong path and fears it has been joined on it by South Africa. The irony of ironies is that even the South African demagogue Julius Malema has condemned the Zimbabwean repression.

We think it’s a pity that Ramaphosa turned down Mnangagwa’s recent plea for a billion dollar loan to bail out Zimbabwe. Ramaphosa, reportedly himself a billionaire, claims South Africa does not have the money. But he would have found sympathetic governments ready to back a loan in return for talks on a power-sharing deal necessary if Zimbabwe is ever to regain investor confidence and stop being a ‘poor, bankrupt, miserable country’.

Other points

  • After realising the gravity of the situation rather late, the British media has given saturation coverage to Zimbabwe (see for instance: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/995-who-really-calls-the-shots-in-bloody-zimbabwe-crackdown).
  • Vigil activists have been receiving heartbreaking messages from their families and friends on what’sapp. Sent from a friend on 26/01/2019. ‘The above picture is my nephew. Shot five bullets in the tummy in our family house in Harare this morning This is the fourth member of the family dead this week. Two were in a combi that was shot by the army and overturned when they were trying to escape from the city to Domboshava. Another was shot by army whilst he was escaping to South Africa where he was at University.’ We were also sent a picture of a young man with very swollen lips and the following message: ‘24/01/2019. This guy is my brother and he is in Chikurubi prison. He did nothing but he was watching people demonstrating peacefully and the soldiers and police assaulted him badly. They burned his back and he has wounds all over his back. We are trying to find ways to help him get lawyers and his treatment. He is unwell at the moment. We sent painkillers but they were confiscated for verification. He said pain is too much especially headache.’
  • It was good to be joined by Claire Freeth of the Mike Campbell Foundation and Sunit Bagree of ACTSA.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Josephine Jombe, Thomas Mahasoh, Rosemary Maponga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Patricia Masamba, Lucia Mungwari, Esther Munyira, Patience Muyeye, Bigboy Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Patience and Josephine for looking after the front table and to Bigboy, Thomas, Lucia and Netsayi Makarichi for handing out flyers.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 26 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th February from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:
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Rats’ Alley – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 13 January 2019 16:48

A car drives past a seemingly endless queue of vehicles waiting for fuel in Harare. Some have no one in them. Then a presidential motorcade speeds past in the opposite direction.

Take a look at the video recorded by the passing car (see: https://www.facebook.com/david.coltart/videos/10156194388327613/?eid=ARAbwh_ej8-_Va8y8_l9FuxplPC_OVvot4aYP_Tinp-tOs00buRKB3gYLOXZqdQRKrzlFXuEs_TFUarF). Does this show a Zimbabwe open for business? And can President Mnangagwa’s latest travels in a hired luxury airliner really deliver this business? Many people wouldn’t put Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan at the top of any list except for corruption.

Mnangagwa will wind up his tour by dropping in at the annual Davos ‘movers and shakers’ party in Switzerland. He attracted some interest there last year as a kind of Christmas novelty popping out of the military cracker. But his trademark Zimbabwe scarf is now a bit bedraggled.

If he gets to see anyone but self-important rats they will ask what he has achieved in the past year, what he has done with the ‘influx’ of foreign investment continually hyped by the Herald.

They will acknowledge that his regime is less repressive than Mugabe’s but will be critical of his failure to restore monetary credibility. And they will wonder if anything different can ever be achieved by an irredeemably autocratic Zanu PF government . . .

But the Herald says salvation is at hand. It says a South African company has offered to invest more than $300 million in ‘waste management’ in Zimbabwe. A company spokesman said it wanted to ‘clean Zimbabwe’. Apparently the company had talks with Mnangagwa at the Davos forum last year. Our suspicions at the time have been confirmed: Mnangagwa really was talking rubbish at the meeting (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/sa-waste-management-firm-keen-to-invest-in-zim/).

A hundred years ago the poem ‘The Waste Land’ made the name of Nobel Laureate T S Elliot. He wrote: ‘I think we are in rats’ alley where the dead men lost their bones . . . Do you know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember nothing?’

Other points

  • Bare bones are all that’s left for 1,400 families evicted from their homes near Bulawayo by police with a support unit who went on to demolish everything. Some of the residents took up spears and knobkerries to defend their property and were reminded by the commander of the support unit of what happened in Harare following the disputed elections last year when the army opened fire. The residents were not even permitted to remove their belongings (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/987-apartheid-style-evictions-in-zimbabwe).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Enniah Dube, Marian Machekanyanga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Patricia Masamba, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Marian, Esther and Patricia for looking after the front table, to Margaret and Enniah for handing out flyers and to Esther for extra photos. Thanks also to Patricia, Margaret, Charles, Marian, Enniah and Ephraim for agreeing to contribute to the cost of new banners and posters for the Vigil.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 9 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
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Parliament debates trifles – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 06 January 2019 15:36

At a time when many people in Zimbabwe wonder where their next meal is coming from and whether it is worthwhile taking someone to hospital for treatment, the House of Assembly has been preoccupied by more urgent matters: how they can improve their pay and conditions.

Star of the budget debate was Norton’s MP Temba Mliswa, who insisted that it was critical that legislators should have a three-course lunch if they were to function well: ‘We are talking about having a world class Parliament, but we only have a one course meal and the dessert is an apple and a banana yet when we go out to other areas we get trifle, a nice fruit salad, custard, ice cream and all that. But, look at what we get here — a mere banana and apple! There is no soup.’

Mliswa. an Independent, was greeted with applause from across the political divide when he complained that MPs did not have even a gym they could go to or a sports club. ‘So, how many more have to die before we rescue the situation. We must have a recreation club where we play golf or choose any sport that we want to partake in. We must be able to have world class gyms where we are able to train because when you are strong physically, mentally it equally helps you.’ Further, he said legislators should be given laptops or ipads.

There were also demands for an increase in allowances and credit cards for MPs when they travelled abroad and better cars. Finance Minister Ncube managed to get his budget passed when he promised parliamentarians Toyota Hilux twin-cab vehicles (see: https://zwnews.com/zim-mps-demand-3-course-meals-desserts-ipads-gym-cars-lots-of-cash/.)

There was hardly a dry eye in Zimbabwe after people learnt of the suffering of their legislators. ‘Let them play golf’, was the universal cry and ‘trifles are a human right’.

Perhaps, stomachs full, our MPs could turn their attention to the sad story of child brides reported in the UK newspaper the Guardian this week (see: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jan/04/poverty-drives-trade-child-brides-zimbabwe).

 

The paper reports the case of Maureen, married off early because her parents were poor, pregnant at 13 and left after a still birth with obstetric fistula caused by prolonged labour. The paper explains: ‘Women and girls who experience obstetric fistula suffer constant incontinence, shame, social segregation and further health problems.’ “I haven’t forgiven my parents for doing this to me. I had a bright future but now they treat me like an outcast,” says Maureen. “When my parents told me about the marriage I couldn’t believe it, because they had always given me the impression that I was their most intelligent child and I would pursue my studies. The man was abusive, he called me names and beat me several times, especially after I lost my baby,” she says. “My dreams were destroyed by that man.”

The paper quotes another victim, Kresi: “I felt cheap and abused. My mates are in high school doing well for themselves. [My family] had no business selling me off. Now I have this condition which I cannot control. No one has even come to see me in this hospital,” she said tearfully.

Perhaps Zimbabwe’s legislators could offer these poor girls some trifle when they get back from their three-course lunch.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Brian Aspey, Norah Bomani, Shylette Chipangura, Margaret Chisadza, Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Getrude Makosvo, Charles Mararirakwenda, Cephas Maswoswa, Esther Munyira and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Josephine, Bianca Mpawaenda, Rose Maponga and Margaret for looking after the front table, to Deborah, Patience Muyeye, Cephas, Netsayi Makarichi, Heather Makawa and Chido Makawa for handing out flyers and to Bianca, Josephine, Deborah and Heather for extra photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 30 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 12th January from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Agenda: to discuss ROHR’s way forward for 2019.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
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Doctors’ breaking point – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 30 December 2018 16:18

A Vigil supporter who works for the needy in Zimbabwe says her job is becoming increasingly difficult. She sent us the following message from a desperate doctor. 

‘I have tried my best not to do this; ranting about my job in the public domain and writing about my personal struggle but I have since discovered that the hymen has already been breached. I have come across quite a number of posts (mostly lengthy in keeping with the severity of the situation) by doctors lampooning the government over it's inadequacies, arrogance and irrefutable disregard for the welfare of its citizens. In short I have reached breaking point, I simply cannot go on.

‘Every single day I dedicate every second fighting against death; both my own (from exhaustion or work-related hazards) and my patients. The government has now repeatedly raped me into submission. The ridiculous court challenge and sanction was the last straw, the final penetration.

‘I have lost countless patients because of lack of resources required to save them. For example, when a road traffic accident occurs all casualties are rushed to the nearest hospital for 'treatment'. I happen to work at a hospital situated along a major highway so such cases are not far from the norm on any given day. When they come in all we are able to do is measure their blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature. That's it! Nothing else!! There are no drugs to manage the pain, no plaster casts to manage the fractures, no functional X-ray machine, no suture material to stitch up the patient, no chest drains to save the lungs, no corsets or neck collars to stabilize spinal cord injuries, nothing nothing nothing. So why then should I even bother going to work? To do what? Just to watch people die and getting blamed by angry relatives?

‘I can go on and on giving details of how gory our working conditions are but I'm sure most people have already stopped reading this. I know for a fact that at this very moment in time a sizeable portion of my colleagues are already suffering from one mental health problem or the other induced by the gross ill-treatment the government has so callously dished out to us. At some point we were bound to reach breaking point. Most of us have. It is better for us to just stop going to work altogether than to attend to patients in this frame of mind. An unstable doctor is far much worse than an absent doctor. Returning to work as things stand is NOT AN OPTION. They can keep their lousy salary and I will keep my sanity and dignity.’

Zimbabweans were, of course, not the only people to have endured a miserable Christmas. But the country which mirrors the plight of Zimbabweans best is oil-rich Venezuela. Only a decade or so ago it was one of the richest countries in South America. Its decline, driven by ideology and corruption, has been spectacular. 

Its current situation will ring a bell with Zimbabweans: inflation exceeds 1,000,000%, public services have collapsed, running water is a luxury. The minimum wage is about $7 a month and apparently this is what doctors and teachers get. One in ten Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015.

The rulers of both countries share the same quasi-Marxist pretensions and the elite in Venezuela would be easily recognized in Zimbabwe. Often driving late model cars with no number plates, they are the untouchables, dining in expensive restaurants and shopping in ‘dollar stores’ – no doubt, like the Mugabe children washing their expensive watches in champagne. 

The London Times reports that last month, during court testimony in Miami, there was a glimpse of how much wealth had been pillaged from the country: ‘Alejandro Andrade, who in 2007-11 served as national treasurer to President Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chávez, admitted receiving $1 billion in bribes for selling access to the government’s controlled exchange rate, whereby dollars can be bought for a fraction of their real value. Andrade, who started his career as Mr Chávez’s bodyguard, had developed a weakness for property, showjumping horses and luxury cars in Florida. “I made some very bad choices when I was treasurer,” he told the court.’

We’ve been there. Done that. What next? The Vigil wishes people at home a better 2019 (and our suffering brothers in Venezuela too).

Other points

  • The doctors’ strike appears to be unsettling General Chiwenga (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEfwSO6fRD4).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Patricia Masamba, Nyarai Masvosva, Fungisai Mupandira and Tryness Ncube. Thanks to Tryness and Nyarai for looking after the front table, to Nyarai and Joyce Mbairatsunga for handing out flyers and to Fungasai for her energetic drumming.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 12 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • MDC Reading Branch meeting. Saturday 5th January from 12 – 2 pm. Venue Royal Festival Hall. Contact Charles Mararirakwenda 07588275745, Josephine Jombe 07455166668, Deborah Harry 07478894896.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
    Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil
    ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/
    ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515
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Hypocrisy and self-delusion – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd December 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 22 December 2018 20:17

Happy Christmas? After a seamless transition from Mugabe’s hypocrisy to Mnangagwa’s self-delusion, most people will have little to celebrate. Food, fuel, fares, medicines and school fees are a perpetual struggle thanks to an unreformed Zanu PF.

The government talks about Zimbabwe becoming a ‘middle income country’ ruled from a spanking new capital at Mount Hamden. (Probably served by bullet trains from Harare.) Hot air! 

Zanu PF scoffs at the South African Constitutional Court declaring illegal the disbanding of the SADC Tribunal. And complains that the South African demand for Grace Mugabe to stand trial for assault is ‘harassment’. That sums up Zanu PF: complaining about assault by the privileged is harassment.

The commission investigating the army shootings after the election dismissed Zanu PF’s claim that the shots were fired by opposition supporters. The lies told by Mnangagwa and the army were exposed by the commission’s report. Nevertheless the government promotes the officer in charge.

As political commentator Alex Magaisa puts it: ‘You set up a commission to investigate violence. The commission categorically says the soldiers you command and deployed shot and killed civilians and injured 35. But not a single word of apology or acknowledgement to the victims, survivors, and relatives.’

So as inflation rises above 30% because of Zanu PF’s financial ineptitude and corruption, it appears there has been no change to Mugabe’s master plan to keep Zanu PF in power and Zimbabweans in slavery.

It may be futile for the diaspora to wish our family and friends in Zimbabwe a happy Christmas, but you can be sure that we will be thinking of you.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Jonathan Kariwo, Philip Maponga, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Nyarai Masvosva, Bianca Mpawaenda and Fungisai Mupandira. Thanks to Bianca and Rosemary for looking after the front table, to Nyarai and Bianca for handing out flyers and to Fungasai for her energetic drumming.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 12 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
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