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Malawi cuts off its own nose – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st May 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 May 2011 13:31

The Vigil is sorry that our brothers and sisters in Malawi will suffer for President Mutharika’s hubris. Britain this week froze aid to Malawi because of its expulsion of the British High Commissioner for (privately) describing Mutharika as ‘intolerant of criticism’. The Malawian government relies on foreign aid for 40% of its income, with Britain the largest donor. Finance Minister Ken Kandodo said there would have to be austerity measures but Malawi was ready to make tough decisions. We doubt that Mugabe’s friend Mutharika will make the tough decision to cut down the size of his Presidential palaces. What a dreadful prospect that would be (see: Malawi to cut spending after UK aid freeze – http://reuters-ukaidfreeze.notlong.com).   

However the British government is only doing what we asked them to do. The Vigil has reluctantly joined a British domestic debate about foreign aid so that we can increase pressure on SADC to act honestly over Zimbabwe. 

We understand President Zuma’s reasons for postponing discussions on elections in Zimbabwe and hope it will give SADC leaders time to weigh objectively the counter claims: Mugabe’s promise of more of the same or the MDC’s promise of democracy and respect for the law.  

To help focus the minds of SADC leaders the Vigil has been pushing the British government to suspend aid to countries supporting Mugabe. This is a substantial amount. Britain is one of the very few countries – if not the only one – to honour the Gleneagles Agreement of 2005 under which the world’s richest countries committed themselves to giving 0.7% of their national income in foreign aid.  

In Britain’s case this will amount this year to £8.1 billion (rising to £11.5 billion in 2014 /15). All this is at a time of stringent budget cuts at home – pressure on hospitals and schools, job losses in public services etc etc. For instance, the Foreign Office budget is due to fall from £2.3 billion to £1.3 billion. 

Of course, private aid is not included. In this field, the British people are second only to the Americans in their generosity.  Here is a letter the Vigil has sent to the Defence Secretary, Dr Fox who wants a more nuanced approach to how British government aid is allocated.  

The Zimbabwe Vigil notes with interest your recent comments and fully supports demands for a more flexible approach to the UK’s overseas aid.  

We applaud the generous aspiration behind the government’s pledge to increase aid to 0.7% of GNP but we agree that the UK needs to be more discriminating on how this money is distributed. 

We understand, of course, that you have different priorities. Of particular interest to us is budgetary aid given to member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), amounting to many hundreds of millions of pounds a year. SADC has betrayed the people of Zimbabwe by pandering to the odious Mugabe regime for the past decade.  

Although there are signs that President Zuma of South Africa is now of a mind to take a more robust approach to Mugabe, there are many SADC leaders who are still in the anti-British and pro-Mugabe camp. Take, for instance, the notoriously corrupt regime in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will feature among the top 10 recipients of UK spending in direct aid for 2012 / 2013 at £165 million. Or take Malawi, which although this year is receiving £90 million of British budgetary aid, has recently expelled the British High Commissioner for criticising President Mutharika for being intolerant of criticism. Mutharika has made no secret of his admiration for Mugabe, naming a new highway after his idol, who in turn has given the Malawian leader a stolen farm. 

The Zimbabwe Vigil believes that British budgetary support for SADC countries should be withheld if they act against British interests which, we have been assured, include free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. 

It is for this purpose that we have been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London for the last nine years. 

PS We enclose a sample page of a petition for which we are currently gathering signatures. It reads:A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.’ 

cc         Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development,             
            Rt Hon William Hague MP, Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs 
 

Other points
·         Vigil supporters were interested to see a photograph of Mugabe falling asleep in his chair and we acted out the scene for the passing public pointing out the absurdity of such an old man standing for re-election (
Speculation mounts as Mugabe collapses – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may19_2011.html#Z7).
·         Vigil supporters were disturbed that a former CIO torturer Phillip Machemedze has been given asylum in the UK. Machemedze, who admitted carrying out acts of torture ‘too gruesome to recount’, is now living with his wife on British Social Security benefits. Mr Justice David Archer said there was no doubt that Mr Machemedze was "deeply involved in savage acts of extreme violence. Some were killed slowly and their bodies disposed of. He witnessed people with their limbs cut off." But the judge said that under the European Human Rights Convention, Machemedze should be protected from torture and threats to his life if he returned to Zimbabwe.  The Vigil believes that Britain is already infested by enough Zanu PF supporters without inviting the whole CIO to come over here to take advantage of free housing, medical attention, education and living expenses (see: http://uktelegraph-ciograntedasylum.notlong.com).   
·         Joke of the week: the Daily News says that nearly 700 officials involved in the Constitutional Outrage programme – many of them illiterate (including some MPs) have cost more than US $4 million in the last two weeks doing nothing except run up hotel bills (see:
http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may21_2011.html#Z11 – Copac officials blow up US$4m).
·         Zimbabwe Vigil dancers performed at a Community Event for Adult Learners’ Week at City and Islington College in North London.  Thanks to Dumi Tutani, Farai Marema, Wendy Ziyambi, Edna Mdoka and Moses Kandiyawo for a lively and much appreciated performance that helped to spread the awareness of Zimbabwe’s human rights abuses.
·         Our condolences to Vigil team member Patson Muzuwa whose mother died in Zimbabwe this week.  A collection was made for Patson and Vigil supporters signed a sympathy card for him.
·         Thanks to Mercy Muranganwa (who has been coming at our 2 pm start and staying till the end) for her help over the past few weeks with the register and setting up the Vigil. Thanks also to ROHR members (Paradzai Mapfumo, Lorraine Zakeyo, Emmaculate Mabaya, Christopher Bvumai Chimbumu, Shoriwa Mutandiro) who once again supplied soft drinks for thirsty Vigil supporters. 

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 latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.    

FOR THE RECORD: 96 signed the register.  

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         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.
·         ZBN News. The Vigil management team wish 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE.
·         ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi  07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·         ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: St Saviours in the Meadows Church, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. The church is just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. ROHR National Executive members will be attending to discuss the abuse of human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe. Contact: Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 12.30 – 4 pm. Venue St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, B70 0HF, West Bromwich. ROHR President, National Executive members and a well-known lawyer present. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069.
·         ROHR National Fundraising Event. Saturday 25th June from 12 noon till late. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Come and enjoy African dishes and music while donating to a good cause.  Admission fee £8 includes a plate of food and a soft drink. Raffle tickets on sale @ £1. Contact: Peter Nkomo 07817096594, V J Mujeyi 07403446696, Tsvakai Marambi 07915065171, Solomon L Matshoba 07733741065, P Chibanguza 07908406069, R Chifungo 07795070609 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070 
·         Vigil Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·         Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·         ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
·         Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.

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“Go to Hell Dictators” – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th May 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 May 2011 14:37

The demand for change is steadily moving down Africa judging from the reception given to Mugabe and other African leaders attending the installation for another term of Ugandan perpetual President Museveni. Their motorcade was assailed by stone-throwing protesters shouting ‘Go to hell dictators’ and ‘You dictators: we are tired of you’. (http://www.swradioafrica.com/news130511/convoystoned130511.htm). But pictures of Mugabe’s fawning obeisance to Museveni show his desperation to be at the party – any party! – at whatever cost. 

For Vigil supporters it was further evidence that Mugabe and Zanu-PF hardliners have still not understood that the days of dictators have gone. Their problem is that President Zuma does not agree with them. The chasm between Zanu-PF and Zuma was clearly illustrated this week:
1.     The Zanu-PF Politburo repeated on Wednesday that elections would be held this year without fail.
2.     But Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu said: ‘categorically and totally, Zimbabwe will not have elections in 2011’. (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may14_2011.html#Z21 - Editor's Comment: Elections - SADC, AU must assert authority) 

For Mugabe’s sake, the constitution-making process must be concluded early and will have to include the proposal from Chegutu that government critics should be killed. That should solve the problem – especially if the suggestion from Makonde is also included in the new constitution ‘media critical of the government should be banned’ (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may14_2011.html#Z11 – Constitution responses on media raise eyebrows). So much for the Constitutional Outrage Programme . . . 

Other points
·         With Mugabe now committing suicide by defying SADC, the Vigil launched a clearance sale of our ‘Mugabe Must Go’ bangles. Our notice advises customers to ‘Buy now before it’s too late’.
·         The Vigil was glad to escape the threatened rain because we were not sure how we could put up our tarpaulin.  Westminster Council has removed the two handsome lamp posts between which we stretched a rope to hang the tarpaulin.  As it is, it taxed our ingenuity to put up our banners and posters without these supports.
·         The traditional English dancers the Morris Men made their annual visit to us and gave us a good show. Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu drew a laugh from them when he said ‘it was good to see Englishmen dancing like Zimbabweans’.
·         We were also glad to be joined by one of the founders of the Vigil Jean-Francois Mercier who is now based in South Africa.
·         It was welcome to get an encouraging email from Mac McArthur in Canada.  He has had an exhibition in Harare of his photographic interpretation of Shona sculptures – see: http://www.shout-africa.com/events-parties/zimbabwe-shona-sculpture-scan-photography-exhobition-opens-in-harare/.
·         Thanks to ROHR members: Maureen Mapfumo, Charity Nyamuzuwe, Iline Manhunzi, Catherine Tewo and Paradzai Mapfumo who brought soft drinks for thirsty Vigil supporters.
·         Joke of the week from Bill Watch of 12th May: ‘Tuesday’s sitting was the Senate’s first for six weeks – it has not met since 31st March.  The sitting lasted two hours before the Senate adjourned for another eight weeks’. Crisis – what crisis?
·         Photos of the protest on 30th April against the Swazi King’s visit to London are now on our photo website (check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/sets/72157626599868179/).  

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 latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.    

FOR THE RECORD: 100 signed the register.  

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           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.
·           ZBN News. The Vigil management team wish 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE.
·           ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi  07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·           ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: St Saviours in the Meadows Church, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. The church is just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. ROHR National Executive members will be attending to discuss the abuse of human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe. Contact: Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 12.30 – 4 pm. Venue St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, B70 0HF, West Bromwich. ROHR President, National Executive members and a well-known lawyer present. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069.
·           ROHR National Fundraising Event. Saturday 25th June from 12 noon till late. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Come and enjoy African dishes and music while donating to a good cause.  Admission fee £8 includes a plate of food and a soft drink. Raffle tickets on sale @ £1. Contact: Peter Nkomo 07817096594, V J Mujeyi 07403446696, Tsvakai Marambi 07915065171, Solomon L Matshoba 07733741065, P Chibanguza 07908406069, R Chifungo 07795070609 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070 
·           Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·           Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
·           Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.

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Zuma Save Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th May 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 May 2011 15:28

‘Zuma Save Zimbabwe’ read our banners displayed at the Vigil. President Zuma would recognize them because we made them for his State Visit to London in March last year when the Vigil greeted him outside the South African High Commission.  

We got a friendly wave from him then and we would like to give him one back: it depends on whether he follows up on the challenging line he took with Mugabe at the SADC Troika Summit on Zimbabwe last month. 

Since then the six GPA negotiators have been working on the roadmap for elections to be presented to the SADC Summit in Windhoek on 20th May.  Vigil supporter Clifford Mashiri, a former diplomat, is scathing about their work.He told SW Radio Africa that the draft roadmap was a big joke. Nothing about it was satisfactory. “SADC will need to fulfill its promises and ensure that if there is a roadmap, it is one that ensures the safety of the people and the credibility of a vote. Otherwise this is just a roadmap to disaster.”  

We suspect Zuma sees it in the same light as he is apparently to visit Harare in the coming week to bang heads together again. Just what is at stake has been spelt out by the MDC’s re-elected Treasurer-General Roy Bennett, one of the people who inspired the launch of the Vigil nine years ago. Speaking to South African businessmen in London, Roy warned that the entire region would face disaster if the Zimbabwe crisis was not resolved (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may6_2011.html#Z18).  

Some of Mugabe’s friends in SADC may not take this warning seriously but President Zuma will certainly take heed – especially in light of the findings of a British parliamentary group which recently visited Zimbabwe. They reported that the securocrats remained the main obstacle to reform in Zimbabwe(http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may7a_2011.html#Z3).           

Other points
·         One of our supporters Ian Pocock borrowed our Mugabe mask for a protest against the UK selling weapons to unsavoury regimes (http://london.indymedia.org.uk/articles/8960#comment-2201 for pictures).
·         Beverley Mutandiro, who usually leads prayers, was unable to come this week because she was working night shifts as a nurse. But we all heeded her message to us – ‘everybody sing – it will relieve stress and make you forget your problems’.
·         The authentic Vigil atmosphere is captured by a great video of the song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ on youtube. There are lots of shots of the Vigil and Vigil people – check it out you may be on it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE). Thanks to Dumi, Farai and Patrick for a brilliant production. 

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 latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.    

FOR THE RECORD: 99 signed the register.  

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           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.
·           ZBN News. The Vigil management team wish 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE.
·           ROHR Manchester meeting. Saturday 14th May: (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·           ROHR North East (Newcastle) general meeting. Saturday 14th May from 12 – 3.30 pm). Venue: Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead NE8 9SJ. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange. Contact: Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Sharon Masocha 07751610298, Collin Matongo 07775987006, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator) 07795070609.
·           ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi  07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·           ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: St Saviours in the Meadows Church, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. The church is just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. ROHR National Executive members will be attending to discuss the abuse of human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe. Contact: Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 12.30 – 4 pm. Venue St Peters Church Hall, White Hall Road, B70 0HF, West Bromwich. ROHR President, National executive members and a well-known lawyer present. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069.
·           Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·           Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
·           Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.

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British Africa policy needs rethink – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th April 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 May 2011 14:54

Vigil supporters ended another busy week picketing the (hopefully) farewell reception given by Swazi King Mswati who was squandering more of his country’s meagre resources on a lavish visit to London for the Royal Wedding.  

No sooner had we ended our regular Saturday Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy than we were off to join our fellow human rights campaigners of the Swaziland Vigil outside the Four Seasons Hotel in Mayfair. Guests appeared uncomfortable when they saw the protest. The Swaziland High Commissioner Dumsile T Sukati jumped out of her car and hurried into the building. 

Despite the failure of our appeals to the British government to withdraw the invitations to the Wedding extended to Mswati and the Zimbabwe Ambassador Gabriel Machinga, we were compensated by the widespread publicity for our joint human rights cause, which has been given new impetus by the unrest in North Africa.  

Many observers expressed outrage that the two were present in Westminster Abbey on Friday. The Times newspaper spoke of the ‘pew of evil’ (unfortunately a pew ignored in the non-stop BBC television coverage). 

Explaining the decision not to withdraw the Zimbabwean Ambassador’s invitation, the Foreign Office said in a letter to the Vigil ‘Thank you for your letter of 20th April 2011 about the invite of the Zimbabwe Ambassador Gabriel Machinga to the Royal Wedding. Representatives from all countries that the UK has working relationships with have been invited to the Royal Wedding. The UK has contact with all parties subject to the Global Political Agreement, and this includes contact with the Zimbabwean Embassy in the UK.’ 

The Vigil, of course, is not persuaded by this blather but we do have some sympathy with the Foreign Office over its unravelling Africa policy, fraying not only on the edges but also in the middle. The plaintive remark by the expelled British High Commissioner to Malawi (‘I was only doing my best . . .’) was a sadly inadequate comment on the delusional behaviour of Mugabe’s disciple President Mutharika, incensed by being criticized for being intolerant of criticism . . . 

The Vigil noted how swiftly the wedding invitation to Malawi was withdrawn and we wait with interest for the threatened ‘wider consequences’ the Foreign Office will visit on the sorry Malawian victims of Mutharika’s psychopathic petulance. 

The Nyasa Times reports that the Malawi government was already looking to ‘secretly borrow’ from AIDS funds to finance its deficit in the development budget (see: http://www.nyasatimes.com/national/malawi-wants-money-for-arvs-to-finance-budget.html) and there has certainly been strong domestic criticism of what has been described as the President’s slavish devotion to Mugabe’s anti-West agenda threatening to take Malawi back to ‘the dark ages of a one party system’ (see: http://www.nyasatimes.com/politics/malawi-ruler%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%98obsession-with-mugabe%e2%80%99-condemned.html).

The Vigil understands the British government’s dilemma on how to continue support for our Malawian brothers without propping up this Mugabe clone but we are mindful of suggestions in the British parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe on 28th April (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/apr30_2011.html#Z18) and the voices cautioning against dishing out aid money through paunchy, self-serving NGOs (not to mention feeding  succulent AIDS funds).

As we gathered outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in the warmth of the Royal Wedding in support of our suffering families in Zimbabwe, we were sorry to hear that the Vatican had thrown open its doors to arch-hypocrite Mugabe on one of his monthly $3 million trips abroad. One of our generous supporters expressed his sadness at this. The Vigil respectfully sends its greetings to our dear Catholic friend, the former Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube, whose visit to the Vigil some years back remains an ever-present inspiration.  

Other points
·         Long-term supporter Agnes Zengeya brought her small son to the Vigil for the first time.
·         It was good to have Margret Tandi with us.  She was a loyal supporter until she suffered a stroke late last year and we are glad she is now well enough to come to the Vigil again.  Once again thanks to Edna Mdoka for her help on the front table. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.    

FOR THE RECORD: 87 signed the register.  

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           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.
·           ZBN News. The Vigil management team wish 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 website: www.imusicafrica.com.
·           ROHR Harlow general meeting. Saturday 7th May from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Sherards Hatch Nursery, Ployters Road, Harlow CM18 7PS. MP Mr Robert Halfon, ROHR President, UK National executive and a well-known immigration lawyer will be present. Contact Bothwell Nyemba 07725208657, Grace Kachingwe 07405637283, Aleck Kayima 07961907097, Lloyd Kashangura 07506481334 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 7th May from 2 – 6pm. Venue: Woking Homes, Oriental Road, Woking, GU22 7BE. Contact, Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Saziso Zulu 07861028280 or P.Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           ROHR Manchester meeting. Saturday 14th May: (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·           ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: St Saviours in the Meadows Church, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. The church is just a few minutes walk from the train station. ROHR National Executive members will be attending to discuss the abuse of human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe. Contact: Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 12.30 – 4 pm. Venue St Peters Church Hall, White Hall Road, B70 0HF, West Bromwich. ROHR President, National executive members and a well-known lawyer present. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069.
·           Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·           Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
·           Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.

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No safe haven for Swazi King - 27th April 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 18:55

ZimVigil supporters had to search Mayfair on Tuesday when Swazi despot Mswati and his entourage of 50 failed to turn up at London’s deluxe Dorchester Hotel to stay for the Royal Wedding.  

About 80 demonstrators had gathered outside the hotel to support the Swaziland Vigil which had arranged a picket of protest against Mswati’s oppressive rule – only to find that the Swazi freeloaders had gone to the nearby Four Seasons Hotel. 

Mswati had obviously got the message as members of his entourage at the Four Seasons were overheard talking about our demonstration which had attracted much media attention with protesters carrying posters such as ‘Swazi King parties while country starves’ and ‘Royal Wedding guests are human rights abusers’.  

The demonstration obviously embarrassed the Dorchester who made desperate efforts to contact the police to have us moved on to the Four Seasons. 

The Swaziland Vigil now plans to demonstrate outside the Four Seasons at 6.30 pm on Saturday when Mswati is holding a reception.   

Swaziland Vigil co-ordinator Thobile Gwebu said ‘Mswati must understand that things have changed. He is now an endangered species – only safe in his Zoo’. 

For pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.

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