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Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 22:44

Here is a synopsis of the highlights of the Zimbabwe Vigil for 2009 (mostly taken from the weekly diaries)

Monday 12th January  
From our Press Release: “A leading Zimbabwean political activist in the UK campaigning for human rights in Zimbabwe has been taken into detention and told he is to be deported. Luka Phiri was helping organise a demonstration in London for Tuesday 13th January calling for Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers to be allowed to work in the UK.  Phiri is on the management team of the Zimbabwe Vigil. He is also a leading member of the Zimbabwe Association, a charity looking after Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK. Phiri entered the UK in 2003 on a Malawian passport and it is apparently for this reason that the Home Office wishes to expel him. Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton said “There is no doubt that Luka is a Zimbabwean but the Home Office wants to send him back to Malawi, a firm supporter of Mugabe. Malawi will send him on to Harare where he will face retribution from the Mugabe regime.”   
 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 16th January 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 January 2010 18:36

Vigil supporters were dismayed at President Zuma’s comments on the deadlock in Zimbabwe and agreed to revive our petition to the international football federation to move the soccer World Cup from South Africa. 

The petition had been signed by thousands of passers-by before we suspended it when we believed Zuma was prepared to take action to enforce the South African-negotiated Global Political Agreement. We decided to ‘unpark’ the petition now in light of Zuma’s cynical suggestion that the MDC should simply accept that Mugabe would not implement the agreement he signed 16 months ago. Zuma said the MDC should ‘park’ the issues in contention.  

Vigil supporters wonder how you can ‘park’ issues like law and order (Tomano) and institutionalised corruption (Gono).  Why is the MDC, which won the 2008 elections, always expected to make concessions? Why doesn’t Zuma suggest that Mugabe ‘park’ his greed and monomania and do what he promised? In other words, how can there be free and fair elections if Mugabe flouts the spirit of the GPA, flawed as it is? 

The Vigil believes that, by not addressing the human rights issues in Zimbabwe, Zuma is putting the whole region in danger. He needs to take another shower.  

The tragic violence accompanying the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola should be a warning to FIFA that the World Cup teams and their supporters could be at risk in South Africa, especially with the renewed xenophobic assaults there on Zimbabwean refugees who continue to head south for help. 

Other points
·           A quick survey revealed that none of us has been recalled to Zimbabwe to join the donor-funded constitutional consultation gravy train. It appears that one official has urgently recalled 5 of his children from South Africa to take part in the US$70 per day exercise.
·           Zimbabwe is continuing to keep bad company.  A leading article in the Times on 14th January compared Haiti after the earthquake to Zimbabwe: ‘What was once regarded as the jewel of the French Empire now more closely resembles Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe’. Another depressing comment on the reputation of Zimbabwe came from the head of Somalia's central bank who warned that his country could ‘descend into another Zimbabwe if plans to print money went ahead’.
·           There was an interview with the Vigil on SW Radio about our petition to the British parliamentary committee discussing aid to Zimbabwe, check: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news110110/ukurged110110.htm and newsreel broadcast on Monday, 11th January.
·           After last week’s snow we were amazingly lucky today. It rained steadily  in London till we gathered at 2 pm and was basically dry throughout our whole Vigil.
·           Great to have the front desk stewards back again – Gladys Mapanda, Josephine Zhuga, Sue Toft and June Pedzeni. Also thanks to Godfrey Madzunga who was there at the start to help set up the Vigil and man the back table.  

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

FOR THE RECORD: 167 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·          
'Mugabe and the white African' is showing until 21st January at the ICA (www.ica.org.uk). On Friday 22nd January at 6.30 pm there will be a question and answer session with Lucy Bailey, the director of the film, at the Tricycle Cinema, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR. For tickets call the Box Office: 020 7328 1000.
·           ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 23rd January from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni (Chair Wakefield), 07748828913, Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Beauty Sikosana 07940181761 or David Munemo 07963708923.
·           ROHR Liverpool demonstration. Saturday 23rd January from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool city centre. Future demonstrations on Saturdays 6th and 20th February. Same venue and time.  Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.
·           ROHR Birmingham general meeting.  Saturday 23rd January from 1.30 – 4.00 pm. Venue: Bishop Latimer Church,28 Handsworth New Road, Birmingham B18 4PT. Contact: Tsitsi Mavhura 07723096508,Audrey Marere 07788797365,Morgan Mupandawana 07833526198.
·           ROHR Swansea general meeting. 30th January 1 – 4 pm. Venue: tba. Contact: Kudzai Ruzvidzo 07824967317 or Phillip Mpukutsa 07999615868. Future meeting on Saturday 27th February.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact: Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           ROHR Hayes fundraising party. Saturday 27th February from 3 pm till late. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 3AB. Admission £7.50 including food (lots of traditional food: Mazondo, Maguru mubhoora and all). Fashion show. Zim Music. Raffle: tickets £5. Prizes include: computer, printer, mobile handset, DVD player. To be drawn at 10.30 pm. Nearest station: Bletchley. Bus number 5 from central Milton Keynes or Bletchley. For more info contact Rodah Kuhlengisa 07958205544, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Martha Jiya 07727016098 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·           Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
·           For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 26/12/2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 9th January 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 January 2010 20:32

Snow at the Vigil. It’s our eighth winter protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy but the first time it has snowed. The temperature was below zero centigrade – worsened by a piercing wind from the Arctic / Siberia. We were cheered, on such a desolate day, that so many people made the journey – especially since transport was disrupted and some people were snowed in. To protect us from the elements we used two tarpaulins – one to catch the snow and the other as a windbreak. The bleak conditions were lightened by our singing and drumming.   

During the week the Vigil sent the following letter to the International Development Committee of the British Parliament, which is to review the British government’s aid to Zimbabwe. 

“The Zimbabwe Vigil wishes to express its opposition to any dilution of the pressure on Mugabe and his cronies until they comply fully with the Global Political Agreement signed with the two MDC factions in September 2008.  

We believe, in particular, that to give development aid to the coalition government is premature and will send the wrong signals not only to Mugabe and his Zanu PF party but also to members of the European Union and other countries which have adopted measures against Zimbabwe 

The Vigil wishes to advise the Committee that it is running the following petition dealing with aid to Zimbabwe: ‘A petition to the UK government: We welcome the UK’s humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe but call on the UK government to withhold development aid until it is confident that the money will benefit the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime.’ 

The petition has been signed so far by some 9,000 people from all over the world who have passed by the Vigil in recent months. They are not convinced that there has been real change in Zimbabwe 

The Vigil has been demonstrating outside Zimbabwe House, London, for free and fair elections every Saturdaysince 12th October 2002.  The Observer newspaper (several years ago) described us as the largest regular demonstration in London.    

We would like to take the opportunity to draw your attention to a recent article by the Zimbabwean economist John Robertson, which criticises the economic recovery programme of the ‘inclusive’ government.” 

We are still accepting signatures for this petition and it will present it to the British government at an appropriate time. There are big changes afoot. The EU is to discuss the renewal of its measures against Zimbabwe next month and that might be the time to submit the petition. 9000 signatures may not seem much – but they are those of people who have stopped and engaged us at the Vigil – not just clicked an internet button.  

We were pleased to welcome back David McAllister, who has been cruising the world on a luxury liner as an internet café manager.  He set up our website and has now added a new feature on our home page – a slide show of the most recent Vigil photos. These will change as each Vigil set is added to our Flickr photo website. 

Thanks also to Lungile Ncube and Collin Chitekwe for their athletic lamp post climbing to put a roof over our shivering supporters.  Congratulations to Enock Dzonga on the birth of his daughter.

The documentary film about farm seizures ‘Mugabe and the White African’ was reviewed in the Times on 8th January – text below: 

“Mugabe and the White African (A powerful documentary that pits a white farmer and his son-in-law against President Mugabe in a battle for their farm) – by

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/film_reviews/article6979465.
ece
 

In Mugabe and the White African, Michael Campbell, a gentle, dry, 75-year-old farmer from Zimbabwe, asks: “Is it possible to be white and African?” If you’re President Mugabe, the answer is a brutal “no”.  

This powerful documentary pits Campbell and his son-in-law Ben Freeth against their country’s dictator in a battle for their farm, which is holding out – just – against the land seizure campaign that has already led to thousands of white Zimbabweans being forcibly evicted. Their plan? To take the Government of “a country without a rulebook” to an international tribunal that will force it to stop.  

But it’s a race against time. Groups of men with knives and axes stalk their maize fields at night, while neighbours are filmed breaking their settler stoicism and weeping as their own farm is taken for Mugabe’s flunkies, and their friends and workers — black and white alike — are uprooted. The madness in Zimbabwe is not news, but here a human story crystallises it first by seeming curious, then quickly compelling and then horrifically shocking before the final courtroom drama. The hate, fear and greed on show all hit you in your gut — it’s impossible not to steam at the sight of the braggart government minister’s son waiting by his new 4x4 outside the farm, telling Campbell and Freeth how he will simply take their home. But your lasting emotions are of respect for the two farmers, mixed with a lingering, helpless sadness.” 

This film is up for an Oscar and is going to be shown all over the world. It will not improve Zimbabwe’s image. 

We noted that we were quoted  in an article in the Zimbabwe Independent. We applaud every effort by journalists in Zimbabwe to expose corruption:
http://www.theindependent.co.zw/comment/24811-decade-of-hope-may-be-may-be-not.html.
 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 136 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           'Mugabe and the white African' is showing until 14th January at The Empire, Leicester Square (www.empirecinemas.co.uk), until 21st January at the ICA (www.ica.org.uk) and until 14th January at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh (www.filmhousecinema.com).
·           ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 23rd January from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni (Chair Wakefield), 07748828913, Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Beauty Sikosana 07940181761 or David Munemo 07963708923.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           ROHR Hayes fundraising party. Saturday 27th February from 3 pm till late. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 3AB. Admission £7.50 including food (lots of traditional food: Mazondo, Maguru mubhoora and all). Fashion show. Zim Music. Raffle: tickets £5. Prizes include: computer, printer, mobile handset, DVD player. To be drawn at 10.30 pm. Nearest station: Bletchley. Bus number 5 from central Milton Keynes or Bletchley. For more info contact Rodah Kuhlengisa 07958205544, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Martha Jiya 07727016098 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·           Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
·           For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 26/12/2009:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 2nd January 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 03 January 2010 18:37

Vigil supporters were interested to see that the British press has picked up a story about the suspension of the MDC UK executive: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/mdc-blames-expats-as-money-vanishes-from-overseas-offices-1853930.html. As we reported in our diary of 28th November, the MDC Secretary General, Tendai Biti, announcing the suspension, accused the executive of financial irregularities. Virtually everyone at the Vigil is MDC or former MDC and we know the depths to which the party in the United Kingdom has sunk to get money and we have a general picture of where it went.  

We were interested to see that the Party’s Chairman, Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo (of the 200 portraits), has been nominated to lead a team to investigate the matter. He installed the rogue UK executive and must have an intimate knowledge of where the money went. Or he could ask Tsvangirai’s uncle, Hebson Makuvise, the Ambassador-designate to Germany. He was Tsvangirai’s representative in the UK so his knowledge of where the money went is even more intimate….. 

Reports say that the MDC has 800 members in the UK. The Vigil has 6,500 names on our register. What is clear is that it is the Vigil rather than the MDC which represents the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK. 

It was good to have old friends back after Boxing Day’s ‘bleak midwinter’ Vigil (2 videos shot then by Motherland ENT can be found on the following links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk&feature=related). More than 3 times as many people were present today. They were amused by reports of Welshman Ncube joining the Zanu PF sycophants grovelling on his knees to Mugabe. Welshman’s blaming of the international media for the fuss about the Nestle scandal shows how out of touch he is with the real world.   

During the week the Vigil sent the following email to Nestle’s Head Office in Zurich, Switzerland: ‘The Zimbabwe Vigil applauds Nestle's decision to stop buying milk from Mrs Mugabe's stolen farm in Zimbabwe. We urge you to stand firm in a country where the rule of law is disregarded.’ It now appears that Nestle has agreed to some dodgy deal and, if this proves to be true, we will be joining calls for a world-wide boycott of Nestle products. 

We note that Biti has called another investment conference for next month in a new attempt to persuade the West that all is well in Zimbabwe. He must know that the Nestle incident will have been noted in boardrooms all over the world: no rule of law. He will have to revert to Plan A – the delicate balancing act of begging from Western governments while insulting them at the same time. (see article by Zimbabwean economist John Robertson: http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=26209 on Biti’s failure to acknowledge the realities of the causes behind Zimbabwe’s bankruptcy). 

This article will form part of a submission by the Vigil to the International Development Committee of the British Parliament which is conducting an inquiry into Britain’s aid to Zimbabwe. The Vigil is arguing that targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies must be continued and that no aid money must fall into his claws. Submissions have to be in by 8th January and we will give more details of our submission next week.  

Some other points:
1.       We were interested to see that a photo of the Father Cholera Vigil of 20th December 2008 is being used by Anglican Information as a 2009 Christmas message in which they highlight the excesses of Nolbert Kunonga (former Bishop of Harare). See: http://www.anglican-information.blogspot.com/. One of our supporters, David Kadzutu addressed the Vigil about the appalling treatment of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe by the Mugabe authorities.
2.       Biggest laugh of the day was prompted by Jenatry Muranganwa when he said ‘there is freedom of speech in Zimbabwe’. After a puzzled silence from the Vigil, he added: ‘the trouble is there is no freedom after speech’.
3.       We were joined by a young Iranian couple with a banner protesting at the oppression in their own country. They joined in our dancing. One of them said they were united with other nations suffering from dictatorship. They were very excited about the prospects of revolutionary change in their country – they certainly don’t support the word from Harare of closer links between Mugabe and the Iranian regime.
4.       It was again absolutely freezing but, to be positive, it wasn’t raining or snowing or windy . . . 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 145 signed the register.   

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           ROHR Woking Food Hamper Raffle Draw. Saturday 9th January from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Church House, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Tickets: £5. 3 prizes: 1st prize £50 Zimbabwean food hamper, 2nd prize £25 of Zimbabwean groceries, 3rd prize ROHR T-Shirt worth £10. Prizes to be presented by Rodah Kuhlengisa (ROHR Hayes & National Fundraiser). For info contact Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Thandiwe Mabodoko 07552402416 or P Mapfumo 07932216070 / 07915926323.
·           ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 23rd January from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni (Chair Wakefield), 07748828913, Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Beauty Sikosana 07940181761 or David Munemo 07963708923.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·           Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
·           Motherland ENT’s videos of 26/12/2009 can be seen on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk&feature=related).  

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 26th December 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 December 2009 17:33

A small Vigil. Although we had a break from the snow in London, transport was restricted because of the Christmas holidays and street life was subdued, despite the Christmas sales. Many supporters had contacted us to say because of a lack of trains they were unable to join us.  But being fewer in number gave us an opportunity to get to know each other better.   

Among our first visitors were a Cameroonian lady and her husband who said things were even worse in her country. We agreed this may well be so but said that as Zimbabweans we had to fight for our own country. Also Zimbabwe had shown that it could be a productive, prosperous country – unlike most African states – but had been wantonly destroyed. From being one of the richest countries in Africa it was now one of the poorest. She saw our point. 

The messages put out by Morgan Tsvangirai do not give us much reason to cheer.  What worries us is that no sooner does the MDC leadership demand that the GPA negotiations be wrapped up by 15th January than Tsvangirai joins hands with Mugabe and agrees that the deadline can be postponed.  The negotiators are apparently ‘fatigued’. Their occasional meetings must be exhausting given the jet-lag from their travels abroad and the demands of their farming activities etc. Asked about the closedown of Swiss-owned Nestle because of bullying by Zanu PF, Tsvangirai described it as ‘an overreaction’ – just as he had earlier dismissed farm invasions as ‘isolated incidents’.  

Tsvangirai’s difficulties with reality give us little confidence that the MDC – which so many of us have supported since the beginning – is any longer the party people at the Vigil campaigned for.  Especially when Speaker Moyo throws a tantrum because he doesn’t like the official photograph he commissioned and wants a new one taken to display around the country.  To cheer him up we have a set of his portraits on our Flickr photo website (see link below) – only 20 not the 200 pictures he wants Parliament to pay for. We in the UK think that Moyo should pay for them himself. From our dealings with him we are well aware that he has been assiduous in securing his own financial position . . . . 

Well we at the Vigil find it difficult to believe that the MDC is not being progressively swallowed by the Mugabe corruption and that perhaps Zimbabwe’s fate is that of benighted Cameroon.  Flickering in the Embassy windows night and day, taunting us, is a television display of life at home: the Victoria Falls, the game parks, smiling photos of Tsvangirai shaking hands with his friends Mugabe and Mutambara. We could say that it doesn’t do Mugabe’s climate-change credentials any good having this television on 24 /7. But the main point is does Tsvangirai want to be the public voice of the fascist Zanu-PF regime? 

We stood in the cold, flanked by our banners: ‘No to Mugabe, no to starvation’ and ‘End murder, rape and torture in Zimbabwe’ as we have done ever since we started more than 7 years ago. We see no reason to change these banners.  We could only agree with the latest commentary by the Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist Tanonoka Joseph Whande: ‘Nothing on the ground indicates that there is any change, in real terms, because the horrors and nightmares that existed before still exist only that this time they are legitimized by the MDC’s presence in this so-called government of national unity’. (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/heart241209.htm) 

Thanks to Lungile Ncube and Godfrey Madzunga who arrived early and helped set up the Vigil and took charge of the merchandise and register.  Lungile also made his own poster. We were interested to be joined by Dora Mbuwayesango, a Zimbabwean living in North Carolina who is visiting the UK. The Pedzeni family from Bedford were all with us again and special thanks to June Pedzeni who helped look after the front table. June tells us that they arrived at their local station to find there were no trains so all piled into their car and drove to the Vigil.  They were relieved to find parking was free because it was a public holiday (you may be interested to know that parking local to the Vigil is £4.40 an hour!)  The music was particularly good thanks to the drumming and singing of Primrose Ratohwa. She and the rest of us were filmed by Mathias Makozhombwe and Nasiso Kashiri of Motherland ENT, a Zimbabwean music production outfit based in Coventry.   

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

FOR THE RECORD:   45 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           ROHR Woking Food Hamper Raffle Draw. Saturday 9th January from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Church House, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Tickets: £5. 3 prizes: 1st prize £50 Zimbabwean food hamper, 2nd prize £25 of Zimbabwean groceries, 3rd prize ROHR T-Shirt worth £10. Prizes to be presented by Rodah Kuhlengisa (ROHR Hayes & National Fundraiser). For info contact Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Thandiwe Mabodoko 07552402416 or P Mapfumo 07932216070 / 07915926323.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·           Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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