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EU petitioned to suspend aid to Malawi over bankrolling Mugabe PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 20:53
From the Nyasa Times, November 17, 2009

Malawi has been highlighted in a petition to the EU calling for punitive action against SADC countries over Zimbabwe affairs. 

The Zimbabwe Vigil presented the petition to the EU’s Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Karel De Gucht in Brussels this week. 

The petition 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 14 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”. 

The petition was handed over by Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP for the East of England, who received it at a ceremony last month to mark the Vigil’s seventh anniversary. 

“Our argument is that SADC countries have been derelict in their duty to Zimbabwe.  Why should countries which support Mugabe’s tyranny receive money from EU taxpayers? 

“Why, for instance, should Malawi get £70 million in balance of payments support this year from the UK alone when its people face starvation because of a reckless loan to Mugabe, which predictably has not been repaid?” reads the petition. 

SADC has ordered urgent talks in Zimbabwe to resolve differences over the Global Political Agreement. But Mugabe has shown what he thinks of this by flying off to Rome with a retinue of 60 locusts to tell the UN World Food Summit how badly Zimbabwe has been treated. 

The loan Malawi government gave Zimbabwe is also blamed to have been one of the major causes of shortages in Malawi, the country which is currently experiencing fuel shortage, power blackout on daily basis and water scarcity. 

http://www.nyasatimes.com/national/eu-petitioned-to-suspend-aid-to-malawi-over-bankrolling-mugabe.html

 
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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 14th November 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 November 2009 17:33

The Vigil’s petition to the EU calling for punitive action against SADC countries was presented in Brussels this week to the EU's Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Karel De Gucht (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/4106409524/ for picture).  It was handed over by Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP for the East of England, who received it at a ceremony last month to mark the Vigil’s seventh anniversary.   

The petition 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 14 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”.   

Our argument is that SADC countries have been derelict in their duty to Zimbabwe.  Why should countries which support Mugabe’s tyranny receive money from EU taxpayers? Why, for instance, should Malawi get £70 million in balance of payments support this year from the UK alone when its people face starvation because of a reckless loan to Mugabe, which predictably has not been repaid? 

SADC has ordered urgent talks in Zimbabwe to resolve differences over the Global Political Agreement. But Mugabe has shown what he thinks of this by flying off to Rome with a retinue of 60 locusts to tell the UN World Food Summit how badly Zimbabwe has been treated. Will he mention that, according to the Zimbabwe Standard, the Commercial Farmers’ Union predicts the worst harvest in Zimbabwe for ten years, with less than 500 tonnes of maize against national requirements of 1.8 million tonnes? 

There was much discussion at the Vigil of prospects for the talks and there was little optimism that they would get anywhere. There was also little gratitude to Congo and Angola for sending their professional torturers to help out the army in Harare interrogating soldiers accused of stealing weapons.  

So what’s the way forward? SADC is deluded if it thinks the West will give in to wild blackmail over sanctions and if SADC wants to avoid a meltdown in Zimbabwe it must order new internationally monitored free and fair elections, as urged by President Khama of Botswana. If Mugabe refuses to play ball the region must let him go play ball by himself – until the world is forced to call the game off. 

There was a good turnout for the Vigil despite a wet and blustery day – the most challenging conditions we have had for some time, with the wind threatening to whip away our tarpaulin at any moment. 

Some points
·           We were pleased to welcome Thobile Gwebu from Swaziland.  She is planning a Swazi Vigil in London and she came to see how we did it. She was with us for the whole afternoon and joined in enthusiastically.
·           Another visitor was Frank Johnson, our American friend who has given us trillions of Zimbabwe dollars to use for promotional purposes. Perhaps he knows that Mugabe is talking of printing Zimbabwean dollars again before the end of the year.
·           Vigil supporters attended a media event in London this week for Betty Makoni, founder of Girl Child Network, who has been nominated as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009. Our friends Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News covered the event. Go to http://www.zbnnews.com/home/index=80 to see videos of Betty and Tare, the Zimbabwean girl who was brought to the UK to have an operation for a severe facial tumor.   
·           Thanks to Caroline Rusike for her help in clearing up at the end of the Vigil. Bystanders were impressed when she carried the tables on her head to the car.
·           Happy birthday to Vigil stalwarts Gladys Mapanda and Josephine Zhuga who both celebrated birthdays this week.
·           2 Vigil founder members came today after long absences: Jean-Francois Mercier, who now lives in South Africa, and Patience Chakanyuka. It was good to see them again. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  167 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           ROHR Derby general meeting. Saturday 21st November from 1 – 6 pm. Venue: The Community Block, Pear Tree Community Junior School, Pear Tree Street, Derby DE23 8PN. Substantive committee to be elected on the day. All ROHR interim national committee present. Free parking. Contact Tsitsi Razawe 7853508681, Chipo Nhandara 07767335586, Wonder Katurura 07858699224 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Chelmsford general meeting. Saturday 28th November. Venue: 3 Stars Trent Road, Chelmsford CM1 2LQ. Present Amnesty International, Chelmsford Mayor, Chelmsford MP and ROHR Executive. Contact: R Mafigo 07944815190, Billy Machekano 07765459538, Martha A Magwaza 07748644911, Tendai Gwanzura 07772192679, Fungai Muzambi 07961635917 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Christmas party. Saturday 5th December 2009, time tba. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK2 3AB. Stations: Bletchley (nearest) or Central Milton Keynes. Use Bus 5 from both stations. Parking: additional parking is available in the Veterinary Practice next door and on the gravelled area to the front of the Practice building. Futher parking is available in the Plough Public House approx 100metres from the hall. Please don’t obstruct the public footpath or highway or hamper access to the neighbouring properties. Contact: Martha Jiya 07727016098, Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Jemias V Mujeyi 07534034594, Rodah Kulhengisa 07983057533 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 .
·           Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/.   

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 7th November 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 November 2009 16:36

One of our supporters summed it up. He said ‘There is a name for someone who repeatedly falls into the same trap – Tsvangirai’.  

A year ago Zanu-PF was on the ropes.  Mugabe’s credibility was gone and Gono’s reserves were down to US$5 million. Tsvangirai came to the rescue on the basis of promises which have still not been fulfilled. 

Last month (see diary of 17th October) the Vigil welcomed Tsvangirai’s disengagement from Zanu-PF. We launched a new petition: “Petition to the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. We urge you to refuse to co-operate with President Mugabe until he respects the rule of law and complies fully with the agreement under which the Zimbabwean coalition government was formed in February.” 

People were puzzled why we phrased the petition this way when the MDC had already pulled back.  We explained in the same diary entry why we had done this: ‘We know Tsvangirai has already adopted this attitude but unfortunately he has a record of flip-flopping and we have worded the petition this way in case he changes his mind next week’. 

So the latest flip following the SADC Troika summit in Maputo came as no surprise.  Yes, talks are to take place and no doubt a few crumbs will be thrown to the MDC. But Vigil supporters see little prospect of real change – an end to hate speech and violence and a return to the rule of law…. . . .  

Does Tsvangirai really believe there has been a change of heart by His Excellency, President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces, Terror of Mankind (as Orwell put it in Animal Farm) Robert Mugabe? We await the next flop – unless President Zuma really has decided to do something. 

Vigil supporters were saddened to hear of the death of MDC-T MP for Makoni Central John Nyamande in a car crash in Zimbabwe.  John was known to many of us because he attended the Vigil over many years when he lived in the UK.  Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil management team who knew John from home described him as a ‘true revolutionary who was committed to the liberation of the people of Zimbabwe’. Justified or not, many at the Vigil felt this was another suspicious accident. Our condolences go out to his family. 

On a happier note, we were pleased that Vimbai Mushongera, Parliamentary and Advocacy Officer of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, visited the Vigil today. She is in the UK as the guest of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Vimbai was delighted to be at the Vigil and said by our protest we were as good activists as those in Zimbabwe. She said we were doing a good job and asked us to keep up our protest. She strongly advised us not to go back to Zimbabwe – it was not safe.  Earlier in the week Fungayi met another guest of ACTSA – Vincent Dlamini of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions.  He was interested in our Vigil and is consulting with Fungayi about how to set up a similar protest on behalf of the oppressed in Swaziland. 

We have been encouraging people to vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network (GCN), one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 (see ‘events and notices’ below).  A media event has been organised for her on Thursday 12th November from 12 – 12.30 pm at the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Development House, 56-64 Leonard St, London EC2A 4LT. The organizers would like a good turnout of Zimbabweans.  You may remember that Betty came to the Vigil on 26th September to welcome Luka Phiri and Dumi Tutani of the Vigil management team when they arrived at the Vigil at the end of their sponsored walk from Brighton (55 miles = 2 marathons). The walk was in aid of GCN’s fundraising efforts on behalf of Tari, the Zimbabwean girl, who has now had successful surgery in London to remove a severe facial tumour.   

Many supporters commented on the big gap because of the absence of our Press Officer Dennis Benton, who hasn’t missed a Vigil in more than two years.  Dennis is the proud owner of a new hip – operated on Tuesday and home by Friday.  Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery.  Dennis was very impressed with the excellent care he has received as an NHS patient. Many other of our supporters wish to record their grateful thanks for their own treatment by the NHS.  

We were glad to welcome back to the Vigil Maxwell Muganiri who was a regular supporter before he was imprisoned for illegal working. He came back to the Vigil as soon as he was free.  Thanks to Thabani Nare who was a great help in packing up the Vigil.  

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Apologies for the poor quality this week. Somehow the camera settings were changed which meant many of the photos were blurred. 

FOR THE RECORD: 169 signed the register.  

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       Media Event for Betty Makoni. Thursday 12th November from 12 - 12.30pm. Venue: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Development House, 56-64 Leonard St, LONDON EC2A 4LT. Betty is one of only ten people worldwide who has been selected as a CNN HERO for her work helping young victims of sexual abuse in Zimbabwe.
·       ROHR Liverpool Branch Vigil. Saturday 14th November from 2 – 4 pm.  Venue: Liverpool City Centre outside Primark. 
·       ROHR Derby general meeting. Saturday 21st November from 1 – 6 pm. Venue: The Community Block, Pear Tree Community Junior School, Pear Tree Street, Derby DE23 8PN. Substantive committee to be elected on the day. All ROHR interim national committee present. Free parking. Contact Tsitsi Razawe 7853508681, Chipo Nhandara 07767335586, Wonder Katurura 07858699224 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·       ROHR Christmas party. Saturday 5th December 2009, time tba. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK2 3AB. Stations: Bletchley (nearest) or Central Milton Keynes. Use Bus 5 from both stations. Parking: additional parking is available in the Veterinary Practice next door and on the gravelled area to the front of the Practice building. Futher parking is available in the Plough Public House approx 100metres from the hall. We are at no time to obstruct the public footpath or highway or hamper access to the neighbouring properties. Contact: Martha Jiya 07727016098, Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Jemias V Mujeyi 07534034594, Rodah Kulhengisa 07983057533 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 .
·       Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/. 
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Notice from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 5th November 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 05 November 2009 22:47
We are pleased to announce that Vimbai Mushongera, Parliamentary and Advocacy Officer of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, will be visiting the Vigil this Saturday (7th November). Vimbai was invited to the UK by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, to speak at their annual conference on Saturday 31st October.  Please come and hear Vimbai’s first-hand account of events in Zimbabwe
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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 31st October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 November 2009 16:59

 Vigil supporters were shocked at the news that the British government has apparently changed its policy on Zimbabwean asylum seekers. It now appears that the UK hopes to send home failed asylum seekers on the grounds that conditions in Zimbabwe have improved.   

We know that this is the message that Morgan Tsvangirai has been giving until recently. But the Home Office seems not to have taken into account the MDC’s recent recantation of this and the widely reported accounts of stepped-up human rights abuses – or, for that matter, the humiliating expulsion of the UN representative.   

Supporters wanted to know what the Vigil can do and the management team assured them that the Vigil would, as always, do everything it can to prevent supporters being sent home as they would be in danger because of their open opposition to the Mugabe regime.  As we point out in our letters supporting Vigil asylum seekers: 

“Our supporters are easy to identify because we are an on-the-street protest constantly photographed by the passing public including unidentified people who do not join the protest and who our supporters confirm as Zimbabwean. These photos appear on many photo and video websites which can be accessed by the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation.  This was recently demonstrated when one of our reports accompanied by a photo of one of our supporters appeared in a newspaper that is circulated in Zimbabwe. Within days his family home in Zimbabwe was raided by the police who spoke angrily about Zimbabweans in the UK – check http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/ZimVigil-Diary-Entries/zimbabwe-vigil-diary-22nd-august-2009.html for more information. The Vigil website also keeps a photo archive of our protest as part of our campaign against the injustices in Zimbabwe.” 

The Vigil believes that the Home Office’s attitude is untenable, especially as there is no evidence that SADC or the AU have the appetite to deal with Mugabe. They both say Zimbabweans must resolve the situation between themselves – in other words leave Mugabe to do what he wants. (See AU Chairperson Dr Jean Ping’s comments on http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/oct29_2009.html#Z15 

The situation is bound to deteriorate until South Africa is forced into action.  What the Vigil wants from South Africa is simple: follow Botswana’s example and announce that South Africa will refuse to recognise Mugabe as the legitimate President if the coalition government breaks up and, in this event, demand immediate free and fair elections. 

We were joined at the Vigil by Patson Muzuwa of our partner organisation the Zimbabwe Association, which deals with asylum issues. He said people worried by the Home Office announcement should contact the Zimbabwe Association  

As usual we had a very lively Vigil, with the added challenge of coping with incursions by the Water Board. As one supporter said, we ended up looking like Santa Claus’s Grotto: because of various barriers protecting the water works supporters had to fit into a small corner and passers-by had to squeeze past us in the narrow passage that was left.  

We were also joined by the UK Organising Secretary of our partners Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), Paradzai Mapfumo. He was critical of the BBC coverage of the situation in Zimbabwe. Paradzai said he was puzzled by the positive spin given by the BBC and said they didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on in the rural areas.  But the BBC has shown a video of a demonstration by ROHR in Harare this week demanding action by SADC against Mugabe. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8334881.stm. A report on the demonstration also appears in the Zimbabwean: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/2009103026135/human-rights/rohr-zimbabwe-pressures-the-troika-to-take-a-tough-stance-in-pictures.html. 

Still on ROHR, the organisation last week staged the first of its Vigils in Liverpool. The ROHR Liverpool Branch reports that passers-by showed great interest. 44 people signed their register.  The next demonstration is to be on Saturday, 14th November. 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 150 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       ROHR North London launch meeting. Saturday 7th November from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN, Nearest Tube Station: Seven Sisters, then buses towards Tottenham, 3rd bus stop from 7 Sisters Station. Routes: 123, 149, 259,279, 349, 476, 341 243. Contact: Gladys Mapanda 07877670522, Collin Chitekwe  07957712691, Valerie Chengaose 07956586377, Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, P Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069
·       ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 7th November from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Fairfield Police Club, Prescot Road, Fairfield, LiverpoolL7 0JD. T-shirts available for £10.00. NEW MEMBERS ARE VERY WELCOME. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.·       ROHR Liverpool Branch Vigil. Saturday 14th November from 2 – 4 pm.  Venue: Liverpool City Centre outside Primark. 
·       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).
·       From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000. http://www.newafricabooks.co.za/books_detail.asp?ID=499. 
·       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 .
·       Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/.   

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