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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 8th May 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 May 2010 15:58

Vigil supporters – like everyone else here – have been closely following the UK’s general elections, which left none of the three main parties with an overall majority in Parliament.  A bit like Zimbabwe? Surprisingly, Zimbabweans have the right to vote in parliamentary elections here (though citizens of even EC countries can’t). The loophole for Zimbabweans is that the British government has yet to update the legislation which allows Commonwealth citizens to vote – even though Mugabe took us out of the Commonwealth in December 2003!  

Many Vigil supporters voted and some even campaigned for the rival parties. We were interested in the different attitudes towards immigration, which became a main issue in the election campaign. Up to half a million people a year have apparently been settling in the UK in recent years leading to fears of being “swamped”. There are, by all accounts, more Zimbabweans in the UK than there ever were British people in Zimbabwe.   

The immigration question was at the heart of a meeting in London on the Monday before the elections. It was attended by many Vigil supporters. All three party leaders answered for their policies. Vigil people were particularly keen to see Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats, who has come to the Vigil. One of the questions raised was about the welfare of children detained with their parents in immigration centres and there were promises to look into this. Despite the unity government, Zimbabweans make up one of the biggest groups of asylum seekers in the UK 

The whole exercise had much to teach us about how to resolve differences. But it made us depressed about the situation in Zimbabwe where a defeated President has refused to surrender power and the former opposition seems increasingly schizophrenic. Vigil supporters wondered how else to interpret Tsvangirai’s recent comments at the meeting in Dar es Salaam of the World Economic Forum on Africa.  He was reported as saying that, given the chance again, he wouldn’t have joined the coalition government but went on to maintain that Zimbabwe’s political crisis ‘no longer exists’. At the same time he admitted that, even though the principals had received a report on the SADC-facilitated talks weeks ago, they had not yet met to discuss it.  

Well we – on an surprisingly cold day for May but thankful that the threatened rain failed to materialise – have just about given up on the interim government. We are settling down in the UK and its becoming ever more difficult to think of going back. New elections, free and fair, as soon as possible are what we want.  

It lifted our spirits to welcome back Father Bernard, a Jesuit priest who has helped so many of us. He unfortunately has dislocated his shoulder and had to use a walking frame. We pray for his early recovery.  

The Vigil has had an email from James Chidakwa, friend and fellow activist of Tonderai Ndira who was brutally murdered two years ago in Zimbabwe. Tonderai was abducted on 13th May 2008 and his body was identified in the morgue on 22nd May. In a BBC report (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7416933.stm), his brother describes Tonderia’s body: "His jaw was shattered, his knuckles broken, a bullet hole below his heart, many many stab wounds and a large hole at the back of his head which seemed to have been caused by a hammer." Other reports state that he had been shot in the heart, with multiple stab wounds, his eyes gouged, his tongue cut out, and his neck, skull, jaw and knuckles broken. James has let us know they will be holding a commemoration for Tonderai on 14 / 15 May. The Vigil joins with Tonderai’s family and friends in remembering and honouring this brave activist.  There will also be a memorial in London, check our ‘Events and Notices’ section. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check:  http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD:  147 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       Tonderai Ndira Memorial. Tuesday 11th May from 6.30 – 11 pm. Venue: Inn on the Green, 3-5 Thorpe Close, London W10 5XL. For more details and RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/p.
phpi=100000726715549&k=Z6E3Y5PYSY6BZFMJWDXXYVWTQ6BAX53FU3GV&oid=
106630222713433
.
·       ROHR Harlow general meeting. Saturday 15th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Perry Road, Harlow CM18 7NP. Substantive committee to be elected and ROHR President and ROHR Executive present. Contact: L Kashangura 07506481334, Blessing Office 07759884633, Bothwell Nyemba 07725208657, Grace Kachingwe 07529524965 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       ROHR Cambridge fundraising event. Saturday 22nd May from 4 – 10 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. African music, food and drinks hobho. Entrance fee £10 including food. Contact: Jospheth Hapazari 07782398725, Locadia Mugari 07501304116, Sibusisiwe Bafana 07765268622, Percy Marimba 07894670271 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       R0HR North London General Meeting. Saturday 22nd May from 1:30-5:30. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road London N17 6QN. Closest Tube -Seven Sisters. From Seven Sisters towards Tottenham three stops on buses 123,149,256,349,341 and 476, ROHR Executive and Guest Speakers in attendance. Fundraising raffle and draw. Contact Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, Nobuhle Ndlovu 07949588597, Wellington Chinombe 07529290157, Chipo Denenga 07960761122, P Mapfumo 07915926323.
·       ROHR West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo  07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza  07908406069
·       ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL.  ROHR Executive members present and Guest Speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775, Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.
·       OTIENO by Trevor Michael Georges. A contemporary reworking of Shakespeare's Othello, set against the continuing deprivation of present-day Zimbabwe. From Tuesday 25th May – Saturday 12th June at 7.30 pm, matinees 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.), London SE1 2TF. For tickets ring 020 7407 0234 or book online here.
·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
·       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 the Vigil 24/04/2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvwikOhO3Fk & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qqXJ7jfVY.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 1st May 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 02 May 2010 14:21

The Vigil marked May Day by supporting an appeal from Amnesty International for the Zimbabwean authorities to stop intimidating and harassing human rights activists. People at the Vigil carried placards reading: ‘May Day Appeal - End Human Rights Abuses in Zimbabwe’, ‘May Day Appeal - Protect Human Rights Activists in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Vigil Supports Oppressed Trade Unionists in Zimbabwe’.  

Amnesty International official Shane Enright said: "It's so important that people around the world stand in solidarity with the brave human rights and trade union activists in Zimbabwe this May Day. Our message to the police and security services is that we are watching you and will call you to account, however long it takes." 

It seems that it will take longer than expected given South Africa’s failure so far to get Mugabe to comply with the GPA, and Arthur ‘dimwit’ Mutambara’s declared intention to avoid any elections which will return him to academic obscurity.  

May Day is traditionally a workers’ celebration and thousands of demonstrators converging on Trafalgar Square passed by the Vigil. Some of them shouted ‘Down with Mugabe’. It was a difficult Vigil because it flooded down with rain half way through.  We had to act fast to stop our petitions being soaked. (By the way these are what our current petitions say: ‘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’. And ‘Petition to the UN Security Council: We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.’) 

Traffic holdups because of the May Day demonstrations were a problem. The car carrying our paraphernalia was forced on many detours back and forth across the Thames and eventually could get no closer than half a mile from the Embassy.  A group of Vigilites had to go and fetch the Vigil tables, posters, banners, tarpaulin, drums, merchandise (Vigil tshirts and Zimbabwean flags), petitions, flags and  Zimbabwean newspapers. Even though the paraphernalia was delivered late the Vigil started on time because a big group of supporters in their Vigil tshirts reading ‘Zimbabwe in our hands’ and ‘Zimbabwe Vigil, Zimbabwe House, London – Saturdays until freedom comes’ were there at 2 pm.  

The May Day demonstrations were mostly in support of labour solidarity around the world but here is a random sample of flyers from other participants: ’European week of action against the deportation machine’, ‘Why we need justice for domestic workers’, ‘Support the revolution in Nepal’, ‘Oppose the crumbling British imperialist state!’, etc.   

A couple of points
·     Despite the hubbub of May Day, people at the Vigil could clearly hear a song bird in one of our maple trees. We only saw one bird but we presume it is building a nest.
·     Mathias Makozhombwe of Motherland ENT has posted two new videos of the Vigil on Youtube.  Check our ‘Events and Notices’ Section for the links. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check:  http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD:  173 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       London Citizens and Citizens UK pre-election assembly with David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown. Monday 3rd May from 3 – 5 pm. Venue: Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH.  On the agenda is the Sanctuary Pledge (calling for an end to child detention and more support for people seeking sanctuary), Strangers into Citizens and the Living Wage. For tickets contact Eunita Masolo, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , phone: 07949 736 222. The organizers would like a big turn-out of Zimbabweans.
·       ROHR Woking Branch 1st Anniversary Party. Saturday 8th May from 3 – 10 pm. Venue: St Pauls Church Hall, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Raffle for two hampers. Tickets £6 adults £3.00 kids which includes entry and meal. Contact:  Mr Mudzamiri 07774044873, Jermaine 07908522992, Sithokozile 07886203113 or P Mapfumo 07915326323/07932216070.
·       ROHR Liverpool Demonstration. Saturday 8th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758. Next demonstration on Saturday 22nd May. Same venue and time.
·       ROHR Brighton Zimbabwean Community Family Fun Evening. Saturday 8th May from 4 – 10.30 pm. Venue: Leonards Church Hall, Glebe Villas, Hove. Nearest train station: Portslade. For directions please contact Elizabeth Masoka 07545458436, Jane Mugwagwa 07833301145, Wellington Mamvura 07956870547, Patience Chiguta 07780667422 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/ 07932216070. Lots of entertainment, food, raffle and disco – free entry.
·       ROHR Harlow general meeting. Saturday 15th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Perry Road, Harlow CM18 7NP. Substantive committee to be elected and ROHR President and ROHR Executive present. Contact: L Kashangura 07506481334, Blessing Office 07759884633, Bothwell Nyemba 07725208657, Grace Kachingwe 07529524965 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       ROHR Cambridge fundraising event. Saturday 22nd May from 4 – 10 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. African music, food and drinks hobho. Entrance fee £10 including food. Contact: Jospheth Hapazari 07782398725, Locadia Mugari 07501304116, Sibusisiwe Bafana 07765268622, Percy Marimba 07894670271 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       R0HR North London General Meeting. Saturday 22nd May from 1:30-5:30. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road London N17 6QN. Closest Tube -Seven Sisters. From Seven Sisters towards Tottenham three stops on buses 123,149,256,349,341 and 476, ROHR Executive and Guest Speakers in attendance. Fundraising raffle and draw. Contact Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, Nobuhle Ndlovu 07949588597, Wellington Chinombe 07529290157, Chipo Denenga 07960761122, P Mapfumo 07915926323.
·       ROHR West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo  07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza  07908406069
·       ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL.  ROHR Executive members present and Guest Speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.
·       OTIENO by Trevor Michael Georges. A contemporary reworking of Shakespeare's Othello, set against the continuing deprivation of present-day Zimbabwe. From Tuesday 25th May – Saturday 12th June at 7.30 pm, matinees 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.), London SE1 2TF. For tickets ring 020 7407 0234 or book online here.
·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
·       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 24/04/2009, check: http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=lvwikOhO3Fk
and http://www.youtube.com/watchv=u7qqXJ7jfVY.


 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 24th April 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 April 2010 15:53

On a warm Spring day many friends from the past came and joined us. So many marriages and relationships have been formed through the Vigil.  The children with us today were a testimony to this. Thanks to Francesca Toft for entertaining them (and stopping them wandering into the road . . .) 

We are always amazed by the efforts some people make to get to us. Netty Marozva caught an overnight coach from Glasgow and was there to help us set up the Vigil. She went home on another overnight coach. Susan Chechita from Liverpool once again boarded a coach at 6.30 in the morning to be with us. It was also good to welcome Caroline Witts from Devon despite her anxious swotting for her GCSE Spanish exam. 

Following the comments about the failure of the inclusive government by Lovemore Matombo of the ZCTU at our meeting last week, Vigil supporters discussed their anxieties about the state of the MDC leadership. There was surprise at the reported comments by the Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe of the MDC, that everything was wonderful in the diamond fields of Marange. She went there with Vice President John Nkomo although the Parliamentary Committee looking into the enterprise had been refused access. Finance Minster Tendai Biti says the Treasury has seen no benefit from the diamonds but Mrs Khupe was apparently full of praise for Mines Minister, Osbert Mpofu. She was quoted as saying "There was a lot of speculation in Cabinet about what was happening at Chiadzwa and Cde Mpofu was the lonely voice concerning mining activities here. We are very grateful for what we saw and we will be good ambassadors from now onwards." See http://www.theindependent.co.zw/opinion/26221-muckraker-municipal-police-need-their-wings-clipped.html 

Talking about ambassadors we were sickened by a fawning missive from Trudy Stephenson of the MDC who is now Ambassador to Senegal. Writing about a visit there by President Mugabe she says: “It was a great honour to host him at the Residence”. We realise that she has to be polite to our illegitimate head of state but her schoolgirl gushing suggested she has quite forgotten the nature of this monster and the appalling waste of money for our bankrupt country of his visit to Senegal and indeed the existence of her Embassy anyway.

We were equally bemused by Graca Machel’s comment that the UK should shut up about Zimbabwe. We have been outside the Embassy every Saturday for nearly eight years come rain or shine and won’t be told to shut up by someone who was refused permission to visit Zimbabwe by Mugabe when the so-called ‘Elders’ including former US President Jimmy Carter wanted to look at the situation there. We suggest she shuts up. Check: http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/zimvoice230410.htm – Zim Voice of Democracy: ‘A big thank you to Britain’.

What we say is that we are very worried about the MDC in Zimbabwe being absorbed by ZanuPF and want an end to this coalition government and free elections as soon as possible. See: http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/heart220410.htm. Heart of the Matter, by Tanonoka Joseph Whande:The MDC must start afresh now without Mugabe and ZANU-PF’.

Thanks to Vigil stalwarts Gladys Mapanda, Josephine Zhuga and Godfrey Madzunga for manning both tables, helping to set up and pack up and making sure the Vigil ran smoothly through the afternoon.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check:  http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 153 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       ROHR Glasgow relaunch meeting. Saturday 1st May from 1.30 – 5.30. Venue: Woodside Hall, 36 Glendarg Street, Glasgow, G20 7QE. ROHR Executive present to talk about the current issues in Zimbabwe and the UK.  Contact Kuda Mupunga 07940254328, Gugu Ncube 07534574763, Rugare Chifungo (Northern Coordinator) 07795070609, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       London Citizens and CITIZENS UK pre-election assembly with David Cameron, Nick Clegg and hopefully Gordon Brown. Monday 3rd May from 3 – 5 pm. Doors open 2 pm – to be seated by 2.45 pm. Venue: Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH.  On the agenda is the Sanctuary Pledge (calling for an end to child detention and more support for people seeking sanctuary), Strangers into Citizens and the Living Wage. For tickets contact Eunita Masolo, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , phone: 07949 736 222. The organizers would like a big turn-out of Zimbabweans.
·       ROHR Woking Branch 1st Anniversary Party. Saturday 8th May from 3 – 10 pm. Venue: St Pauls Church Hall, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Raffle for two hampers to be won. Tickets £6 adults £3.00 kids which includes entry and meal. Contact:  Mr Mudzamiri 07774044873, Jermaine 07908522992, Sithokozile 07886203113 or P Mapfumo 07915326323/07932216070.
·       ROHR Liverpool Demonstration. Saturday 8th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758. Next demonstration on Saturday 22nd May. Same venue and time. 
·       ROHR Cambridge fundraising event. Saturday 22nd May from 4 – 10 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. African music, food and drinks hobho. Entrance fee £10 including food. Contact: Jospheth Hapazari 07782398725, Locadia Mugari 07501304116, Sibusisiwe Bafana 07765268622, Percy Marimba 07894670271 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       ROHR West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo  07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza  07908406069
·       ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL.  ROHR executive members present and guest speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.
·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
·       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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Independence Day Protest – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 17th April 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 18 April 2010 17:41

Volcanic ash from Iceland 1,000 miles to the north dropped gently on the Vigil as we marked Zimbabwe’s 30th anniversary of Independence. Despite this it was a lovely sunny day and there was a big attendance at our anniversary demonstration during which we left thirty candles at the nearby South African High Commission to remind them of their obligation to help us achieve true independence. People left the Zimbabwe Embassy in small groups carrying banners and candles and left them on the steps of South Africa House around the corner on Trafalgar Square 

We were glad to be joined by two champions of Zimbabwean freedom: Lovemore Matombo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and Gabriel Shumba of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum.  

Lovemore Matombo said that despite the earlier progress after independence there was still a lack of freedom in Zimbabwe. The MDC seemed to have been lulled into submission and had become a continuation of the Mugabe regime. They had betrayed the people but the ZCTU would not give up the struggle. He said Zimbabwe was a rich country which had been plundered for the benefit of the few. He added that Zimbabwe’s diamonds alone were enough to get the economy on track. Mr Matombo lamented what he called the fragmentation of civil society in Zimbabwe 

For his part Gabriel Shumba advised the diaspora that there must be rule of law in Zimbabwe before they could safely go home – so they would be free from harassment, torture and intimidation. He said people in the diaspora must be given the right to vote and dual citizenship should be allowed. He insisted there should be international observers on the ground during any election. Mr Shumba stressed the need for transitional justice. He said that people could not go home to Zimbabwe to find the perpetrators of the violence against them were still in place. He added that another demand was that South Africa must protect Zimbabweans against xenophobic violence. He said he feared a resurgence of this after the World Cup.  

Another visitor to the Vigil was Mr Mugabe (alias Reginald Gwasira in our Mugabe mask).  He joined us at the South African High Commission with a placard reading ‘Thanks Comrade Malema’.  He reappeared later outside the Zimbabwe Embassy with a bottle of wine and large glass and a placard reading ’Here’s to another 30 years’.  

Other points:
·       Lovemore Matombo renewed acquaintance with his fellow trade unionist and one of the Vigil founders Ephraim Tapa (previously head of the civil service union). Lovemore told Vigil supporters of the severe torture Ephraim suffered in 2002 and how the ZCTU looked after him and arranged his escape.  He said Ephraim was barely alive when he was found.
·       For the first time ever one of our petitions has been signed by a pigeon. He unloaded his bowels on our demand that the UK should not lift sanctions against Mugabe. It must have been a stool pigeon.
·       We were all delighted by the beautiful singing of a pair of songbirds in our maple trees completely oblivious to the hubbub below them. Also oblivious to reality is the Zimbabwean coalition government which has apparently decided ‘that all key stakeholders interested or involved in addressing the debt crisis in Zimbabwe, in particular the IFIs (international financial institutions, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank) and western countries "must overtly acknowledge that Zimbabwe is operating under economic sanctions”.’ http://www.thestandard.co.zw/business/24199-zim-debt-parties-find-common-ground.html. Presumably if they don’t Zimbabwe will refuse their food to feed the starving or their medicines to save the sick . . .
·       It is impossible to say how many people attended the Vigil – certainly many more than signed the register. The sound of the drums thundered down the Strand.
·       It was good to be joined by Violet of SW Radio Africa, Mark and Tony of ACTSA and Tor and Wiz of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. 
·       On a very busy afternoon our thanks go to those who made our ‘Lights for Freedom’ protest possible: Jonathan Kariwoh who looked after back table throughout and sacrificed his chance to attend the activities at the SA High Commission, Luka Phiri who ran between the Embassy and the High Commission taking the Vigil photos and Dumi Tutani who stage managed the scenario at the South African High Commission. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check:  http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 225 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·     ROHR South East London general meeting. Saturday 24th April from 1 – 3 pm. Venue: 16 Sydenham Road, Sydenham, London SE24 5QW. Contact P Chitsinde 07897000075, C Chiromo 07894586005 or 07838153217.
·     ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 24th April from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni (Chair Northern Region) 07748828913, Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Beauty Sikosana 07940181761, David Munemo 07963708923 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·     ROHR Leicester general meeting. Saturday 24th April from 1.30 – 5.30. Venue: St Aiden Parish Church Hall, The Vicarage, South Oswald Road, New Parks, Leicester LE3 6RJ. Refreshments will be served. Contact C Ndoro 07833022167, D Sibanda 07901742649, P Mapfumo  07915926323/ 07932216070.
·     ROHR Glasgow relaunch meeting. Saturday 1st May from 1.30-5.30. Venue: Woodside Hall, 36 Glendarg Street, Glasgow, G20 7QE. ROHR Executive present to talk about the current issues in Zimbabwe and the UK.  Contact Kuda Mupunga 07940254328, Gugu Ncube 07534574763, Rugare Chifungo(Northern Coordinator) 07795070609, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·     ROHR Woking Branch 1st Anniversary Party. Saturday 8th May from 3 – 10 pm. Venue: St Pauls Church Hall, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Raffle for two hampers to be won. Tickets £6 adults £3.00 kids which includes entry and meal. Contact:  Mr Mudzamiri 07774044873, Jermaine 07908522992, Sithokozile 07886203113 or P Mapfumo 07915326323/07932216070
·     ROHR Cambridge fundraising event. Saturday 22nd May from 4 – 10 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. African music, food and drinks hobho. Entrance fee £10 including food. Contact: Jospheth Hapazari 07782398725, Locadia Mugari 07501304116, Sibusisiwe Bafana 07765268622, Percy Marimba 07894670271 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·     ROHR  West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo  07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza  07908406069
·     ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL.  ROHR executive members present and guest speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,WadzanayiMpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.
·     Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
·     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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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 10th April 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 April 2010 15:53

Vigil supporters discussed plans to mark Zimbabwe’s 30th Independence Day. It was felt that Zimbabweans as such are not independent at all and won’t be until South Africa forces Mugabe to keep his word. So we plan to stage a ‘lights for freedom’ demonstration at the South African High Commission at next week’s Vigil, the day before Independence Day.  

We intend that small groups of Vigil supporters will at intervals carry tealights around the corner from the Zimbabwe Embassy to the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square to illustrate our hope that President Zuma will give us a true anniversary present and break the logjam which will otherwise continue until the MDC is completely absorbed by Zanu PF.  

We hope the demonstration will be joined by Lovemore Matombo – President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Irene Petras – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and Gabriel Shumba – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, who will be attending a conference ‘Zimbabwe 30 years on: Rights, challenges and opportunities’ in London that day organised by Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. 

One of our founders Ephraim Tapa spoke at the Vigil and said the MDC had forgotten it had won the 2008 elections. There was no freedom or justice in Zimbabwe. Ephraim, who is President of our partner organisation in Zimbabwe, Restoration of Human Rights, said ROHR had made some important progress. It looked to the Vigil to continue to raise awareness in the international community. The struggle must continue until there were free and fair elections which were internationally monitored. Ephraim was sceptical about the recently appointed human rights commission. He described it as a non-event given the quality of some of its members. He was equally scathing about Morgan Tsvangirai’s apparent decision to lead a delegation to Brussels this month to once again appeal for an end to targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.  Another founder member Patson Muzuwa said attempts to deport Vigil supporter Charles Ndelemani o

n the grounds that he entered the UK on a Malawian passport had been suspended following a petition to the Home Office. Patson said Charles was clearly a Zimbabwean and no Zimbabwean should be sent back until there was a legitimate government.  

Hundreds of oddly-dressed cyclists rode past us along the Strand.  This was the annual ‘Tweedrun’ at which “proper attire is expected: tweed suits, plus fours, bowties, cycling capes and jaunty flat caps are all encouraged – no beastly denim”. It made quite a sight as they passed by on a sunny warm spring day. 

Other points
·       At a Vigil management team meeting before the Vigil the 2009 financial statement was approved and we were briefed on the progress of ROHR in Zimbabwe among other matters.
·       Thanks to Sue for bringing another batch of ‘Mugabe must go’ wristbands. She is such a good customer (in fact the only one for these wristbands) that they gave her 40 for free.
·       It was good to welcome back founder member Bonny now recovered from being kicked by a cow. Bonny, who’s a farmer, was bitten by a pig the previous year.  Thank goodness we don’t have lions here.  

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check:  http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 177 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       Workshop on Transitional Outreach to the Diaspora. Thursday 15th April from 11 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Royal London House, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX. Organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. Facilitators: Gabriel Shumba – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, and Brian Penduka – Programme Co-ordinator of Zimbabwe HR NGO Forum. To book a place email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone Wiz or Ebba on 020 7065 0945. For more information, check: http://www.hrforumzim.com/transitional-justice-workshop.pdf.
·       ‘Lights for Freedom’: Zimbabwe Independence – 30th Anniversary. Saturday 17th April.  Vigil supporters to place candles on the steps of the South African High Commission.
·       ‘Zimbabwe 30 years on: Rights, challenges and opportunities.’ ACTSA Independence Day Conference. Saturday 17th April at 11.15 am. Venue: Unite, 128 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8TN. Speakers: Lovemore Matombo – President of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Irene Petras – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and Gabriel Shumba – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum. The conference will examine the challenges and opportunities for the future from a diaspora, trade union and human rights perspective. For more information check: http://www.actsa.org/Pictures/UpImages/Conference%20flyer.pdf.
·       ROHR Liverpool Demonstration. Saturday 17th April from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758. Future demonstrations on Saturdays: 8th and 22nd May. Same venue and time.
·       ROHR South East London general meeting. Saturday 24th April from 1 – 3 pm. Venue: 16 Sydenham Road, Sydenham, London SE24 5QW. Contact P Chitsinde 07897000075, C Chiromo 07894586005 or 07838153217.
·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
·       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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