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Letter from the Zimbabwe Vigil to South Africa and the Elders – 26th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 26 November 2008 22:54

The dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance emerging from South Africa in the past week stabs at the heart of all those working for democracy in Zimbabwe. 

The group of three ‘Elders’ spent a couple of days in South Africa talking about Zimbabwe and say they have been shocked by what they have learnt. Where have they been for the past 10 years? Have they read nothing, heard nothing?  

Even though they were not allowed into Zimbabwe, they submitted a report to South Africa’s President Motlanthe. He says he was shocked by the report and talks about ‘quibbling over ministries’. Where has he been for the past 10 years? Has he read nothing, heard nothing? 

They say the situation is desperate – and so it is – but it is not helped by this dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance. They say the Zimbabwean party leaders must put aside their differences and join in a power-sharing government to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe – as if another short-sighted and deceitful agreement like the one signed in September will do anything to improve the situation.   

Contrary to the perception emerging from the talks in South Africa, the crisis in Zimbabwe is caused by Mugabe alone and is not the result of the failure to set up a power-sharing government and may well be worsened by it.  If Zimbabweans see that their democratic will is again thwarted they may well be reduced to violence. 

There is no way through for Zimbabwe until there is real power-sharing and to treat Tsvangirai as a junior partner when he won the general election last March will do nothing to help Zimbabweans. If he joins the government as a puppet nothing will change. Is this what the Elders want? South Africa clearly does, as is evidenced by the insulting letter reportedly sent to Tsvangirai by the mediator Mbeki in which he apparently complained of his links with the West. Where does Mbeki think aid and investment will come from to revive Zimbabwe? China, North Korea, Burma, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba? The $30million offered by South Africa will not go far given the mendacity and greed of the Mugabe regime. 

If there is to be any real pressure for change in Zimbabwe it must be applied on the Mugabe regime.  The Botswana government sees this clearly (watch BBC Hardtalk with Phandu Skelemani, Foreign Minister of Botswana - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00fw6yw/HARDtalk_Phandu_Skelemani_Foreign_Minister_of_Botswana/). The Southern African region must take its advice and isolate the regime.

 For our part the Vigil wants to see:
1.        No recognition of Mugabe’s illegitimate regime
2.        Neighbouring countries to refuse visas to members of the regime
3.        A freeze on the assets of members of the regime
4.        Tighter UN sanctions on the regime
5.        The establishment of refugee camps in countries bordering Zimbabwe where desperate Zimbabweans can seek food, medical attention, shelter and education no longer available at home.
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Zimbabwe Vigil Glasgow Diary - 22nd November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 26 November 2008 22:44

With the country’s meteorologists fore-warning us of  some treacherous winds from the Arctic aggravated by an icy storm from the North Pole, 22 Novemeber lived up to its predictions. However, the foot solders of Vigil - galvanised by their resolve to continue raising Glasgow’s awareness to the problems of Zimbabwe – proved that weather is no barrier to their commitment to the struggle. 

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Vigil Diary – 22nd November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 23 November 2008 21:40

The prospect of yet more talks under the partisan chairmanship of the late Mbeki failed to warm even the most optimistic of us at a wintry Vigil. We phoned our friends at the Glasgow Vigil to see how they were faring closer to the Arctic Circle.  We were cheered to hear they were even colder than us! 

 

ROHR activists in Liverpool are continuing their Saturday protests.  Isaac Ndoro (Interim Chair ROHR Liverpool Branch) reports that they were out in the biting cold handing out leaflets and displaying placards telling the miserable story of Zimbabwe and collecting signatures for petitions.  He says many of their activists have problems getting to the protests because they cannot afford the bus fare – rather like the problem back home!  ROHR activists in Liverpool would like to thank the community of Liverpool for the immense support they have shown since these demonstrations started.  

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17th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 17 November 2008 23:09

17th November 2008
We were pleased to receive the following report, submitted by George Murevesi and Patience Tsungu, from our friends in Glasgow on their last Vigil on 8th November 2008. 

Glasgow Vigil Diary – 8th November 2008
On the eve of another important regional gathering to thrash out a deal to break the current impasse we gathered, once again, on Argyle Street Precinct in Glasgow, Scotland, to vent our displeasure at the continued human rights crisis engulfing our beloved land. 

 

In the midst of the hustle and bustle characteristic of early Christmas shopping, we were humbled by the concern of the Glasgow residents who took time to sign our petitions and make donations despite the biting credit crunch. 

 

We were also touched on this Remembrance Day by the poppies which were donated, in solidarity with us, by the army cadets. 

 

The Vigil activists did not disappoint either, as they boosted morale through song, dance and drumming, charging up the atmosphere which, without their commitment, could otherwise have been ruined by the ruthless cold currently stalking Glasgow. We were, however, lucky that the heavens spared us the rain, which normally affects public interest. 

 

We are happy at the recognition and support we are receiving from other civic groups here, particulary the labour movement, and we will be linking up with some of them in future projects. 

 

For the record, approximately 20 people attended. 

 

For your diary:
Next Zimvigil Glasgow meeting is on 22 November 2008, 2pm till 6pm.
*
ROHR is in Glasgow on 22 November at Langside Hall (reception room) 1 Langside Avenue, Glasgow G41 2QR for a follow up to Mr Tapa’s visit and quest to set up structures here. 
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Scottish Union Trades Union Congress (STUC) is holding its annual anti-racist march on 29November 2008. March assembles at 1030 am at St Andrews in the Square off  Saltmarket, Glasgow,  and march off at 1100hrs and wind off with at 1200hrs at Glasgow Film Theatre on Ross Street in Glagow
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Vigil Diary - 15th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 November 2008 18:35

Bitter disappointment at the failure of SADC to help Zimbabweans and, at the same time, relief at the refusal by the MDC to cave in to Mugabe’s unreasonable demands: these were the main reactions at a large and boisterous Vigil.

 

The Vigil hopes that SADC countries will provide aid to Zimbabwe to replace the Western assistance that was promised if SADC’s power-sharing agreement had been honoured by Mugabe . . . but we doubt it.  They seem prepared to see us die – an African solution for an African problem. 

 

The Vigil decided to revive our petition aimed at spelling out the consequences of inaction to the SADC region.  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 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.” 

 

We have sent a first tranche of signatures to the EU and will continue to press it until it takes action. Our other petition, now gathering thousands of signatures also seeks to put pressure on the region to face up to their responsibilities. It reads: “A Petition to the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA). With the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and the likelihood of unrest spreading to South Africa we call upon FIFA to move the 2010 World Cup from South Africa to a safer venue. By the time the World Cup takes place the Mugabe regime will have made the whole region unsafe because millions more refugees will flee Zimbabwe prompting further xenophobic violence in neighbouring countries. FIFA must ensure that World Cup teams and their supporters are not endangered.” 

 

The Vigil has always felt that only our neighbours can help Zimbabwe and we want to put pressure on them to do this.  We find it dispiriting that our African brothers seem to blame the situation in Zimbabwe on the victims.

 

A few snapshots:

* A passer-by brought a Zimbabwean 100,000,000,000 dollar special Agro-cheque. We would like a steady supply of these useless notes to sell as a joke to passers-by.  
*
Thanks to Lovemore Mukeyani and Jenatry Muranganwa for leading the exuberant singing and dancing. The Vigil was also happy to be joined by Batman in his full costume! 
 After the Vigil, the Management Team met to discuss the way forward. Apart from deciding to coontinue the petition to the EU, it was agreed to have carol singing at the Vigil just before Christmas – 20th December.
*
Vigil supporters were heartened to hear that a group of 3 elder statesmen (former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel) are visiting Zimbabwe at the weekend. We know that they will:

1. Stay at the Rainbow Towers
2. Dine at Meikles
3. Swan around Borrowdale Brook
Well, the Vigil wants them to see:
1. The rivers of sewage in Chitungwiza 

2. The dying cholera victims at the run-down Parirenyatwa Hospital 
3. The scavengers rooting for food in the rubbish in Mbare 

 

Once again, grateful thanks for David McAllister for his hard work on our website. We think he has done an imaginative and intelligent job.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check the Flickr link in the right hand column.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 157 signed the register. 

 

FOR YOUR DIARY: 

Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 17th November at 7.30 pm. Innocent Chofamba, the former editor of the Mirror, and Mqondobazi Magonya, the former treasurer general of Imbovane, will discuss ‘what next’ for Zimbabwe after the failure of the recent SADC meeting.  Venue: Downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street. 

Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 22nd November 2008, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137. This will be followed by the ROHR launch in Scotland. Saturday, 22nd November 2008, 6 – 9 pm. Venue: Langside Hall (reception room) 1 Langside Avenue, Glasgow G41 2QR. Very close to Glasgow City Centre. (Buses 23; 38,38A,B,C; 45; 47; 5734; 90). Contact P Dzimba on 07990724137, C Samas 07799156802 or P Mapfumo on 07932216070 or 07533831617. 

 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). 
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