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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 6th June 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 07 June 2009 11:57

The Vigil gave a great pom pom to a man who ran 26.2 miles for us.  He is Steve Garvey who ran the London Marathon in 3 hours 26 minutes to raise funds for the Vigil. Steve, a teacher at the Dolphin School in South London, came to the Vigil some months ago with some of his pupils (8 – 9 year olds). Steve invited the Vigil to send someone to speak to his class and Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu took up the challenge. He spoke of the conditions in Zimbabwe and the struggles of school children there. The response was a fundraising effort which is set to raise £1100.  

Apart from the sponsorship of Steve’s run, his Dolphin pupils raised money themselves by such methods as a sponsored maths test! One boy raised £260 on his own. Steve was raised shoulder-high by Vigil supporters when he came to deliver the major part of this generous gift.  He said he was really humbled by how he was received -- to which Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton said the Vigil was really humbled by his efforts on our behalf.  It is planned that the money will go to some specific educational project in Zimbabwe with which the children of Dolphin school can feel a personal involvement and perhaps establish penfriends.  

While on the subject of education, our partner organisation, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, have held workshops in Midlands and Bulawayo. From these workshops they have identified the need to go into rural areas to educate people on their human rights to empower them to contribute to national healing. As Gweru City father, Willie Muringani, said: “I’m appealing to ROHR that meetings of this nature should be taken out in the rural areas, where there are a lot of people there who need to be opened up”. For more information: www.rohrzimbabwe.org. 

As always there was much discussion at the Vigil about the situation at home and people were disturbed at reports that two Zanu-PF ministers may be included in Morgan Tsvangirai’s entourage when he visits the UK later this month. They are Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengengwi and the Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu, both of whom are subject to travel sanctions because they are key supporters of the Mugabe regime.  The Vigil is puzzled why Tsvangirai should think that bringing these people would encourage the UK to further loosen its purse strings.  The two Mugabe cronies should be worried about the prospect of a citizen’s arrest if they set foot in the UK. We would like to send them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.   

We would like to give our grateful thanks to the Red Cross who have stepped in to feed the starving prisoners in Zimbabwe.  Many people who pass by the Vigil stop to look at our pictures of starving prisoners and express their horror. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  189 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: http://www.hrforumzim.com.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 27th June at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
·         ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 27th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni 07533259373 or B Sikosana 07940181761.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 25th July at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
·         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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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 30th May 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 31 May 2009 19:53

There was much discussion at the Vigil about the forthcoming visit to the UK of Morgan Tsvangirai. We have been informed by MDC UK that he will be addressing a meeting in Kent as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and not as leader of the MDC.  He is said to be keen to engage with all Zimbabwean groups in the UK. The date apparently set for the meeting is Saturday, 20th June. We are sorry that some of us will not be able to attend because we have the Vigil on a Saturday. But no doubt many Vigil supporters will go to the Tsvangirai gathering.  

There was some debate at the Vigil about questions they should put to him:
-        Why do MDC people on the ground in Zimbabwe
feel let down?
-       
Why have we not heard any member of the GNU talk about the starving prisoners?
-        How can anyone invest in Zimbabwe
when there is no rule of law?
-        If there is no security, how can Zimbabwe
hope to feed the 80% of its population on food aid?
-       
Why is nothing being done by Parliament to ensure a free press etc?
-        Do you want us to come home? 

The Vigil is not surprised at the situation. Here is an extract from our diary of four months ago (31/01/2009). 

Most people who stopped to talk to us seemed well-informed about developments and no-one was surprised the Vigil was continuing. Certainly, our supporters turned out in unprecedented numbers and few of them had any confidence that the deal would work, given Mugabe’s failure to honour his undertakings in the power-sharing agreement of last September. 

We expect to see Morgan in London soon on a begging mission.  We believe there is a lot of support for extra humanitarian assistance but that he will face an uphill battle to get serious economic aid.  The UK and the US have already made clear that they will wait and see before committing real money. In other words they will have to be satisfied it will not drain into the hands of the Mugabe cronies.  This means the new government will have to prove a willingness to respect the rule of law: we do not believe that Zanu-PF has any idea what that means.   

We accept that there may be secret understandings between the parties that we don’t know about. Indeed, the bewildering policy flip-flops by the MDC would suggest that this is the case. But how do we know? Anyway, when Morgan comes to London we at the Vigil will still be protesting outside the Embassy with our banners ‘No to Mugabe. No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’. If he drops by the Embassy it will be the nearest he has come to us in our 6+ years here.   

We want Morgan to convince us that things have changed.  

It was good to be joined by Kudaushe Matimba (formerly of the Bundu Boys) who spoke to us about the situation of Zimbabwean musicians (he was upbeat).  Thanks to Ruvimbo Claire Maneya and Effie Hicks for their help in setting up the Vigil. 

One of our supporters Brightmore Mundandanda went to sign on at the immigration centre at Croydon for the first time.  He was immediately sent to detention in Dover.  We phoned the Zimbabwe Association for advice and they informed us that several people have been detained but the duration of the detention is short.  Apparently the Home Office does not have enough facilities at Croydon and other immigration centres to process all the Zimbabwean applications for asylum.  If you hear of anyone detained keep an eye on it and, if it stretches beyond a few days, contact the Zimbabwe Association. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  186 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         ROHR West Bromwich launch meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: West Bromwich Town Hall
, High Street, B70 8DT. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Rejoice Moyo 07884126754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070
·         ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW
. Come in numbers lets make it our Zimbabwean Day soon after Africa Day. Zimbabweans lets Roooooh together in this Struggle for ROHR. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873 or Gift Pfupa 07909831158
·         ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue:  Prescot Lodge, 52-56 Prescot Road, Liverpool L7 0JA
. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688 0r Patrick Kushonga 07900857605
·         Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe
.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: http://www.hrforumzim.com.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 27th June at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 25th July at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London
WC2N 6HL.
·         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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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 23rd May 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 24 May 2009 15:27

The Vigil has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy every Saturday for going on 7 years – come rain or shine. Today it was shine but, despite the formation of the government of national unity 3 months ago, the Vigil is agreed that we must continue our weekly demonstrations. 

Many passers-by stopped to look at our display of photographs. As always, people were horrified. They saw a pageant portraying a society degenerating into savagery: torture and starvation victims, the grotesque torched bodies of victims of election violence, the bloody faces of victims of farm invasions, the emaciated victims in the holocaust jails – victims of a regime that still shows no sign of respecting the rule of law. 

The Zanu / MDC government says it would like to normalise relations with the donor countries – meaning the West. Who else is there? Thanks China for US $5 million. But can the coalition government deny the reality of what our photo gallery is telling the world every week? 

A large group gathered after the Vigil for the first of our planned monthly forums to discuss the way forward. The overwhelming message was: we will continue until there is real change. Sadly, the general view was pessimistic. Many people thought the MDC should pull out of this government.   

The forum discussed the asylum question. Many were concerned that some people were using the Vigil to get help with asylum claims and once they were successful they disappeared.  Supporters at the meeting reaffirmed that we were about human rights in Zimbabwe. 

Supporters were given explanations from Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton about the message of the Vigil and from Luka Phiri of the Vigil management team about the role of our partners, the Zimbabwe Association. Ephraim Tapa, President of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, arrived in time from a meeting in Milton Keynes to explain the position of ROHR. 

It was an auspicious start for our monthly meetings.  Thanks to the following who signed the register: Batson Chapata, Chipo Chaya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Moses Kandiyawo, Francesca Toft, Patson Muzuwa, Dumi and Gugu Tutani, Arnold Kuwewa, Luka Musaka, Luka Phiri, Kimpton Samkange, Reginald Gwasira, Addley Nyamutaka, Dennis and Rose Benton, Ephraim Tapa, Judith Makonza, Edward Mhangwa, Judith Mudzamiri, Perkins Matereke, Charles Gasa, Hazvinei Kanyowa, Edwick Office, Stewart Chikwature, Annah Zinhuka, Luke Chinopfukutwa, Ritha Chitapi, Audrey Ntoto, David Kadzutu, Jennifer Hukura, Orpah Mkandhla, Thelma Madzimbamuto, Sarak Makedenge, Ian Pocock, Maxwell Muganhiri, Corsini Togaraseyi, Rugare Chifungo, Chido Brighton Mbwizhu, Tapiwa Chakare, Lynnet Bororwe, Aggrey Gazi, Succeed Mutandwa, Josefina Deka, Molly Mujati, Edna Mdoka, Opah Gwashavanhu, Peter Sidindi – and to others who had to leave for far-flung places before the register was passed round.  

We are planning Vigil forums on a monthly basis. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog is booked for Saturday 27th June and Saturday 25th July. 

Finally three members of the Vigil management team are celebrating their birthdays this week – happy birthday to Chipo Chaya, Luka Phiri and Addley Nyamutaka. 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 223 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY: 
*    Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 25th May, No forum because it is a public holiday.
*        ROHR Northampton and Kettering general meeting. Saturday, 30th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm.  Venue: St Mary's Church, Abbey Road, Northampton, NN4 8EZ. Rohr President and Executive plus a well known lawyer present. Substantive committee to be elected. Contact: Norian Chindowa 07954379426, A Chimimba 07799855806, Willard Mudonzvo 07591686724, Marshall Rusike 07884246888, Hazvineyi Masuka 07795164664, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
*
        ROHR Brighton general meeting. Saturday 30th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: The Community Base, Queens Road, Brighton. Some committee gap fillings to be done. Contact: Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069/07535936460, Seph Mpofu 07786164808 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070. 
*
        ROHR West Bromwich launch meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: West Bromwich Town Hall, High Street, B70 8DT. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Rejoice Moyo 07884126754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
*
        ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW. Come in numbers lets make it our Zimbabwean Day soon after Africa Day. Zimbabweans lets Roooooh together in this Struggle for ROHR. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873 or Gift Pfupa 07909831158
*     ROHR
Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue:  Prescot Lodge, 52-56 Prescot Road, Liverpool L7 0JA. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688 0r Patrick Kushonga 07900857605
       
*         Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: http://www.hrforumzim.com
*
         Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 27th June at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL. 
*
        Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 25th July at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
*
        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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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 16th May 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 May 2009 19:32

The government of national unity may have reached its first hundred days but the Vigil is resigned to a long struggle until our mission statement is accomplished – to see internationally-monitored free and fair elections.  

With the continuing failure to observe the ‘Global Political Agreement’, members of the Vigil management team discussed our way forward and next Saturday we are to hold our first forum. Many of us gather after the Vigil at the nearby Theodore Bullfrog pub. The plan is that once a month we will book a private room at the Bullfrog where we can discuss ideas and get to know each other better. Every week there are dozens of newcomers at the Vigil and we want to engage them more on what the Vigil is about.   

One of the subjects we’ll be discussing at the forum is the asylum issue. Many people are questioned at asylum hearings about their attendance at the Vigil and we want people to know what to say.  The Vigil is not an asylum organisation: we point people to our partner organisation the Zimbabwe Association. But we write letters for regular attenders, though Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani stressed ‘The Vigil is really about human rights at home’.    

Another matter we want to clarify is the relationship between the Vigil and our partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, whose activities in Britain are becoming more widespread.   

Other points:
Our luck held out and the threatened rain failed to materialize. We are very vulnerable at present as we are unable to use our tarpaulin because of a temporary invasion of our space by the water board. 
 
Thanks to the extra people who helped look after the two tables this week: Eunita Masolo, Priscilla Kwembeya and Rebecca Rutsito. 

For latest Vigil pictures check our pictures page

FOR THE RECORD:  249 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 18th May at 7.30 pm. A discussion on why the GNU is failing. Venue: 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.
·         First Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 23rd May at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London
WC2N 6HL.
·        ROHR Milton Keynes launch meeting. Saturday 23rd May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: The Old Bath House, 205 Stratford Road, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5RL. Contact Martha Jiya 07727016098, Josephine Sibongile Phiri 07853572982 / 07930276126, P Mandere 07946717754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·         ROHR Northampton and Kettering general meeting. Saturday, 30th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm.  Venue: St Mary's Church, Abbey Road, Northampton, NN4 8EZ. Rohr President and Executive plus a well known lawyer present. Substantive committee to be elected. Contact: Norian Chindowa 07954379426, A Chimimba 07799855806, Willard Mudonzvo 07591686724, Marshall
Rusike 07884246888, Hazvineyi Masuka 07795164664, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·        ROHR Brighton general meeting. Saturday, 30th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: The Community Base, Queens Road, Brighton
. Some committee gap fillings to be done. Contact: Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069/07535936460, Seph Mpofu 07786164808 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·        ROHR West Bromwich launch meeting. Saturday, 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: West Bromwich Town Hall, High Street, B70 8DT. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Rejoice Moyo 07884126754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
    
·         Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: http://www.hrforumzim.com.
·        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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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 9th May 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 May 2009 18:44

On the day when Jacob Zuma was sworn into office the Vigil’s best wishes were for our friends in South Africa. We appreciate their latest visa moves and we trust that under President Zuma’s guidance, South Africa will no longer prop up Mugabe – though we were dismayed that Mugabe was given a standing ovation when he arrived at the inauguration. 

The Vigil notes that the ‘elders’ have urged the West to pour money into Zimbabwe. We have always called for as much humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe as possible but it is unrealistic to expect Western governments to hand over other funds to Zimbabwe without assurance that this money will be used properly. Zimbabwe must demonstrate that it respects the rule of law.   

Take for instance the case of Mr Gandhi Mudzingwa. Some of us know him and we are appalled that this tortured elderly man should be held hostage. We know that big issues are at stake, but is nothing a matter of principle? The Vigil is convinced that there can be no progress until the inclusive government acts on what it agreed.  

The longer this situation drags out the more difficult it will be to get people in the diaspora to go back to Zimbabwe because they will be putting down deep roots in their new countries. In other words Zimbabwe could be a permanent basket case. 

Our partners Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) are issuing regular statements which you can read on their website: www.rohrzimbabwe.org.  It is useful to have a commentary from inside Zimbabwe on current issues. There have been recent pieces on the need for a human rights commission, the state of the prisons, the harassment of human rights activists, the Harare International Festival of the Arts’ exposure of the murderers during last year’s elections and naming and shaming of ‘new farmers’. 

Other points:
·        Vigil team member Luka Phiri addressed a recent weekend meeting of the Trades Union Congress. He spoke about the failures of the new unity government but his main contribution was to help conduct a seminar on immigration and asylum.
·        We were joined by a bagpiper, Ben Buckland nan Cameron, in full regalia who was lifted shoulder high (with his bagpipes) when he accompanied our singing. He also accompanied the national anthem at the end of the Vigil.  We were very surprised to find out he was a relative (third cousin) of Ian Smith, the UDI Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. He was travelling on a bus when he saw us and decided to join in.
·        Many thanks to our extra helpers this week: Reginald Gwasira, Rebecca Rutsito and Patience Madjgara.
·        Our thoughts are with Vigil team member Sue Toft who is recuperating from an eye operation. We wish her a speedy recovery.   

For latest Vigil pictures checkour pictures page.

FOR THE RECORD: 264 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 11th May. Dr Patrick Musami will talk about the health service in Zimbabwe. Venue: 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.
·        ROHR Cambridge general meeting. Saturday 16th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. Substantive committee to be elected. The ROHR President and his executive and a well known lawyer will be present. Get advice and learn more about your rights. Contact: Josephart Hapazari 07782398725, Maggie Jenkins 07894064600, A Mubaiwa 07846170094 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·        ROHR Milton Keynes launch meeting. Saturday 23rd May. Venue: The Old Bath House, 205 Stratford Road, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5RL. Contact Martha Jiya 07727016098, Josephine Sibongile Phiri 07853572982 / 07930276126, P Mandere 07946717754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·         First Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 23rd May at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
·    Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: http://www.hrforumzim.com 
·        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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