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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 26th September 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 September 2009 18:10

A triumphant cheer with exuberant ululating greeted two members of the Vigil management team, Dumi Tutani and Luka Phiri, when they arrived at the Vigil after completing a 55-mile sponsored walk from Brighton on the south coast. Despite their exhaustion, they immediately joined in the celebratory dancing.   

They had set off just before 5 am and covered the distance (twice the length of a marathon) in thirteen and a half hours including two short breaks.   “I really enjoyed it” said Dumi, wearing a Vigil tshirt. “People were very supportive as we passed by”. Luka, whose idea it was, could not suppress a huge grin. 

The walk was to raise funds to help a Zimbabwean girl with a severe facial tumour who is coming to the UK for urgent medical treatment. The girl, Taremeredzwa Nomatter Mapungwana, is supported by the Zimbabwean charity Girl Child Network (http://girlchildnetworkworldwide.org/). Tare is to have an operation soon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London 

Dumi and Luka were greeted at the Vigil by Betty Makoni, founder of Girl Child Network, who was warm in her praise. “Because of your walk people here have now heard of our work”. 

Betty addressed the Vigil about her experience as an activist on women’s issues. She said she had been forced to flee Zimbabwe because of her role in helping women victims of political violence.  She said one woman she had helped had been traumatized by being raped by 18 soldiers. Another, who was pregnant when she was raped, had been so badly injured that the doctor she was taken to in Botswana had cried. A recent appeal for help had been from a woman on her deathbed as a result of injuries sustained in June last year.  She added that women that had been raped didn’t find it easy to share their stories. 

Betty said rape had been used as a weapon of war since 2002 and women and their families were still being harassed and intimidated. Husbands would be taunted by the perpetrators, who believed they could act with impunity While Betty spoke to the Vigil about the situation in Zimbabwe a different picture was being painted at a conference elsewhere in London addressed by representatives of the Zimbabwe government trying to get the diaspora to invest back home – despite the clear absence of the rule of law displayed so eloquently by Mugabe’s xenophonic ranting at the UN.  

We had a good attendance despite many Restoration of Human Rights supporters attending a ROHR fundraising party in Birmingham. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  170 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873, Gift Pfupa 07909831158, Sekai Mujeyi
07765244138 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070
·         ROHR Surrey & Hants general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 10 Elmdene Court, Constitution Hill, Woking, Surrey, GU22 7SA. Contact: Isacc Mudzamiri 07774044873, Thoko Hlokama 07886203113, Thandi Mabodoko 01483600201, 01483826764 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Feedback from the Chair's meeting held in Coventry
 
·         Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October at 6.30 pm.  The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, 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
.
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall
Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
·         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. More 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 – 19th September 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 September 2009 15:40

Supporters at a warm and exuberant Vigil expressed scepticism at Morgan Tsvangirai’s announcement that he is to consult the grass roots on whether to withdraw from the Mugabe government.  

People at the Vigil were asked for their opinion by Ephraim Tapa of the Vigil management team. He is also head of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). Ephraim made clear his own view: “Tsvangirai didn’t consult the people when he shook hands with Mugabe.  Why now?”  

Ephraim maintained that the MDC had made a big mistake by joining Mugabe’s government. “Zanu PF were down and out at the end of 2008 but have been given recovery time by the MDC.”  He said Zanu PF was now gaining in confidence and the next election would be bloodier than ever before to make sure that Zanu PF won.   

Ephraim said that the MDC had failed to take a principled position on Zanu PF abuses such as land invasions and the seizure this week of Meikles. This showed that nothing had changed: Mugabe was still in charge and there was no rule of rule.  The country was in the hands of a mafia which had conscripted the MDC.  

Ephraim’s analysis was supported by people at the Vigil and borne out by reports we have received from our loved ones at home. For instance, family in Bulawayo quote pastors as saying people are still dying like flies. 

But, although the situation at home is closely followed by the Vigil, not all discussion is about politics.  Luka Phiri and Dumi Tutani, members of the Vigil management team, spoke about their ambitious plan to walk 55 miles next Saturday to raise funds to help a Zimbabwean girl with a severe facial tumour come to the UK for urgent medical treatment. They plan to walk from Brighton on the south coast all the way to the Vigil, leaving at 5 am 

The Zimbabwean girl, Taremeredzwa Nomatter Mapungwana, is supported by the Zimbabwean charity Girl Child Network (http://girlchildnetworkworldwide.org/) founded by Betty Makoni in 1998. There are plans for Tare to have an operation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and Luka and Dumi are raising money to help meet her expenses in the UK. Bank account details for donations can be found on the Girl Child Network website. 

One of the walkers, Vigil co-ordinator Dumi, celebrated his 40th birthday with us today. We bought him a cake to build up his strength for next week. We were pleased to see Adrian Smale from Salisbury. He is co-ordinating a Zimbabwean service at his church.  See ‘Events and Notices’ for more details.  We were also pleased to be joined again by Frank Johnson, an American IT specialist, who has worked in Africa and has a special interest in Zimbabwe. 

London was very crowded today and loads of passers-by stopped to watch our singing and dancing on a very hot day. 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 172 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·        
ROHR (Anniversary) National Fundraising Party. Saturday 26th September from 12 noon to late. Venue: The Portland Pavilion, 241 Portland Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B17 8LS. Admission: £10. Contacts: V J Mujeye 07534 034 594, Abigail Nzimba 07838 073 111, Diane Mutendereki 07502 478 591. For information on directions: 0121 434 5130. ROHR is looking for male and female models with their own African clothing for a fashion show at this fundraiser.  All ages and sizes welcome. Those interested please contact: Pamela Dunduru 07553253639, Diana Mtendereki 07502478591, Pauline Makuwere 07533332306, Martha Jiya 07727016098, Abigail Nzimba 07838073111 or Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323-07932216070. See poster on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/3907390469/sizes/o/

·        
Zimbabwe Worship Service. Sunday 27th September from 10.30 – 12.00 followed by Zimbabwean food from 12 – 3 pm. Venue: Elim Christian Centre, Dews Road, Salisbury SP2 7SN. Zimbabwean speaker. Contact: Adrian Smale, 01722 770024, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.elimsalisbury.org.uk.
·         ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873, Gift Pfupa 07909831158 or Sekai Mujeyi 07765244138 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070
·         ROHR Surrey & Hants general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 10 Elmdene Court, Constitution Hill, Woking, Surrey, GU22 7SA. Contact: Isacc Mudzamiri 07774044873, Thoko Hlokama 07886203113, Thandi Mabodoko 01483600201, 01483826764 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Feed back from the Chair's meeting held in Coventry
 
·         Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October at 6.30 pm.  The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, 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
.
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall
Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
·         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. More 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 – 12th September 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 13 September 2009 17:55

Africa demands western aid for Mugabe to spend at Harrods’. This is the essence of the message from the SADC summit in Kinshasa this week – and the message we will be driving home at the Zimbabwe Vigil in London. To us at the Vigil the SADC outcome came as no surprise; as readers of this diary will know we have never had any faith in this mafia.   

Today we relaunched our petition challenging SADC: ‘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.’ 

This petition was initiated two years ago and a first tranche of many thousands of signatures was submitted to the EU on our 6th anniversary last year.  We suspended it when the ‘unity government’ was established to give SADC an opportunity to meet its obligations to Zimbabwe following the Global Political Agreement; a waste of time, of course.   

The Vigil plans to present the petition again with thousands more signatures to an EU representative at the Vigil on 10th October when we will be marking our 7th anniversary of campaigning outside Zimbabwe House for human rights.  

On that day we will have Mugabe and ‘first shopper’ Grace (or actors impersonating them) photographed outside Harrods and subsequently taking their newly-bought handbags and heels to the Embassy. SADC High Commissioners in London will be invited to witness the shopping expedition and kiss the shoes and stick their hands into the bags. 

On a lovely late summer day, bright and warm, the Vigil gave a thunderous answer to SADC ‘To save Zimbabwe, Mugabe must go’.  

Some other points:
1.       The Vigil’s congratulations to Governor Gono on taking occupation of his 112 room Harare mansion with its 3 helipads. Amazing what they pay civil servants in Zimbabwe
.
2.      
Our views on SADC echo those of Cathy Buckle and Tanonoka Whande (http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/sep13_2009.html#Z14, http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/heart100909.htm).          
3.       We were glad to see Cloudy Muhamba. He had been coming to the Vigil and suddenly disappeared. We later heard he had been imprisoned for working illegally. 
4.       The Vigil is often asked to support this or that cause. We want to state here again that our mission is to promote human rights in Zimbabwe and we cannot be deflected from this.
5.      
Following last week’s diary in which we mentioned being given a wad of Zimbabwean 100 trillion dollar notes we have had a request from The Zimbabwean newspaper to collect as many as we can for them to use for promotional purposes.  So we have stopped selling them and if anyone can give us more the Zimbabwean will use them to good effect.
6.       Thanks to Phakama Simozo and Priscilla Kwembeya who were first at the Vigil to set up. They helped throughout and were there at the end to help clear up. The Vigil is dependent on this type of support to keep going. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:   127 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         ROHR (Anniversary) National Fundraising Party. Saturday 26th September from 12 noon to late. Venue: The Portland Pavilion, 241 Portland Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B17 8LS. Admission: £10 (includes food). Contacts: V J Mujeye 07534 034 594, Abigail Nzimba 07838 073 111, Diane Mutendereki 07502 478 591. For information on directions: 0121 434 5130. ROHR is looking for male and female models with their own African clothing for a fashion show at this fundraiser.  All ages and sizes welcome. Those interested please contact: Pamela Dunduru 07553253639, Diana Mtendereki 07502478591, Pauline Makuwere 07533332306, Martha Jiya 07727016098, Abigail Nzimba 07838073111 or Paradzai Mapfumo
07915926323-07932216070. Event poster: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/3907390469/sizes/o/
·         Zimbabwe Worship Service. Sunday 27th September from 10.30 – 12.00 followed by Zimbabwean food from 12 – 3 pm. Venue: Elim Christian Centre, Dews Road, Salisbury SP2 7SN. Zimbabwean speaker. Contact: Adrian Smale, 01722 770024, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.elimsalisbury.org.uk.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October at 6.30 pm.  The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, 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.
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall
Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
·         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. Further 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 – 5th September 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 06 September 2009 16:07

The Vigil felt vindicated at the announcement this week that the Zimbabwe regime has agreed an amnesty for some 1,500 prisoners. We are often asked by passers-by what we hope to achieve.  A group of former Zimbabweans came past and asked us this very question today. Well, we think that by our amnesty campaign alone we have saved some lives.  We launched our campaign on Independence Day (18/04/09) following an SABC television report on the horrific conditions in Zimbabwean jails. Our proposal was initially derided by the regime and we are glad that they have now seen the light.  We continue to demand that Zimbabwe imprisons only the number of people it can cope with humanely.   

Ahead of the SADC summit in Kinshasha, the Vigil sent two petitions to the organisation’s Executive Secretary, Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomão, with a request that he draw them to the attention of SADC leaders. The petitions, signed by thousands of people, were:
1.       We call upon the Southern African Development Community – as guarantors of the Zimbabwe power-sharing agreement – to put pressure on the new Zimbabwean government of national unity to stop the blatant abuse of human rights of prisoners in Zimbabwe who are dying of starvation, disease and torture.
2.       We call upon the Southern African Development Community – as guarantors of the Zimbabwe power-sharing government – to put pressure on President Mugabe to honour the agreement.  More than six months into the unity government, Mugabe is still resisting a return to the rule of law, deterring essential foreign development aid and investment. 

As for hopes that SADC would act honourably on Zimbabwe, we are not optimistic. We were particularly offended by the patronizing tone of South Africa’s  Director-General of International Relations and Co-operation, Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, who said ‘Congo will struggle (as the new chair of SADC) – but it could benefit from the experience’. Great! So much for Zimbabwe – a toy for the Congolese to practice on.   

We were encouraged  that a former senior British diplomat to Zimbabwe dropped by and signed the following petition: ‘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.’ 

We were joined at the Vigil by two human rights campaigners, one English and the other American.  One topic of conversation was the possibility of a citizen’s arrest should the European Union again allow entrance to someone on the targeted sanctions list.  We were unhappy that Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengengwi was allowed in on Tsvangirai’s visit and do not want to allow this to go unchallenged in future.  

One reason we all come to the Vigil is because of the warm support we get from passers-by. An American came by and gave us a wad of one hundred trillion (100,000,000,000,000) Zimbabwean dollar notes. We decided to sell them at one pound each but we were so successful we will, in true Zimbabwe inflationary style, raise the price to £5 next week.  

Another visitor was our friend Steve Garvey, a teacher at Dolphin School in South London. He raised money for the Vigil by running the London marathon and together with efforts by his pupils gave us some £900. Today he brought along another contribution from one of his pupils, Ben Fletcher, who single-handedly raised £56.  We took the opportunity to discuss with Steve how we are using this money – we are in the process of buying sports equipment and stationery for Zimbabwean schools. 

It was good to hear from Mike Auret this week. He told us about his new book due to be published this month. See ‘Events and Notices’ section for details. (This replaces our ‘For your Diary’ section so that we can include notices and not just diary items.) 

We were pleased that our attendance held up despite two rival attractions – Zimfest and an MDC UK meeting on the 10th anniversary of the MDC called to discuss missing funds.  

Thanks to Sue Toft who brought ‘Mugabe Must Go’ wristbands which proved very popular. Thanks also to Josephine Zhuga and George Mapanda who were waiting ahead of the start of the Vigil to help set up. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  97 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         ROHR Northampton and Kettering general meeting. Saturday 12th September from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Mary's Church, Abbey Road, Northampton, NN4 8EZ. ROHR UK Executive present.  Contact: Norian Chindowa 07954379426, A Chimimba 07799855806, Willard Mudonzvo 07591686724, Marshall Rusike 07884246888, Hazvineyi Masuka 07795164664. P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·         ROHR Birmingham general meeting. Saturday 12th September at 2 pm. Venue: Bishop Latimer Church, 28 Handsworth New Road, Birmingham B18 4PT. Contact: Adrey Marere 07788797365,Tsiti Mavhura 07932477842, Morris Mutanga 07882602249, P Mapfumo 07915926323 or Des Parayiwa 07815565335
·         Zimbabwe Worship Service. Sunday 27th September from 10.30 – 12.00 followed by Zimbabwean food from 12 – 3 pm. Venue: Elim Christian Centre, Dews Road, Salisbury SP2 7SN. Zimbabwean speaker. Contact: Adrian Smale, 01722 770024, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.elimsalisbury.org.uk.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October at 6.30 pm.  The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, 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.
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
·         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 absorbing 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. Further 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 – 29th August 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 30 August 2009 17:23

Despite the upbeat reaction, Vigil supporters were pessimistic about the outcome of Zuma’s visit to Zimbabwe. South Africa has clearly dropped its ‘Crisis – what crisis?’ blinkers – but Zuma doesn’t seem to have grasped that the crisis is not just economic.   There was nothing in his public statements to suggest that he understood the gravity of the situation or was prepared to do anything about it.  

For instance, Zuma could start by stopping the supply of SA ammunition to Mugabe. John Huruva, one of the early MDC people in the UK, is convinced that this ammunition is to be used against the Zimbabwean people. Vigil supporters discussed an article he had written in which he says ’we have seen the same kind of scenario in Rwanda where almost a million civilians were massacred’. 

What kind of scenario is John talking about? Zanu-PF’s strategy, he says, is to hold on to power at all costs. As its popularity wanes it relies more and more on state brutality driven by the desire to protect their loot, the fear of facing justice and the realisation that their party will not win a free and fair election. Huruva believes that beatings etc as a strategy for ‘winning’ the next elections have already started in remote rural areas.  ‘What is almost certain,’ he says, ‘is that the killings are coming.’  

Mr Huruva has agreed to come along to the next Vigil to discuss his article, which you can see via this link: http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/aug29_2009.html#Z15 

Some early comments by people at the Vigil:
·        
‘One thing about Zanu-PF: they have always made clear their murderous intentions. People must take them at their word.’
·        
‘Hate speech is getting worse again. You can see from the way the government reported Zuma’s remarks that nothing has changed.’
·        
‘Zanu-PF doesn’t care about aid to rebuild the country. They are OK.’
·         ‘The SADC meeting in DRC will only thank Kabila for flying Chinese arms to Mugabe.’ 

Given all the talk about the economy, the Vigil was surprised that one announcement seems to have escaped attention. Dun & Bradstreet has rated Zimbabwe as the worst place in the world to invest in – along with Afghanistan. D & B’s credit ratings are used by banks and businesses throughout the world.   

Discussion of the situation at home kept us busy on an otherwise (for us) rather quiet Vigil – not surprising as it was the start of the late summer long weekend holiday.   

We were joined at the Vigil by David Adelstein, who is making a film about Zimbabweans in the UK based around the Vigil, called Vura Nzita – ‘Open the Road’. David said he was invited to show part of the film to an MDC meeting in Oxford but when the organizers found out it would show Tsvangirai being booed at Southwark Cathedral they pulled the plug.  When people asked why the film was not being shown, the organizers said there wasn’t time for it. The large audience was pretty unhappy about this so David says they can contact him on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if they want him to show the film. 

Thanks to Constance and Takunda Manyimani who were at the Vigil ahead of the start to help unload and set up the Vigil. Thanks also to Edwick Office and Gladys Mapanda who helped on the front and back tables throughout the Vigil.  

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

FOR THE RECORD:  115 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         ROHR Coventry party. Saturday 5th September from 4 pm till midnight. Venue: St Paul's Church, Foleshill Road, Coventry CV6 5AJ. Food, drinks, ne Doro available. Admission £3.50. Contact (Chairman) E. Nyakudya
07876796129, (Secretary) Pauline Makuwere 07533332306, (Organizer) Matambanashe Sibanda 07886660392, (Treasurer) V.J Mujeye 07534034594.
·         ROHR Northampton and Kettering general meeting. Saturday 12th September from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Mary's Church Abbey Road, Northampton, NN4 8EZ. ROHR UK Executive present.  Contact: Norian Chindowa 07954379426, A Chimimba 07799855806, Willard Mudonzvo 07591686724, Marshall Rusike 07884246888, Hazvineyi Masuka 07795164664. P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·         Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday, 10th October at 6.30 pm.  The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, 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
.
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall
Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
·         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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How can you help?

The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.