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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 9th January 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 January 2010 20:32

Snow at the Vigil. It’s our eighth winter protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy but the first time it has snowed. The temperature was below zero centigrade – worsened by a piercing wind from the Arctic / Siberia. We were cheered, on such a desolate day, that so many people made the journey – especially since transport was disrupted and some people were snowed in. To protect us from the elements we used two tarpaulins – one to catch the snow and the other as a windbreak. The bleak conditions were lightened by our singing and drumming.   

During the week the Vigil sent the following letter to the International Development Committee of the British Parliament, which is to review the British government’s aid to Zimbabwe. 

“The Zimbabwe Vigil wishes to express its opposition to any dilution of the pressure on Mugabe and his cronies until they comply fully with the Global Political Agreement signed with the two MDC factions in September 2008.  

We believe, in particular, that to give development aid to the coalition government is premature and will send the wrong signals not only to Mugabe and his Zanu PF party but also to members of the European Union and other countries which have adopted measures against Zimbabwe 

The Vigil wishes to advise the Committee that it is running the following petition dealing with aid to Zimbabwe: ‘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.’ 

The petition has been signed so far by some 9,000 people from all over the world who have passed by the Vigil in recent months. They are not convinced that there has been real change in Zimbabwe 

The Vigil has been demonstrating outside Zimbabwe House, London, for free and fair elections every Saturdaysince 12th October 2002.  The Observer newspaper (several years ago) described us as the largest regular demonstration in London.    

We would like to take the opportunity to draw your attention to a recent article by the Zimbabwean economist John Robertson, which criticises the economic recovery programme of the ‘inclusive’ government.” 

We are still accepting signatures for this petition and it will present it to the British government at an appropriate time. There are big changes afoot. The EU is to discuss the renewal of its measures against Zimbabwe next month and that might be the time to submit the petition. 9000 signatures may not seem much – but they are those of people who have stopped and engaged us at the Vigil – not just clicked an internet button.  

We were pleased to welcome back David McAllister, who has been cruising the world on a luxury liner as an internet café manager.  He set up our website and has now added a new feature on our home page – a slide show of the most recent Vigil photos. These will change as each Vigil set is added to our Flickr photo website. 

Thanks also to Lungile Ncube and Collin Chitekwe for their athletic lamp post climbing to put a roof over our shivering supporters.  Congratulations to Enock Dzonga on the birth of his daughter.

The documentary film about farm seizures ‘Mugabe and the White African’ was reviewed in the Times on 8th January – text below: 

“Mugabe and the White African (A powerful documentary that pits a white farmer and his son-in-law against President Mugabe in a battle for their farm) – by

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/film_reviews/article6979465.
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In Mugabe and the White African, Michael Campbell, a gentle, dry, 75-year-old farmer from Zimbabwe, asks: “Is it possible to be white and African?” If you’re President Mugabe, the answer is a brutal “no”.  

This powerful documentary pits Campbell and his son-in-law Ben Freeth against their country’s dictator in a battle for their farm, which is holding out – just – against the land seizure campaign that has already led to thousands of white Zimbabweans being forcibly evicted. Their plan? To take the Government of “a country without a rulebook” to an international tribunal that will force it to stop.  

But it’s a race against time. Groups of men with knives and axes stalk their maize fields at night, while neighbours are filmed breaking their settler stoicism and weeping as their own farm is taken for Mugabe’s flunkies, and their friends and workers — black and white alike — are uprooted. The madness in Zimbabwe is not news, but here a human story crystallises it first by seeming curious, then quickly compelling and then horrifically shocking before the final courtroom drama. The hate, fear and greed on show all hit you in your gut — it’s impossible not to steam at the sight of the braggart government minister’s son waiting by his new 4x4 outside the farm, telling Campbell and Freeth how he will simply take their home. But your lasting emotions are of respect for the two farmers, mixed with a lingering, helpless sadness.” 

This film is up for an Oscar and is going to be shown all over the world. It will not improve Zimbabwe’s image. 

We noted that we were quoted  in an article in the Zimbabwe Independent. We applaud every effort by journalists in Zimbabwe to expose corruption:
http://www.theindependent.co.zw/comment/24811-decade-of-hope-may-be-may-be-not.html.
 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 136 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           'Mugabe and the white African' is showing until 14th January at The Empire, Leicester Square (www.empirecinemas.co.uk), until 21st January at the ICA (www.ica.org.uk) and until 14th January at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh (www.filmhousecinema.com).
·           ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 23rd January from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni (Chair Wakefield), 07748828913, Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Beauty Sikosana 07940181761 or David Munemo 07963708923.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           ROHR Hayes fundraising party. Saturday 27th February from 3 pm till late. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 3AB. Admission £7.50 including food (lots of traditional food: Mazondo, Maguru mubhoora and all). Fashion show. Zim Music. Raffle: tickets £5. Prizes include: computer, printer, mobile handset, DVD player. To be drawn at 10.30 pm. Nearest station: Bletchley. Bus number 5 from central Milton Keynes or Bletchley. For more info contact Rodah Kuhlengisa 07958205544, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Martha Jiya 07727016098 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·           Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
·           For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 26/12/2009:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 2nd January 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 03 January 2010 18:37

Vigil supporters were interested to see that the British press has picked up a story about the suspension of the MDC UK executive: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/mdc-blames-expats-as-money-vanishes-from-overseas-offices-1853930.html. As we reported in our diary of 28th November, the MDC Secretary General, Tendai Biti, announcing the suspension, accused the executive of financial irregularities. Virtually everyone at the Vigil is MDC or former MDC and we know the depths to which the party in the United Kingdom has sunk to get money and we have a general picture of where it went.  

We were interested to see that the Party’s Chairman, Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo (of the 200 portraits), has been nominated to lead a team to investigate the matter. He installed the rogue UK executive and must have an intimate knowledge of where the money went. Or he could ask Tsvangirai’s uncle, Hebson Makuvise, the Ambassador-designate to Germany. He was Tsvangirai’s representative in the UK so his knowledge of where the money went is even more intimate….. 

Reports say that the MDC has 800 members in the UK. The Vigil has 6,500 names on our register. What is clear is that it is the Vigil rather than the MDC which represents the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK. 

It was good to have old friends back after Boxing Day’s ‘bleak midwinter’ Vigil (2 videos shot then by Motherland ENT can be found on the following links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk&feature=related). More than 3 times as many people were present today. They were amused by reports of Welshman Ncube joining the Zanu PF sycophants grovelling on his knees to Mugabe. Welshman’s blaming of the international media for the fuss about the Nestle scandal shows how out of touch he is with the real world.   

During the week the Vigil sent the following email to Nestle’s Head Office in Zurich, Switzerland: ‘The Zimbabwe Vigil applauds Nestle's decision to stop buying milk from Mrs Mugabe's stolen farm in Zimbabwe. We urge you to stand firm in a country where the rule of law is disregarded.’ It now appears that Nestle has agreed to some dodgy deal and, if this proves to be true, we will be joining calls for a world-wide boycott of Nestle products. 

We note that Biti has called another investment conference for next month in a new attempt to persuade the West that all is well in Zimbabwe. He must know that the Nestle incident will have been noted in boardrooms all over the world: no rule of law. He will have to revert to Plan A – the delicate balancing act of begging from Western governments while insulting them at the same time. (see article by Zimbabwean economist John Robertson: http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=26209 on Biti’s failure to acknowledge the realities of the causes behind Zimbabwe’s bankruptcy). 

This article will form part of a submission by the Vigil to the International Development Committee of the British Parliament which is conducting an inquiry into Britain’s aid to Zimbabwe. The Vigil is arguing that targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies must be continued and that no aid money must fall into his claws. Submissions have to be in by 8th January and we will give more details of our submission next week.  

Some other points:
1.       We were interested to see that a photo of the Father Cholera Vigil of 20th December 2008 is being used by Anglican Information as a 2009 Christmas message in which they highlight the excesses of Nolbert Kunonga (former Bishop of Harare). See: http://www.anglican-information.blogspot.com/. One of our supporters, David Kadzutu addressed the Vigil about the appalling treatment of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe by the Mugabe authorities.
2.       Biggest laugh of the day was prompted by Jenatry Muranganwa when he said ‘there is freedom of speech in Zimbabwe’. After a puzzled silence from the Vigil, he added: ‘the trouble is there is no freedom after speech’.
3.       We were joined by a young Iranian couple with a banner protesting at the oppression in their own country. They joined in our dancing. One of them said they were united with other nations suffering from dictatorship. They were very excited about the prospects of revolutionary change in their country – they certainly don’t support the word from Harare of closer links between Mugabe and the Iranian regime.
4.       It was again absolutely freezing but, to be positive, it wasn’t raining or snowing or windy . . . 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 145 signed the register.   

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           ROHR Woking Food Hamper Raffle Draw. Saturday 9th January from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Church House, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Tickets: £5. 3 prizes: 1st prize £50 Zimbabwean food hamper, 2nd prize £25 of Zimbabwean groceries, 3rd prize ROHR T-Shirt worth £10. Prizes to be presented by Rodah Kuhlengisa (ROHR Hayes & National Fundraiser). For info contact Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Thandiwe Mabodoko 07552402416 or P Mapfumo 07932216070 / 07915926323.
·           ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 23rd January from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni (Chair Wakefield), 07748828913, Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Beauty Sikosana 07940181761 or David Munemo 07963708923.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           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 26/12/2009 can be seen on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdPsBsief0s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX6sv2T9gwk&feature=related).  

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 26th December 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 December 2009 17:33

A small Vigil. Although we had a break from the snow in London, transport was restricted because of the Christmas holidays and street life was subdued, despite the Christmas sales. Many supporters had contacted us to say because of a lack of trains they were unable to join us.  But being fewer in number gave us an opportunity to get to know each other better.   

Among our first visitors were a Cameroonian lady and her husband who said things were even worse in her country. We agreed this may well be so but said that as Zimbabweans we had to fight for our own country. Also Zimbabwe had shown that it could be a productive, prosperous country – unlike most African states – but had been wantonly destroyed. From being one of the richest countries in Africa it was now one of the poorest. She saw our point. 

The messages put out by Morgan Tsvangirai do not give us much reason to cheer.  What worries us is that no sooner does the MDC leadership demand that the GPA negotiations be wrapped up by 15th January than Tsvangirai joins hands with Mugabe and agrees that the deadline can be postponed.  The negotiators are apparently ‘fatigued’. Their occasional meetings must be exhausting given the jet-lag from their travels abroad and the demands of their farming activities etc. Asked about the closedown of Swiss-owned Nestle because of bullying by Zanu PF, Tsvangirai described it as ‘an overreaction’ – just as he had earlier dismissed farm invasions as ‘isolated incidents’.  

Tsvangirai’s difficulties with reality give us little confidence that the MDC – which so many of us have supported since the beginning – is any longer the party people at the Vigil campaigned for.  Especially when Speaker Moyo throws a tantrum because he doesn’t like the official photograph he commissioned and wants a new one taken to display around the country.  To cheer him up we have a set of his portraits on our Flickr photo website (see link below) – only 20 not the 200 pictures he wants Parliament to pay for. We in the UK think that Moyo should pay for them himself. From our dealings with him we are well aware that he has been assiduous in securing his own financial position . . . . 

Well we at the Vigil find it difficult to believe that the MDC is not being progressively swallowed by the Mugabe corruption and that perhaps Zimbabwe’s fate is that of benighted Cameroon.  Flickering in the Embassy windows night and day, taunting us, is a television display of life at home: the Victoria Falls, the game parks, smiling photos of Tsvangirai shaking hands with his friends Mugabe and Mutambara. We could say that it doesn’t do Mugabe’s climate-change credentials any good having this television on 24 /7. But the main point is does Tsvangirai want to be the public voice of the fascist Zanu-PF regime? 

We stood in the cold, flanked by our banners: ‘No to Mugabe, no to starvation’ and ‘End murder, rape and torture in Zimbabwe’ as we have done ever since we started more than 7 years ago. We see no reason to change these banners.  We could only agree with the latest commentary by the Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist Tanonoka Joseph Whande: ‘Nothing on the ground indicates that there is any change, in real terms, because the horrors and nightmares that existed before still exist only that this time they are legitimized by the MDC’s presence in this so-called government of national unity’. (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/heart241209.htm) 

Thanks to Lungile Ncube and Godfrey Madzunga who arrived early and helped set up the Vigil and took charge of the merchandise and register.  Lungile also made his own poster. We were interested to be joined by Dora Mbuwayesango, a Zimbabwean living in North Carolina who is visiting the UK. The Pedzeni family from Bedford were all with us again and special thanks to June Pedzeni who helped look after the front table. June tells us that they arrived at their local station to find there were no trains so all piled into their car and drove to the Vigil.  They were relieved to find parking was free because it was a public holiday (you may be interested to know that parking local to the Vigil is £4.40 an hour!)  The music was particularly good thanks to the drumming and singing of Primrose Ratohwa. She and the rest of us were filmed by Mathias Makozhombwe and Nasiso Kashiri of Motherland ENT, a Zimbabwean music production outfit based in Coventry.   

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

FOR THE RECORD:   45 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           ROHR Woking Food Hamper Raffle Draw. Saturday 9th January from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Church House, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Tickets: £5. 3 prizes: 1st prize £50 Zimbabwean food hamper, 2nd prize £25 of Zimbabwean groceries, 3rd prize ROHR T-Shirt worth £10. Prizes to be presented by Rodah Kuhlengisa (ROHR Hayes & National Fundraiser). For info contact Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Thandiwe Mabodoko 07552402416 or P Mapfumo 07932216070 / 07915926323.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 
·           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 – 19th December 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 December 2009 14:17

There was a good turnout at one of the coldest Vigils ever. After several days of snow the sky was clear but even singing and dancing couldn’t keep us warm as the temperature hovered around zero.   

We united in wishing a happy Christmas to our families and friends at home and to our supporters everywhere. We had the privilege of meeting two of them in London this week: Jestina Mukoko, the human rights activist, and Ben Freeth, the farmer targeted by Mugabe’s thugs.  

Several Vigil members attended a meeting at the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum addressed by Jestina (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/sets/72157623036066442/ for picture). She expressed gratitude to the Vigil for our support when she was in prison being tortured and spoke of ‘unsung heroes’. Jestina warned that the Mugabe regime had learned nothing from her case and were continuing to perpetrate atrocities.   

Other Vigil supporters spoke to Ben Freeth at a private screening at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of a documentary about his persecution ‘Mugabe and the White African’.  He also expressed thanks to the Vigil for our work in continuing to expose the absence of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. This award-winning film will be shown all over the world and will do much to puncture the Zanu-MDC propaganda that things are returning to normal in Zimbabwe. People will wonder, if this type of behaviour is ‘normal’, what kind of country Zimbabwe is.  

Well, in keeping with the season, the Vigil hopes that Christmas will bring us good news of political progress. But we know that Santa Claus often disappoints and we have no great expectations. In fact we were not surprised to read suggestions of new concessions by the MDC. One report (see: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/local/24787-joc-wont-go-zanu-pf.html) speaks of them agreeing to get SADC to approach Botswana and Madagascar to stop relays of SW Radio Africa and VOA, a joint demand for the end of targeted sanctions and moves to force NGOs to channel funds through the government – to our mind all ludicrous suggestions.  

Our wish for 2010 is that the MDC resists being incorporated by Zanu-PF and that SADC plucks up courage and orders Mugabe to implement the agreement he signed 15 months ago. But as we all know New Year wishes seldom come true.  

Our partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) took part in two demonstrations to mark international human rights day. The organisation’s Secretary General, Tichanzii Gandanga, spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 people in Bindura on 11th December. He said the coalition government had a long way to go to achieve a genuine spirit of inclusivity. ROHR was also one of the organisers of a meeting in Gweru the following day when singing demonstrators marched to Town House to protest at the human rights situation (see reports on: www.rohrzimbabwe.org).  

Some other points:
·       We will be meeting next Saturday as usual although it’s Boxing Day.  Be warned that transport might be affected, but many supporters are determined to gather despite everything.
·       We were happy to welcome again the whole of the Pedzeni family from Bedford (mother, father and their 3 grown-up children – June, Tendai, Ashley, Ada and Atipa).
·       A cameraman from a Polish television station spent the afternoon with us filming interviews about refugees. We explained that, despite the propaganda, Zimbabweans still suffered under a repressive regime.
·       One supporter gave us a harrowing account of the recent arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of her mother. We are not at liberty to divulge any further details in case of repercussions but we were horrified at her treatment.
·        Happy 3rd birthday to faithful attender Zizi, son of Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani and his wife Gugu.
·       Thanks to Vigil stalwarts Gladys Mapanda and Josephine Zhuga who were there at the start, organised the setting up of the Vigil and manned the two tables. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  152 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           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 – 12th December 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 13 December 2009 16:06

The Vigil began well with an enthusiastic supporter reporting that MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti had criticised President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces, Terror of Mankind Robert Mugabe. Our supporter said he had woken up to an early morning news report on BBC radio about the Zanu-PF Congress. It was followed by an interview with Biti, who apparently spoke about Mugabe ‘sulking and adopting a wait and see attitude’. Of course, in his dozy state our supporter had misheard. It turns out that Biti was being interviewed while on a visit to Manchester (yes, England!) and was criticising the West and not Mugabe.   

Silly mistake. We should have known at once how unlikely it was that Biti would criticise Mugabe – despite Mugabe’s characteristic hate speech against Britain at the party congress, this time with his own mocking rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’. (The man must have practised and deserves a spot at the last night of the Proms.)  

What is Biti on about? He appears to say the West is sulking when it is pouring in humanitarian aid. Is he the mouthpiece of Mugabe, expecting Britain to accept these insults and lift targeted sanctions when Biti’s own party says only 12% of the reforms agreed in the GPA have been implemented.  

All of us at the Vigil recognised the truth of the latest report by one of the MDC stalwarts, Eddie Cross, in which he said ‘Attempts to reform the media and allow new broadcasting and TV channels have been met with total resistance even though they agreed to the reforms in the GPA. Only 12 per cent of the reforms negotiated over two years under the facilitation of SADC have been implemented in 9 months of political squabbling. No progress on democratic conditions for elections, no progress on the rule of law, freedom of assembly and association, no progress on the enforcement of contract law and respect for property rights, no progress on media reform.’ 

The Vigil was amused that Biti popped up in Britain only weeks after complaining about the millions of dollars being spent on official jaunts by the Zim ruling class. This would have to change, he said, while booking himself a ticket to Manchester for an obscure university meeting. Did Biti really have to be there when there are delicate negotiations going on at home on the future of the country?  

The Vigil expects that Biti along with all the other movers and shakers in Zimbabwe will move on to Copenhagen for the climate do.  Last word is that Mugabe is taking about 60 and Tsvangirai 20.  We are disturbed at this disparity and demand that Tsvangirai should be allowed to take another 40 people at least. He could take the entire staff of the Zimbabwean Meteorological Office. They recently confessed that foreign airlines could not safely overfly Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe could never tell them the weather conditions.  

PS For all these ‘movers and shakers’, the best place for shopping is in downtown Copenhagen where there are many small side streets off the main pedestrian thoroughfare. As for clubs the best are Rust, Guldbergsgade 8 and Vega, Enghavevej 40. They can get 10% off designer clothes or champagne dinners if they mention the word ‘Vigil’. 

Despite the cold people didn’t disperse until long after our scheduled close. The strongest message was ‘To save Zimbabwe, Mugabe must go’. 

Other points:
·           A group from an organisation ‘Communities Point’ joined us all the way from Yorkshire.
·           Highlight of the season so far was SW Radio Africa’s Christmas Card. Their email entitled ‘SWRA wishes to refute the scurrilous allegations that we are a pirate radio station’ showed a photo of the whole staff dressed up as pirates. Check on our photo website: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/sets/72157622988334994/.
·           Hats off to one intrepid supporter from Cardiff, Wales. Mesline Ndebele, got up at 5 to catch the coach to London. She first visited her seriously ill sister in hospital in London then came on to the Vigil. She told us she would not get home till 1 am.
·           Many of the Vigil management team were away today through illness and previous commitments. Thanks to Jonathan Kariwoh, Godfrey Madzunga, Josephine Zhuga and Caroline Witts who stepped in to manage the two Vigil tables today. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  199 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           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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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.