Banner
ZimVigil Diary Entries
Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 29th January 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 30 January 2011 12:33

Vigil supporters have been watching the unfolding revolution in North Africa with fascination – but with little expectation of a similar street uprising in Zimbabwe 

Why are we different? Zimbabweans too are victims of a brutal and corrupt regime.  Perhaps the problem is the poor quality of opposition leaders . . . But then they are not opposition now are they?  

Certainly it doesn’t seem so from the vacuous answers Morgan Tsvangirai gave at the Davos meeting of world movers and shakers (see: http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=24). What are your feelings about a free and fair election being possible he was asked. The Prime Minister replied that as long as the AU and SADC played their part then the “Zanu PF dirty tricks will be minimized.” Asked about the 51% indigenisation of businesses, Mr Tsvangirai said changes had been made to the law, plans were being drawn up and that it was not a compulsory takeover but one of mutual agreement. Asked about land reform and if farmers were going to be able to return to their properties to farm, Mr Tsvangirai said: “that is gone, we are past that.” 

Mr Tsvangirai’s comments were unlikely to attract investment from the assembled world bankers. But then Tsvangirai is hardly a mover and shaker. He doesn’t seem to have noticed that the cabinet has not met since December – not that it makes any difference as he has no power of any consequence. Two years in government and the shambolic constitution-making process is a year behind schedule. And (big revelation!) nothing has been done about the rotten voters’ roll with thousands of people older even than Mugabe.  

As we gathered on an icy day in London, we were worried by the supine reaction of the MDC leadership to the mounting evidence that the military have already launched a terror campaign to maintain the Mugabe mafia in power. As day by day more violence is reported, a senior officer, Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena, has apparently told local Zanu PF leaders in Mashonaland West that soldiers are taking charge of the party’s election campaign. It is expected that some 80,000 soldiers, war veterans and youth militia – about the same number as the estimated ghost workers in the Zimbabwe civil service! – are being deployed to intimidate MDC supporters in a campaign even more bloody than the 2008 presidential run-off.  

What is the MDC leadership doing to counter this? The Vigil suggests a massive demonstration during the visit to Zimbabwe planned by an African Union mission to assess the electoral conditions. If the police clamp down on this demonstration it will be in the full sight of Africa. We propose a march to the hotel to welcome the delegation.  

Or will the MDC leadership follow Malawi’s example and spend their energies outlawing farting? (Check: http://www.nyasatimes.com/national/malawi-%E2%80%98farting-crime%E2%80%99-makes-british-headlines.html and http://www.nyasatimes.com/national/farting-to-be-punishable-by-local-courts.html.) 

Other points
·       Vigil management team member Luka Phiri was invited to an annual lunch at the Anne Frank Trust on Holocaust Memorial Day which was addressed by former South African President F W de Klerk. Check http://www.annefrank.org.uk/node/256 for a photo of Luka standing next to Mr de Klerk.
·       It was good to welcome Vigil supporter Richard Taruvinga’s two young sons (12 and 7 years) who have just arrived from Zimbabwe.  They start English school on Tuesday. (They were not impressed by the weather!)
·       A supporter who works for Lonrho and in the past has given us a bundle of Zimbabwean $100 trillion notes came by. He recounted a joke about the note which he was told in Harare in 2009 – ‘the pictures on the note are all symbolic: the waterfall symbolizes the direction of the economy, the big load of bull is a symbol of government policy and the balancing rocks are symbolic of what you have in your head if you think you can buy anything with this!’
·       There has been an explosion of technology at the Vigil thanks to ZimVigil TV. Supporters can watch themselves on a television screen as they dance and sing and before they leave they can pick up a DVD of the action. 
·      The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum are inviting some people from Zimbabwean civil society to the UK who are keen to visit the Vigil.  On Saturday 19th February we hope to host Okay Machisa, the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Kucaca Phulu, Chair of ZimRights and possibly Gabriel Shumba of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and Gideon Shoko of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Union. We are hoping they will bring to the Vigil photos of victim of political violence which are part of Zimrights’ ‘Reflections’ photo exhibition with which they are touring Europe.
·      The television in the Zimbabwe Embassy was showing the tourism film ‘Zimbabwe: World of Wonders’- one wonder being that a holiday resort can be invaded  on the pretext of acting for the government’s policy of taking over businesses . . .


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

For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/   

FOR THE RECORD: 114 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
·           ROHR Ashford Kent general meeting. Saturday 5th February, Venue: the Star Pub, Ashford, Kent TN24 8PA opposite Liquid Night Club off Hythe Road, 5 mins walk from Ashford International Station. ROHR executive members present. Contact Danmore Munyuki 07535213801, Munyaradzi Badze 07709317869, Egbert Mtengwa 07985592931 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting.  Saturday 5th February from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 OHF00-1700hrs. For more info contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 5th February from 2 – 6 pm, Venue: Woking Homes, Oriental Road, Woking, GU22 7BE. Contact, Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Saziso Zulu 07861028280 or P.Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Meeting. Monday 21st February at 7.30 pm. Venue: offices of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT. Nearest tube: Old Street. Speakers: Okay Machisa and Kucaca Phulu of ZimRights.
·           Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·           Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and 0send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe
·           Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part. 

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 22nd January 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 23 January 2011 17:33

Vigil supporters were overjoyed by news that management team member Luka Phiri has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. His face told everything: a beaming smile.  Luka has had a long struggle to get his papers, mostly because he arrived in the UK on a Malawi passport. Despite all the evidence that he is Zimbabwean the Home Office detained him in January 2009 and threatened to deport him to Malawi. The Vigil and others organised a successful campaign to secure his release.  

Luka is a long-time Vigil supporter and a committed activist in the fight against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. He also works for the Zimbabwean refugee organisation the Zimbabwe Association which has made him invaluable at the Vigil for his unstinting help and advice to other asylum seekers. Together with Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani he walked 55 miles in one day, leaving Brighton at 5 am and arriving at the Vigil in the evening in support of tumour sufferer Tare Mapungwana, who was in London for an operation.  

When the news of his successful asylum appeal got out, Luka tells us he received emails from 3 MPs who had been campaigning for him. There were messages of congratulations from Vigil supporters all over the country.  Luka said ‘Thank you so much to the Vigil’. 

Like so many others, Luka finds it difficult to see any future in Zimbabwe. There is a French saying which sums up the situation there: ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’ (the more things change, the more they stay the same).  

For us at the Vigil the past week has borne this out (again). The South African mediators have visited Harare to discuss the road map to fresh elections, a process which needs to be followed to create ‘a conducive environment for elections’ in the words of President Zuma’s adviser, Lindiwe Zulu. The upshot of the visit is the startling conclusion that Zimbabwe’s governing parties must implement the power-sharing agreement before organising fresh elections . . .  What a brilliant idea! 

It means there will be no change. Everyone knows Mugabe will never implement the agreement and yet South Africa continues to feed this illusion. The Vigil knows believes the road map will mean nothing unless South Africa is prepared to put muscle behind it – and there has been no sign of that. Meanwhile, one of the best-endowed countries in the world remains one of the poorest. The 2011 index of economic freedom reports that Zimbabwe is 178th out of 179 countries surveyed, losing out only to Mugabe’s mentor North Korea. 

Other points
·           Management team member Patson Muzuwa warned supporters against increased Zanu PF activity in the UK.
·           Our pro-Mugabe ranter was waiting for us at the start of the Vigil with his life-size punchbag topped by a mask of Bush and with his loudspeaker system blaring. We decided ignoring him was the best policy and half way through the Vigil he decided to leave it for another day after having a pee against the wall of nearby Rymans stationers.
·           We were happy to be joined by Stephen Hulcoop of the Paraclete Christian Network International who has just returned from doing Christian work in Zimbabwe.
·           A large group of students from the School of Oriental and African Studies joined us.  They were working on a presentation on migration and how it affected the Zimbabwean community in the UK. They sent us an email in which they said: ‘Thank you very much for today. We learned a lot, and you made us feel very welcome there.’
·           Vigil team member Moses Kandiyawo brought his twin to the Vigil in the form of fellow team member Dennis Benton in flat cap and plastic dreadlocks. The joke started a few weeks ago when Dennis arrived at the Vigil in a flat cap and found that dreadlocked Moses was wearing one too.  

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/   

FOR THE RECORD: 114 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·           The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
·           ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 29th January. Venue: St Saviour’s Community Hall, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Contact Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·           ROHR Ashford general meeting. Saturday 5th February, Venue: the Star Pub, Ashford, Kent TN24 8PA opposite Liquid Night Club off Hythe Road, 5 mins walk from Ashford International Station. ROHR executive members present. Contact Danmore Munyuki 07535213801, Munyaradzi Badze 07709317869, Egbert Mtengwa 07985592931 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting.  Saturday 5th February from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 OHF00-1700hrs. For more info contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 5th February from 2 – 6 pm, Venue: Woking Homes, Oriental Road, Woking, GU22 7BE. Contact, Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Saziso Zulu 07861028280 or P.Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·           Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·           Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and 0send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 15th January 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 January 2011 15:38

‘Tunisian President forced from power after 23 years’ was the news at the Vigil. It was a tail-between-the-legs exit for Mafia boss Ben Ali after an eruption of street anger over oppression and corruption. The sudden collapse of another African dictatorship cannot be good news for the Mugabe Mafia. If Ivory Coast is the writing on the wall then Tunisia is the wall collapsing.  Who will be next?  

The Vigil believes there is a thirst for democracy in Africa. We certainly don’t believe that human rights is a lost cause – the argument advanced in the Times of London by commentator Matthew Parris, who was incidentally educated in Zimbabwe. He said how shocked he was to hear a group of new wave Chinese students ‘making it plain they simply did not understand talk of democracy’. He concluded ‘our era of Western liberalism is drawing to a close’ (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/article2848532.ece)  

A Times reader replied ‘so young Chinese do not comprehend democracy – well, they have never experienced it’. The writer (David Hope-Robertson) continued ‘The war against human rights abuses, the degradation of women and the oppression of citizens by totalitarian regimes is one of attrition, waged by exposing the injustices over and over, by measured reason and sometimes by ridicule. It will never entirely be won, yet to concede the fight is to empower the abusers. It may sometimes feel that we are waging a pointless battle, that no progress is being made against those who believe they have a right to control their fellows but change can come, and suddenly. Who could imagine how swiftly Ceausescu would fold or the Argentinean generals be stripped of their power?’ Or Ben Ali for that matter . . . . 

On another gloomy day with a biting wind, we were out again in support of human rights. Does Matthew Parris suggest we should stop? This is not the message we get from Zimbabwean victims of human rights abuses, some of whom join us on Saturdays. 

We at the Vigil are not remote from the struggle and this week had to call for police help for only the second time in our eight years outside the Embassy. This time it was a demented pro-Mugabe Caribbean shouting abuse.  We have tolerated him for years but he is now becoming a serious nuisance. The last time we had to call for police help was when Tsvangirai’s uncle Hebson Makuvise, now Ambassador to Germany, tried to hijack the Vigil. 

Other points:   
·       Glad to have with us Ben Semwayo who has written an article ‘Zimbabwean Opposition Unite’ which has been published on Zimbabwean media sites. If you haven’t read it check: http://changezimbabwe.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3304&Itemid=2.
·       We were also glad to see Caroline Witts, a long-standing supporter, who comes regularly all the way from Exeter in Devon to help out on the front table explaining the Zimbabwe situation to the passing public.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/   

FOR THE RECORD: 79 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
·       ROHR Newcastle general meeting. Saturday 22nd January from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Warwick Court, Warwick Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1EY. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange opposite Gateshead Civic Centre and Gateshead Police Station. Free parking available. For directions please contact Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Allen Chamboko 07500246416, Kuda Derera 07411337933, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator) 07795070609 or P Chibanguza (Coordinator) 07908406069.
·       ROHR Manchester Branch Demonstration/Vigil. Saturday 22nd January from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (map: http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/maps/cathedral-gardens-map.html). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161.
·       ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 29th January. Venue: St Saviour’s Community Hall, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Contact Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu  07412074928 , Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·       ROHR Ashford general meeting. Saturday 5th February, Venue: the Star Pub, Ashford, Kent TN24 8PA opposite Liquid Night Club off Hythe Road, 5 mins walk from Ashford International Station. ROHR executive members present. Contact Danmore Munyuki 07535213801, Munyaradzi Badze 07709317869, Egbert Mtengwa 07985592931 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·       ROHR West Bromwich general meeting.  Saturday 5th February from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: St Peter’ Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 OHF. For more info contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·       Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·       Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·       ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and 0send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe
·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part. 

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 8th January 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 January 2011 15:39

Vigil supporters were interested to see that an opinion survey indicates that a majority of  Zimbabweans are in favour of elections this year (see: Seven out of 10 Zimbabweans want 2011 elections: poll – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jan6_2011.html#Z1). We believe this vindicates the Vigil’s call for elections as soon as possible despite objections from a wide spectrum of Zimbabwean leaders. 

The Vigil understands their reservations: basically that conditions are not right. But so do the people who were interviewed by the pollsters. Most of them said they feared that the elections would again be marred by violence. Nevertheless they want democracy and an end to Zanu PF tyranny.  

We gathered behind our banner ‘Elections in Zimbabwe Now’. Why? Because the ‘Unity’ government is not working and Zanu PF will never allow it to work. Instead we get MDC ministers sounding more and more like Zanu PF. If we leave elections much longer won’t it be a question of voting for MDC-Zanu PF?  

We too are fearful of election violence but believe that this time Mugabe will not get away with a stolen election. West African leaders have shown they will not accept this in Ivory Coast. The Vigil believes that this marks a real revolution in Africa – one which Zuma and SADC cannot ignore. No more stolen elections. The other side of our ‘Elections in Zimbabwe Now’ banner reads ‘Zuma Save Zimbabwe’. The Vigil believes he now has no choice. 

President Zuma has made it clear there is much work to be done before credible elections can be held. What the Vigil wants from him is a firm timetable for elections and tough action to prevent Zanu PF foot-dragging.  

Other points
·       After the bleak midwinter we are moving back to normal Vigil numbers.  People were cheered by the bright sunshine even though there was a bitingly cold wind. Anything is better that the sodden gloomy weather we have been experiencing.
·       There has been a last minute hitch with putting the ZimVigil ringtone online but we are working on it and we’ll keep you posted.
·       Vigil supporters were not surprised by the slimy rise of Welshman Ncube, farm beneficiary and stabber in the back. But we are sure Mutambara  has a plan B. (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/ZimVigil-Diary-Entries/mutambara-feeds-us-alphabetti-spaghetti.html).
·       As promised here is the second half of the Vigil’s past year’s highlights drawn from Vigil diaries from July to December. See below.  

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

FOR THE RECORD: 94 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
·       ROHR Wolverhampton general meeting. Saturday 15th January. Venue: Heath Town Community Centre, 208 Chevril Rise, Wolverhampton WV10 0HP. Contact  Tsvakai Marambi 07915065171, Florence Munemo 07901733634, Flora Nyahuma 07900036702, Odius Sahondo 07771565949, P Chibanguza 07908406069,
·       ROHR Newcastle general meeting. Saturday 22nd January from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Warwick Court, Warwick Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1EY. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange opposite Gateshead Civic Centre and Gateshead Police Station. Free parking available. For directions please contact Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Allen Chamboko 07500246416, Kuda Derera 07411337933, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator) 07795070609 or P Chibanguza (Coordinator) 07908406069.
·       ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 29th January. Venue: St Saviour’s Community Hall, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Contact Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu  07412074928 , Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. 
·       ROHR Ashford Kent general meeting. Saturday 5th February, Venue: the Star Pub, Ashford, Kent TN24 8PA, opposite Liquid Night Club off Hythe Road, 5 mins walk from Ashford International Station. ROHR executive members present. Contact Danmore Munyuki 07535213801, Munyaradzi Badze 07709317869, Egbert Mtengwa 07985592931 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·       Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
·       Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
·       ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and 0send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe
·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.  

Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights July – December 2010

Saturday 3rd July
The Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe, has spurned opportunities to meet the Vigil during her week long visit to London beginning on 4th July. This does not surprise us. We suspect we are seen as a noisy embarrassment by the MDC leadership as they burrow deeper into the fertile ground of Zimbabwean government corruption.    

Thursday 8th July
The following appeared in the Londoner’s Diary of the London Evening Standard: ‘Zimbabwean deputy PM upsets exiles: What not to wear to the Commonwealth Society . . . Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister Ms Thokozani Khupe, who was a popular anti-Robert Mugabe figure before she joined the government after the 2008 election, is in London but has upset sometime supporters by demanding they put on their gladrags and pay up to get an audience with her. Ms Khupe spoke at the Royal Commonwealth Society in Northumberland Avenue last night. Members of the Zimbabwe Vigil, who demonstrate against human rights abuses outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in The Strand every Saturday, had been surprised to be invited to meet her face to face at a dinner after the event. The catch was the ticket price and the dress code. Leaders of the Vigil find it offensive that, with Zimbabwe producing more asylum seekers than any other country, diners were expected to pay £25 for the dinner and to wear lounge suits or cocktail dresses . . .’ 

Friday 9th July
Vigil supporters attended a meeting at Lancaster House at which Mark Canning, British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, spoke on “The politics and situation in Zimbabwe and the UK Government’s response”. 

Saturday 10th July
The immortal Dr Pangloss was a character in Voltaire’s novel Candide – immortal not least because he is now working for the British Foreign Office. Pangloss was super-optimistic. Amid the chaos of the Lisbon earthquake 250 years ago he could still maintain ‘All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’.  This appears to be the attitude of the Foreign Office towards the chaos in Zimbabwe. It sees steady progress (although at a ‘glacial speed’). There are good things happening, we are told. In fact we should jolly well think of going back to enjoy them.  A different picture emerges from a former British diplomat in Harare, Philip Barclay, in his book ‘Years of Hope and Despair’. Barclay has been promoting his book in London and points to continuing disregard of the rule of law and the increasing acquiescence of the MDC within the unity government.   
Saturday 24th July
·          Senator David Coltart, the Zimbabwean Minister for Education, was given a friendly reception when he came to the Vigil at the end of his visit to London – a welcome that turned to cheers when he put on our bracelet ‘Mugabe Must Go’. Surrounded by Vigil supporters, he said ‘I know that many of you are very sceptical about this inclusive government. But I want to let you know that there is a group working very hard to make it work.  Don’t write it off. But you do need to continue the Vigil because things are by no means right yet.’ 
·          A large contingent of our supporters went to hear Mutambara speak at a London meeting after the Vigil.  Apart from telling us about his massive intellect and brilliant education, he urged people with skills and capital to go home, brushing aside questions of violence and good governance.
·          Another highlight was the arrival of the valiant Smale father and son team who had cycled 85 miles from Salisbury to the Vigil in aid of a charity for Zimbabwe 

Thursday 29th July
The Vigil made the front page of the Zimbabwe Herald this week. We are mentioned in the Herald’s interview with Hebson Makuvise, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Germany.  He reportedly says of activists in the UK "Every Saturday they gather at the Zimbabwean Embassy in the UK playing drums denouncing President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the inclusive Government. They are then given some money by tourists who visit the embassy in the name of the suffering masses of Zimbabwe.”  He said he has tried without success to dissuade the activists from carrying out such activities . . . Makuvise, Tsvangirai’s uncle and former representative in the UK, tried to control the Vigil as he did the MDC in the UK. We can’t forget how he thundered down to the Vigil with his goons and, oblivious to the irony, waved his fist at the Vigil Co-ordinator saying ‘How dare you accuse me of being a bully-boy!’  The latest development is that Ambassador Makuvise says he is instituting legal proceedings against the Zimdiaspora website which has published a report said to have been leaked from Tsvangirai’s office which detailed alleged financial irregularities in the MDC UK and strongly criticized Makuvise. (Nothing further has been heard of these legal proceedings . . )  

Saturday 31st July
·          While both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been seeking support from apostolic Christians, the Vigil was surprised to be joined by a large group of Zimbabwean Christians. We were grateful for their prayers – and touched when they prayed for those on our register. Dressed in white robes, they said they had come to London to spread peace. They are members of Friday Apostles ‘Johane Masowe We Chishanu’ and have a base in Sheffield in the north of England.
·          We were glad to be joined by a Vigil activist we helped to escape from Zimbabwe. He said he was picked up on a recent trip home and randomly beaten up on the way to the police station. He was held in cells for 2 days in indescribable conditions and would probably still be there if we hadn’t got legal help to get him out. The experience left him 2 kgs lighter.  

Saturday 7th August
‘Zuma Save Zimbabwe’ was the theme of the Vigil as SADC prepares to hold a summit meeting in Namibia.  Our banners urging South African intervention have so far failed to bear fruit but we were pleased that Mugabe’s attempt to keep Zimbabwe off the agenda seems to have failed. As the recent AU Summit in Uganda showed, African leaders are all too willing to sweep Zimbabwe under the carpet on the basis that SADC has been handed the responsibility. Vigil supporters believe that, after eighteen months of Zanu-PF arrogance in refusing to implement the GPA, South Africa and SADC must now force Mugabe’s hand. The Vigil urges SADC to address the real issue: how to ensure that elections are free and fair.  

Saturday 14th August
A strong supporter of the Zimbabwe Vigil has been a Swazi lady Thobile Gwebu, who in January started a Vigil outside the Swaziland High Commission in London in protest at human rights abuses in her homeland. We were shocked that the UK Home Office has seen fit to detain her for immediate deportation and people at the Vigil signed a petition to the Home Office on her behalf: ‘The Zimbabwe Vigil is appalled that her asylum claim has been turned down and that she is to be handed over to this medieval despot, who would like to spend the country’s meagre revenues on a Boeing to fly his 14 wives to the fleshpots of the world...’ 

Saturday 21st August
We are glad to say that the deportation of our Swazi friend Thobile Gwebu has been halted although she is still in detention.  

Thursday 26th August
Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani was on a panel at a screening of ‘Mugabe and the White African’ in London on Thursday.  Director Lucy Bailey was very pleased to have a black Zimbabwean’s views.  Dumi stressed that the problems in Zimbabwe were not caused by the white farmers and the land issue but by a corrupt government determined to stay in power at all costs.  

Saturday 18th September
·          Protest to mark the second anniversary of the signing of the Zimbabwean Global Political Agreement. Comrade Mugabe – despite reports of ill-health – was fit enough to join our demonstration outside the South African High Commission.  But mentally he seems to have lost it, judging by the mis-spellings in the poster he was carrying: ‘SADC Final: Mugabwe 10, Zumabwe 0’. But the scornful message was clear. The demonstration marked the expiry of the 30-day deadline given by SADC for the leaders of the unity government to settle the issues outstanding from the Global Political Agreement signed two years ago this month.
·          We were happy to be joined by our Swazi friend and supporter Thobile Gwebu just released from detention.   

Saturday 25th September
During the week the Vigil sent the following message to the South American so-called Anglican cleric who invited Mugabe to Ecuador to receive an honorary doctorate. ‘Dear Revd Dr Walter Roberto Crespo: the Zimbabwe Vigil wishes to add our support to Genocide Watch in protest at your proposal to honour Robert Mugabe . . .’  

Saturday 2nd October
Vigil team member Sue Toft arranged, at St Mary’s Church, Speldhurst, Kent, a showing of the film ‘Mugabe and the White African’ which documents the fight by white farmer Ben Freeth and his father-in-law to stop their farm being taken by Mugabe’s regime. In the audience was Ben’s mother Claire Freeth.  

Zimbabwe Vigil’s 8th Anniversary – Saturday 9th October
·          Robert Mugabe drinking coffee out of an MDC mug and pouring in spoonfuls of salt was the centrepiece of our 8th anniversary Vigil – until he fell asleep. Featuring our well-used Mugabe mask, it was prompted by a report that Mugabe hadn’t been able to taste the difference between sugar and salt at a recent reception for diplomats in Harare – and a picture of him fast asleep at the UN (along with some of his 79 companions!).
·          Supporters gathered after the Vigil at the nearby Bell and Compass pub to discuss the way forward. Our discussions were informally chaired by Ephraim Tapa, founder member of the Vigil and President of ROHR. One subject discussed was the suggestion by the influential UK weekly The Economist that targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his gang should be suspended if they agree to allow international monitors to supervise the promised elections.  

Saturday 16th October
The banners we have been displaying outside the London Embassy for eight years inspired posters we attached to luggage to represent the feared consequences of deportation hanging over failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers: ‘Back to Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Back to Mugabe and Starvation’. Given Morgan Tsvangirai’s nauseating love-ins with Mugabe over the past 20 months, Vigil supporters were not surprised by the British government’s decision to end the moratorium on returning failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Whether Tsvangirai is currently flipping or flopping makes no difference now: he has been telling the world that the GNU is working and that Zimbabwe is a safe place so we could hardly expect any other decision by the British government.  

Saturday 23rd October
Supporters signed the following petition to the Home Secretary, Theresa May: ‘We the undersigned, members of the Zimbabwean Diaspora in the UK and sympathisers, express our grave disquiet at the UK government’s announcement that failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers are to be deported – even before the hearing of a test (country guidance) case is concluded . . .’   

Sunday 24th October
MEDIA NOTICE – Zimbabweans in UK say ‘Don’t send us back to Mugabe’.
Zimbabwean exiles in the UK are to stage a demonstration against deportations at a meeting to be addressed by a senior Home Office official at Lancaster House in London on Wednesday, 27th October.  Ephraim Tapa, a prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist in the UK, said ‘It is deeply disturbing that the British government seems to have predetermined the outcome of the court case.  We did not expect this in the UK.’  Mr Tapa was sceptical about the findings of a British mission to Zimbabwe this year which found that ‘Zimbabwe is for many people a safer and better place to live than it was in 2008’. Mr Tapa said ‘the stolen elections of 2008 were drenched in blood. New elections are planned for next year and we expect similar bloodshed unless peacekeepers are sent to the country’. 

No Returns before Elections! – Wednesday 27th October
About 300 Zimbabweans gathered at Lancaster House for a meeting to hear a senior Home Office official Phil Douglas answer questions on the sudden ending of the four year moratorium on sending home failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers.  He dismissed fears that the move would influence the decision of a team of judges presently considering the Zimbabwe country guidance case. Few of his audience were satisfied by his explanations. There was laughter when Mr Douglas said that returned people could relocate to different areas. Many people expressed fears of renewed violence during next year’s elections. There was a cry of ‘blood on your hands’.  The British government team suggested that Zimbabwean concerns about the policy should be channelled through an organisation of their creation, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Focus Group.  The Zimbabwe Vigil / ROHR’s views are that they do not want to be represented by any other group and this was reaffirmed at a briefing after the meeting to the large group of Zimbabweans who had waited patiently outside. Mr Douglas agreed to accept our petition and hand it on. 

Wednesday 10th November
Meeting on Zimbabwe at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. If the British government has any strategy to ensure that the promised elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair it is not letting on. That’s the conclusion reached by Vigil supporters who attended a meeting at the Chatham House think-tank in London addressed by the Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, and the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mark Canning . . .  It was, all in all, a chilling experience of backslapping hypocrisy. Diplomacy used to be defined as being sent abroad to lie for your country.  Now you only have to go to Chatham House in St James Square.  Further light on the meeting was cast when we learnt that an honoured guest was Zanu-PF’s Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi. A firm supporter of the army’s involvement in politics, Mzembi was delighted by the supine gushing of Canning and Bellingham. 

Monday 15th November
Vigil supporter Josephine Zhuga addressed a meeting in London of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.  They are keen to involve Zimbabweans in their Voices of African Women campaign.  

Friday 26th November
The ZimVigil TV website (www.zimvigiltv.com) was launched on Friday. Thanks to Dr Tim Rusike of ZBN News who set it up for us. The website will be managed by a team selected by the Vigil and has space for videos, picture gallery, community area and blog.  

Saturday 4th December
It was good to be visited by Judith Todd, the Zimbabwean human rights champion, who was briefly in London. She said how encouraged she was that we were still going and how she looked forward to reading our diary every week. 

Friday 10th December
Vigil supporters took part in an event at City and Islington College to mark Human Rights Day. We are much sought after for events like this – for our singing and dancing apart from anything else.  

Saturday 11th December
The day began well when we received a large box of money. Always welcome. The box came from an anonymous donor with the message: ‘We heard your protest vigil needed some money – enjoy’. The message continued ‘proudly printed in Zimbabwe and smuggled out to you by some brave friends’. It seems that Mugabe’s personal bonker has started a new bank, the Reverse Bank.  We now have a pile of new billion, trillion and zillion dollar notes all with pictures of Gono and Grace.   

Saturday 18th December 2010
Snow fell steadily in London during the morning and it was impossible to bring the Vigil paraphernalia by car. So for the first time ever we had to have a skeleton Vigil: no drums, tables etc – just the bare necessities, such as our banners reading: ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’.

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Mutambara feeds us Alphabetti Spaghetti PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 08 January 2011 22:53

Vigil comment on the deposition of Mutambara. Our view of Mutambara was articulated 5 years ago in the following article and we have seen no reason to revise our opinion. 

Mutambara feeds us Alphabetti Spaghetti
Comment on
London meeting of 9th May 2006
 

While Morgan Tsvangirai has been braving the heat of the kitchen in Zimbabwe his rival Arthur Mutambara has been dining in the US on Malcolm X, accompanied by a vintage Che Guevara.  These were the fashionable (well, 30 years ago) names he offered at his London meeting when asked who had inspired his new political career.   Some of us expected heroes closer to home.  Mandela for instance.  But it tells us quite a lot about Mutambara and his political philosophy: from the head and not the heart, opportunist and morally vacant.   

A forceful speaker and commanding presence, Mutambara looks the part but his strategy sounded like the Alphabetti Spaghetti we used to feed our children: pasta shaped into letters and drowned in tomato sauce.  Straight from the tin.  The easy option.  Not very healthy - full of e-numbers.  And the letter E was as far as he got in articulating the way forward for Zimbabwe.  (Even our children got to Z.) 

Mutambara’s big idea was as soggy as spaghetti.  We will contest the elections in 2010, he said, but we will identify the methods Zanu-PF has used to rig the elections of 2000, 2002 and 2005 and work to counter them.  Where has he been? Downing too many Che Guevaras?  He seemed not to know that the MDC has identified exactly how the voting has been rigged and has been challenging this in the Courts since the year dot. 

Should this strategy fail, the Mutambara Party will have not only a Plan B, but a Plan C, D and E ready to put into effect.  Of course he couldn’t divulge them to the 250 or so people present.  They would have to take their Alphabetti Spaghetti on trust.  But some people were hungry now.  They complained they couldn’t wait until 2010.  Would Zimbabwe still exist then or would everyone be in Jozi or Unit K?  Mass action, jambanja, the audience demanded.  He insisted it must be constitutional and democratic.  Not much sign here of Malcolm X and Che Guevara. 

And even Plan A began to look like Alphabetti Spaghetti in the sky when he let slip: “South Africa will turn a blind eye to vote rigging if they think we are not ready for government, or even help the rigging.”  Mutambara seems to have been told by Mbeki how to behave in grown-up African politics: Tell the West they are strategic partners (ie give us money) but remember we are a sovereign state and can do what we like (ie ignore neo-colonialist human rights).  And remember stick together at all costs.  Mutambara seems to have taken this to extremes already (“Mugabe has put in many years of work.  He will be judged very favourably by history.”) 

Every bit as economically illiterate as Mugabe, Mutambara came up with the inspired idea of asking our friends in China to invest in Zimbabwean factories so we can export Japanese technology to the world (putting Chinese workers out of jobs).  “We want to be equal to the EU and America in 20 years,” he declared.  His Pan-Africanist rhetoric may endear him to the political dinosaurs of Africa but will they attract Western investors?  “No puppetry,” thundered the robotics professor.  Talking of puppets  . . . . 

LAST_UPDATED2
 
<< Start < Prev 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 Next > End >>

JPAGE_CURRENT_OF_TOTAL

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.