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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 31st July 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 August 2010 17:33

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 

Their attendance was timely as the Vigil has been reminded of the cost of Mugabe’s misrule by a new report by the Solidarity Peace Trust titled ‘A fractured nation: Operation Murambatsvina five years on’. Some 700,000 were left homeless and an estimated 2.4 million lost their livelihoods in the sudden destruction of informal housing and small businesses aimed at driving MDC supporters back to their rural homes where they could starve out of sight.  

Looking back at the Vigil diary, we note the entry for 11th June 2005: ‘The heavy media coverage given to Mugabe’s scorched earth policy ensured that the Vigil was besieged by people eager to sign our petition demanding that South Africa stops supporting the Mugabe regime. Many people lingered to talk about the situation, expressing great concern at the plight of those made homeless in winter. And from the activists who support the Vigil week in and week out there was an anger unseen before – even during the successive stolen elections.’ 

(We recall our dismay at the time that the left of centre British newspaper the Guardian thought Operation Murambatsvina was a thoroughly sensible thing – talk about useful idiots!) 

Solidarity Peace Trust has been tracking the fate of some of those displaced 5 years ago and notes: ’The story is a grim one with many of those we remembered now prematurely dead and others living in unspeakable poverty.’ In short, those whose lives were devastated remain poverty-stricken and forgotten.  

The state has done nothing whatsoever to alleviate the plight of those displaced by Operation Murambatsvina. In fact the only help they’ve got has been from NGOs and the Vigil is surprised that it is an MDC minister who now wants to block NGO work. Minister for Regional Integration and International Co-operation, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, echoing the Zanu-PF line, has ordered donors and NGOs to report all their activities to her – criticised as an attempt to divert donor funds from projects the government doesn’t like. Before she joined the gravy-train, Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga had opposed government interference in the affairs of NGOs. Can’t she let well enough alone and concentrate on getting her share of the diamonds? See:http://www.solidaritypeacetrust.org/787/a-fractured-nation-operation-murambatsvina-%e2%80%93-five-years-on/#more-787 and http://www.solidaritypeacetrust.org/798/poverty-on-top-of-poverty/#more-798. 

Some other points:
·       The UK Supreme Court has ruled that failed asylum seekers who made a fresh claim for refugee status should be allowed to work if they have waited more than 12 months for a new Home Office decision. See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/7914736/
Tens-of-thousands-of-failed-asylum-seekers-given-right-to-work.html
and http://www.guardian
.co.uk/uk/2010/jul/29/restrictions-sought-asylum-seekers-jobs

·       We were glad to be joined by the activist we helped to escape from Zimbabwe. He said after he was picked up he was 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.
·       Our sympathy to committed supporter Patrick Nyamwanza who was very distressed to learn yesterday that his mother in Zimbabwe who he hasn’t seen for many years had had a stroke.  We pray with him for her recovery.
·       Vigil supporters might be interested to see a piece about the Vigil on the Zimeye website: http://www.zimeye.org/?p=20005
·       It was good to have with us for the whole afternoon, Adriano Navarro, a Portuguese student from the London School of Economics who bought a Vigil tshirt and a ‘Mugabe must Go’ wristband and generally empathized with the plight of Zimbabwe.
·       While we were looking back at the diary we found that Roy Bennett visited us 5 years ago (6th August 2005) and described us as a ‘Fire in Mugabe’s bum’. We are not surprised that Mugabe is continuing to misuse the legal system to keep him from taking up his job as Deputy Agriculture Minister. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 142 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 Liverpool Vigil. Saturday 7th August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark), Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161. Future demonstrations: 21st August, 4th September. Same time and venue.
·       ROHR Stoke-On-Trent general meeting. Saturday 7th August from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: YMCA Edinburgh House. Harding Road, Stoke-On-Trent ST1 3AE. Substantive committee to be elected. Executive members present. Contact: Pauline Mutema on 07850462301, David Mugwira 07866873493, Maxwell Dube 07533349840, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 7th August. Venue: 61 Sunbury Lane, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 2JA, Surrey. Contact: Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or P Mapfumo on 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·       ROHR London South-East Branch general meeting. Saturday 14th August at 1 pm. Venue: 16 Sydenham Road, London SE26 5QW. Contact: Wellington Rupere 07799702750, Priscilla Chitsinde 07804696328, Courage Chiromo 07894586005 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 

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Vigil Response to ‘Sword of Truth’ Ambassador Makuvise – 29th July 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 29 July 2010 20:18

The Vigil made the front page of the Zimbabwe Herald this week (see below).  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.  

The Vigil’s take on this is rather different. Makuvise, Tsvangirai’s uncle and representative in the UK, tried to control the Vigil as he did the MDC in the UK. Check: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/ZimVigil-Diary-Entries/vigil-diary-archive-jan-feb-2008.html (17th January 2008). 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!’  

Makuvise has come back from the dead through articles on the websites Zimdiaspora and Zimeye. (Check:
1.  http://www.zimeye.org/?p=19616Stanford Biti blasts Morgan Tsvangirai for “leaked document”
2. http://www.zimeye.org/?p=19982Rein in brother, Biti told
3.  http://zimdiaspora-bitiandmakuvise1.notlong.comFinance Minister Biti must discipline brother Stanford Biti: Makuvise.
4.  
http://zimdiaspora-bitiandmakuvise2.notlong.com, Stanford Biti hits back, likens Makuvise to maggot behaviour.
5.  http://www.zimeye.org/?p=20019Makuvise opens lawsuit against website.) 

Judging by comments on these articles Mr Makuvise does not have many fans. 

The articles follow an MDC decision to launch an enquiry into allegations of corruption in the MDC UK. The investigations were carried out by a team from Zimbabwe led by Sam Sipepa Nkomo. Zimdiaspora published in seven parts what they said was the report leaked from Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s office. The alleged report detailed financial irregularities in the MDC UK and strongly criticized Makuvise. For his part, Makuvise is particularly angry with Tendai Biti’s brother Stanford, Chair of MDC Southend, who the Herald says is campaigning for the recall of Mr Makuvise from Germany and accusing him of embezzling party funds donated by well-wishers. 

The latest development is that Ambassador Makuvise says he is instituting legal proceedings against Zimdiaspora. No doubt he will be seeking donor funding to finance his legal costs! The Vigil offers its support to Zimdiaspora and recalls the case of former British cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, who, under the banner of wielding the ‘sword of truth’, told a string of lies in a libel case in London and was sent to jail for perjury. Mr Makuvise must realise that he will have no diplomatic immunity in the UK. and that donors may, in their ignorant way, decide to feed the starving, help the ill, educate children and protect the innocent rather than sponsor Makuvise.  

PS why has this MDC report still not been published?  

We cannot attest to the veracity of the report published by Zimdiaspora. But you can find it by looking at the following:
1. http://zimdiaspora-chawora-gate1.notlong.com, Zimdiaspora serialises Sipepa-Nkomo report on Chawora-gate.
2. http://zimdiaspora-chawora-gate2.notlong.comChawora-gate Part 2: looting of MDC funds, breaches exposed.
3. http://zimdiaspora-chawora-gate3.notlong.comChawora-gate Part 3 they failed to provide expenditure evidence.
4.  http://zimdiaspora-chawora-gate4.notlong.comChawora-gate Part 4: £75 836.00 is missing from card sales only.
5.  http://zimdiaspora-chawora-gate5.notlong.comChawora-gate Part 5: No asylum support letter without sex first.
6.  http://zimdiaspora-chawora-gate6.notlong.comChawora-gate Part 6: They formed bogus company to milk funds.
7.  http://zimdiaspora-chawora-gate7.notlong.comChawora-gate part 7: They produced, sold their own party cards.

 

 

The Zimbabwe Herald – Monday, 26th July 2010

Rein in brother, Biti told

By Takunda Maodza

ZIMBABWE’S Ambassador to Germany, Mr Hebson Makuvise, has challenged MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti to counsel his young brother Stanford against bringing MDC-T and the country into disrepute by disseminating falsehoods in the
United Kingdom and on the Internet.

The ambassador’s remarks come at a time when Mr Stanford Biti, the MDC-T UK and
Ireland branch activist, is campaigning for the recall of Mr Makuvise from Germany accusing him of embezzling party funds donated by well-wishers.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 24th July 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 July 2010 17:01

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.  We are all looking for the same thing: a democratic Zimbabwe where everyone can hold their heads up high.’  

We were pleased that Senator Coltart took the trouble to join us – even though many of us don’t share his optimism. Some Vigil supporters went to hear him during the week when he spoke at a meeting in Parliament about the dire situation in the Zimbabwean education system. Who could be against giving money towards education in Zimbabwe – even if Zanu PF gangsters are looting the country’s own resources that should be paying for it?  

Senator Coltart was only one of a horde of MDC leaders descending like locusts on London with their begging bowls.  It’s all very well giving money to education but the two other MDC ministers and the Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara were shaking the can for investment. They seem to have difficulty grasping that people are reluctant to invest in a country with no rule of law.  

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, though he admitted a lot of work still had to be done. 

An unexpected addition to the ranks of the Pollyannas who see nothing wrong with Zimbabwe is the new Director of the British Council in Harare Jill Coates. She said “Zimbabwe is such a beautiful and peaceful country and not at all hostile like what is perceived in the UK media.” The columnist Muckraker in the Zimbabwean newspaper the Independent said ‘What do we call these remarks? Naïve or downright stupid?’ See: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/opinion/
27365-zanu-pf-retraces-steps-to-failure.html
. The British Council no doubt keeps the British Sunday Times in its library. She will see in its latest edition new revelations about the scandal of the Marange diamonds. 
 

Apart from the visit by Senator Coltart, another highlight of the Vigil was the arrival of the valiant Smale father and son team (Adrian and Michael) who had cycled 85 miles from Salisbury to the Vigil in aid of charity. They set off at 6.30 am and were with us before 5 pm. They looked fit as fiddles when they arrived.  Vigil activist Josephine Zhuga organised a collection and presented the money to them. Their charity is Children Alone Trust which cares for orphans in Zimbabwe. They would welcome further donations – contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 07946 128 204.

Other points
·       Norman Mhunduru was pleased to hear he was the overall winner of our World Cup draw and was at the Vigil to receive his winnings of £50.
·       A Vigil member said how amazed she was when she encountered at the Vigil a friend from primary school who she hadn’t seen for 40 years.  She went on to say that she had also recently come across someone in a shop in London who had rented a room from her in Harare 27 years ago.
·       It is difficult to accept the assurances of the Zanu-MDC government that all is well in Zimbabwe when one of our activists was arrested and beaten up recently just for being in the country. We can’t give any further details to protect the security of people back home. If anyone wants to tell us all is well perhaps they will refund us the money we spent on getting our supporter out of the country (see our diary of 3rd July).           

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 185 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 Liverpool Vigil. Saturday 31st July from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark), Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161. Future demonstrations: 7th and 21st August, 4th September. Same time and venue.
·       ROHR Bournemouth get-together and executive election. Saturday 31st July from 2 – 10 pm. Venue: East Cliff United Reformed Church opposite ASDA Store, Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8AW. Contact: Abi Nzimba 07780831455 or Sekai Mujeyi 07772211220 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Food, drink, music, Everyone welcome.
·      
ROHR West Bromwich general meeting.  Saturday 31st July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich  B70 0HF. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07837682108, P Chibanguza  07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323.
·       ROHR Hayes general meeting. Saturday 31st July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Brookside Community Centre, Hayes, UB4 0PE. The raffle for the computer, DVD player, printer and Samsung mobile phone will be drawn – tickets are still on sale. ROHR Executive present. Contact Roda Kulhengisa 07958205544, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091 or P Mapfumo 0791592623 / 07932216070.
·       ROHR Stoke-On-Trent general meeting. Saturday 7th August from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: YMCA Edinburgh House. Harding Road, Stoke-On-Trent ST1 3AE. Substantive committee to be elected. Executive members present. Contact: Pauline Mutema on 07850462301, David Mugwira 07866873493, Maxwell Dube 07533349840, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·       ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 7th August. Venue: 61 Sunbury Lane, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 2JA, Surrey. Contact: Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or P Mapfumo on 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·       Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts
·       Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil 
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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 17th July 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 18 July 2010 17:08

Vigil supporters were sceptical about the decision by the Kimberley Process at their meeting in Russia to allow the fraudulent Zimbabwean mining authorities to sell diamonds from Chiadzwa. The fact that Zimbabwe is blessed with such mineral wealth is a cause for rejoicing but we have no faith that Mines Minister Obert Mpuffed-up will honour any agreement.  The bloated minister has proved himself a liar and a cheat. 

The sale of diamonds will further strengthen Zanu PF gangsters such as Mpuffed-up and make them even more resistant to democratic change. Supporters thought that diamonds were likely to finance Zanu PF youth violence in the coming elections.  

Some of the proceeds will no doubt trickle into the national exchequer – not even Zanu PF could continue to steal everything. But we suspect most will be siphoned off to foreign bank accounts. This has been the experience of Angola, DRC and Nigeria, for instance, where the impoverished masses have received little benefit from their countries’ rich resources. 

We demand that the Kimberley Process holds Zimbabwe to its undertaking to end abuses at Chiadzwa. It must insist on an independent commission to oversee the industry. But we have little hope. 

A good crowd gathered at the Vigil on a pleasantly cool day – a relief from the blistering heat we have been experiencing in recent weeks. We were glad to be joined by the Leicester mini-bus with 18 people on board.  They are now coming every week. 

Other points
·       Today we handed out two of the three prizes in our World Cup Draw. Fundai Chiname who drew Germany’s number won £20. Dorothy Rwambiwa who drew the Netherlands won £30. The winner who drew Spain was not with us and will be awarded £50 next week. In total we sold 100 tickets at £1 each.
·       A long-term supporter reports that he had a drink in Brixton recently with the father of a prominent Zanu PF gangster. The father complained that his bank in the UK was making enquiries about a deposit of £100,000 into his account made by his son. We are passing the information on to those who can pursue this matter.
·       We reported recently (3rd July) that we had to find financial resources to help a supporter in Zimbabwe who was running into difficulties. We are happy to say that the supporter is now safe.
·       Deputy Prime Minister Khupe said in an interview at the end of her recent visit to the UK  (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE669063._CH_.2400) that she is very confident of a large-scale international financial package soon for infrastructural development in Zimbabwe. What planet is she living on? The European Union and other donors have made it clear that there will be no such aid until the GPA has been implemented. The Vigil makes a point of constantly reminding them of our petition: ‘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.’
·       Morgan Tsvangirai seems to have the same problem in seeing reality. Speaking at the launch of a report on child malnutrition, he waffled: ‘Malnutrition is not a simple problem that can be addressed effectively through narrow technical solutions as it results from the complex interplay of social, political, cultural and economic factors’ . . . like a shortage of food prevented from reaching the vulnerable by Zanu PF people unless they support the party!  (http://www.swradioafrica.com/news120710/food120710.htm). The Vigil notes much recent publicity given to an announcement that a third of children under 5 are chronically malnourished. Our current leaflet which we have been distributing to passers-by for the last seven months notes ‘the UN says (December 2009) that a third of children under 5 are chronically malnourished’. We suppose the significance is that despite another seven months of the interim government there has been no improvement in the malnutrition statistics.
·       Thanks to Gladys Helen Meck for looking after the merchandise today.  

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 183 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 Liverpool Vigil. Saturday 24th July from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark), Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161. Future demonstrations: 31st July, 7th and 21st August, 4th September. Same time and venue.
·       ROHR Coventry general meeting. Saturday 24th July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: 90a Paynes Lane, Coventry CV1 5JH. ROHR National Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact V.J Mujeye 07534034594, Nash Sibanda 07886660392, Pauline Makuwere 07575265710, P. Mapfumo 07932216070/07915926323 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·       ROHR West Bromwich general meeting.  Saturday 31st July 2010 from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich  B70 0HF. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07837682108, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323.
·       Supporter Adrian Smale who will be cycling 85 miles from Salisbury to the Vigil to raise money for Zimbabwean orphans on 24th July.  If you want to sponsor him contact him on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or tel: 07946 128204.
·       ROHR Hayes general meeting. Saturday 31st July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Brookside Community Centre, Hayes, UB4 0PE. The raffle for the computer, DVD player, printer and Samsung mobile phone will be drawn – tickets are still on sale. ROHR Executive present. Contact Roda Kulhengisa 07958205544, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091 or P Mapfumo 0791592623 / 07932216070.
·       ROHR Stoke-On-Trent general meeting. Saturday 7th August from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: YMCA Edinburgh House. Harding Road  Stoke-On-Trent ST1 3AE. Substantive committee to be  elected. Executive members present. Contact: Pauline Mutema on 07850462301, David Mugwira 07866873493, Maxwell Dube 07533349840, P 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.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 10th July 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 July 2010 15:28

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.  

Soundings at the Vigil suggest that Barclay’s take is closer to reality than the line now being peddled by the Foreign Office. The diaspora cannot accept progress at a ‘glacial’ pace. We’ll all be dead before we can go home. In that case why is the Home Office not told to let Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers work here?    

The Vigil does not believe that this is all that can be achieved. We think the British government should put renewed pressure on SADC countries to meet their obligations to Zimbabwe. In particular, we want to know what is being done to ensure free and fair elections. Britain should use its financial muscle. After all, it is British taxpayers’ generosity that is helping to prop up  these countries.  

The British government’s softly softly approach is more surprising given a damning report by international legal bodies on the state of law in Zimbabwe which was launched recently at a meeting in parliament The report was compiled by a mission which included representatives of the Bar Council, the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association and Avocats Sans Frontieres among others. It says the power sharing deal has failed to stop extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and torture. The report adds that human rights abuses continue to occur and go uninvestigated by the authorities. ‘Access to justice is virtually non-existent’ it says. (http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/assets/documents/7351_BHRC_Zimbabwe_Report.pdf and http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/news/latest/555.html).   

Other points
·       The blistering heat failed to subdue the exuberant dancing and singing at the Vigil.
·       Ephraim Tapa, President of ROHR, spoke to supporters about the constitutional outreach programme.  He said it was being disrupted by Zanu PF violence aimed at keeping Mugabe in power.
·      
The following piece appeared in the Londoner’s Diary of the London Evening Standard on Thursday, 8th July.
http://londonersdiary.standard.co.uk/2010/07/zimbabwean-deputy-pm-upsets-exiles.html

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.
“With 158,000 Zimbabweans seeking asylum from the coalition government in 2009, Khupe’s dinner is just one more sign of how unreal the Movement for Democratic Change elite are becoming,” writes Dennis Benton in the Zimbabwe Vigil Diary.
“Not many of the Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK have a lounge suit or a cocktail dress. Those Zimbabweans likely to go to this event are well-connected Zanu-PF people [Mugabe’s party] of whom there all too many in the UK.Benton notes that, as a close MDC associate of former opposition leader and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Khupe was once a popular figure. “We repeat our invitation to Ms Khupe to come to the vigil and talk to some of the ordinary Zimbabweans who can’t afford £25,” says Benton, a former BBC man. 

Unfortunately Ms Khupe did not attend the Vigil.  Security issues were mentioned…. As a representative of the Zimbabwe government she would have been perfectly safe outside her own Embassy and we are right next door to Charing Cross Police who would have policed the Vigil if we requested it. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline. 

FOR THE RECORD: 161 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 Liverpool Vigil. Saturday 24th July from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark), Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161. Future demonstrations: 31st July, 7th and 21st August, 4th September. Same time and venue.
·       ROHR Coventry general meeting. Saturday 24th July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: 90a Paynes Lane, Coventry CV1 5JH. ROHR National Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact V.J Mujeye 07534034594, Nash Sibanda 07886660392, Pauline Makuwere 07575265710, P. Mapfumo 07932216070/07915926323 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
·       ROHR West Bromwich general meeting.  Saturday 31st July 2010 from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich  B70 0HF. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07837682108, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323.
·       Supporter Adrian Smale will be cycling 85 miles from Salisbury to the Vigil to raise money for Zimbabwean orphans on 24th July.  If you want to sponsor him contact him on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or tel: 07946 128204.
·       ROHR Hayes general meeting. Saturday 31st July from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: Brookside Community Centre, Hayes, UB4 0PE. The raffle for the computer, DVD player, printer and Samsung mobile phone will be drawn – tickets are still on sale. ROHR Executive present. Contact Roda Kulhengisa 07958205544, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091 or P Mapfumo 0791592623 / 07932216070.
·       ROHR Stoke-On-Trent general meeting. Saturday 7th August from 2 – 5 pm.  Venue: YMCA Edinburgh House. Harding Road  Stoke-On-Trent ST1 3AE. Substantive committee to be  elected. Executive members present. Contact: Pauline Mutema on 07850462301, David Mugwira 07866873493, Maxwell Dube 07533349840, P 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
·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
·       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 24/04/2009, check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvwikOhO3Fk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qqXJ7jfVY.

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