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Hoping for a miracle – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 9th February 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 10 February 2013 20:02

Every week sees the ‘credibility gap’ between Harare and the outside world grow wider. Last week we were told that Zimbabwe’s agriculture was powering ahead – despite another appeal for international food aid. This week we were told by Tendai Biti that the elections will be free and fair – despite the failure to implement any of the GPA reforms (see: Free, fair poll: Biti confident – http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/news/zimbabwe/63564/free-fair-poll-biti-confident.html?utm_source=thezim&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=listarticle&utm_
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).

 

We are accustomed to Biti’s fantasies but were disappointed that President Zuma is apparently content to allow the elections to go ahead without the reforms ‘provided there is commitment on both sides of the political divide that the polls would not be preceded by violence and anything that would produce a contested outcome’ (see: Zimbabwe: Mugabe Softens Zumahttp://allafrica.com/stories/201302071271.html).

 

So no plans to stop the security services interfering in the elections? No cleansing of the voters’ roll? No purge of the partisan electoral commission? No opening up of the airwaves? In short, no guarantee of a level playing field?

 

Under these conditions the Vigil believes the MDC leaders will need a miracle. One would think that all they want now is GNU Mark 2 and a luxury carriage on the gravy train.

 

The Vigil supports the call by Human Rights Watch for the EU to continue targeted sanctions until free and fair elections have been held (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/feb8_2013.html#Z8Zimbabwe: No Hasty EU Retreat on Sanctions). Furthermore we urge the EU not to contribute to the $250 million begging bowl Biti is sending around to pay for the referendum and elections unless the EU is allowed to send observers.

 

We think Biti should ask his new friend Gideon Gono to see what his prophet pals can do. Gono obviously thinks nothing is beyond their miraculous money making powers (see: Central bank governor blasted for ‘sanitising’ Makandiwa & Angel – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/feb7_2013.html#Z14). Or Biti could bet his last $217 on free and fair elections – the Vigil will give him a million to one.

 

Other points

·         At another cold and wet Vigil we were cheered by the sadza and nyama brought by supporters today.

·         Once again we were joined by Chinese and Japanese students from the London School of Economics and also by students from Belgium. They were very interested and helpful.

·         Sad misunderstanding. We apologise to the homeless man who asked us to pray for him. We thought he was asking us to pay for him and were puzzled when he said others were much more Christian than us…. 

·         Next week Amnesty International is to mark the 10th anniversary of WOZA’s Valentine Day’s protest by laying roses on the doorstep of the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For details see ‘Events and Notices’.

·         Ben Freeth, author of ‘Mugabe and the White African’, is to speak at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 7th March about the situation in Zimbabwe. Other speakers include Professor Craig Richardson from the USA who will explain how the seizure of commercial farms has undermined the Zimbabwean economy. For further details see ‘Events and Notices’.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 40 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·         WOZA: 10th Anniversary Rally. Saturday 16th February from 1 – 2 pm. Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, Strand, London WC2R 0JR. Bring a rose to lay at the Embassy door in solidarity with WOZA. Please contact Maggie Towse, Country Coordinator for Zimbabwe AIUK at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·         Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 23rd February 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. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 2nd March from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The meeting will take place straight after the Vigil. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·         Mike Campbell Foundation: Hope in a Desert. Thursday 7th March at 7 pm. Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Speakers are Ben Freeth, Dr Craig Richardson and Gillian Higgins. The event will be chaired by Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe. Tickets: £15. Check: http://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/images/rgs2013flyer.pdf for more information.

·         Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012.  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 Highlights page.

·         The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·         Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

·         Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

·         Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

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