Banner
Campaign News
Suggested Letter to your MP PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 28 March 2016 06:27

To find your MP, click on http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/, type in your postcode or constituency. This will take you to your MP and their contact details.

 

Your address

 

Dear (MP name)

 

Below is a letter written to two prominent British MPs by the Zimbabwe Vigil and its sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe seeking their support for the expulsion from the UK of a Nottingham GP Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica who have seized a farm in Zimbabwe.

 

The MPs are the former long-time cabinet minister Ken Clarke who represents the Conservative Party in Rushcliffe constituency, Nottingham, in which the Nyatsuros have a large and luxurious home and Vernon Coaker, a minister in the last Labour government who represents the neighbouring constituency of Gedling, in which the Nyatsuros run an NHS clinic.

 

Zimbabwean exiles in the UK ask for your help as we continue our protest against Nottingham GP Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica who run a NHS clinic in Carlton, Nottingham. They have violently seized a farm in Zimbabwe from a white Zimbabwean couple who bought it some 30 years ago with the approval of the Mugabe regime. Dr Nyatsuro claims he has been allocated the farm although he has lived in the UK for the past 15 years and is a British citizen.

 

You will be aware of the desperate situation in Zimbabwe, in particular the real threat of mass starvation. The UN recently warned up to a third of the population are facing hunger.

 

The Zimbabwe Vigil which campaigns in the UK for human rights in Zimbabwe, along with our sister organisation the  Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, has submitted a petition to the government calling for the revocation of the Nyatsuros’ British citizenship (see: http://zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/760-kick-out-zanu-pf-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-27th-february-2016).

 

The petition is currently being considered by the Home Office. We feel that the support of a former Conservative Lord Chancellor and a former Labour Home Office Minister such as yourselves would add weight to our request. 

 

On a broader front we are campaigning for the situation in Zimbabwe to be discussed in Parliament and have enlisted the support of Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe and, on the Conservative side, Alok Sharma MP for Reading West and others.

 

We have staged a number of demonstrations outside the Nyatsuros’ clinic which have received widespread publicity and plan to stage another demonstration there to keep up the pressure on them to make up their minds between farming in Zimbabwe and doctoring in the UK. 

 

I am a Zimbabwean exile living in your constituency and hope you can support the aims of this letter.

LAST_UPDATED2
 
‘No one listens to him. What a backward man.’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 21 February 2016 20:23

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/article1668655.ece

 


 

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Times, Robert Mugabe’s former vice-president announces her bid for power in Zimbabwe

 

Christina Lamb Published: 21 February 2016

 

It sounds like something penned by Shakespeare on acid. An evil tyrant rules over his people for decades, owing his power to his military commander, who then perishes in a mysterious fire. That man’s widow, Joice Mujuru — widely known as Comrade Spill Blood — then sees herself as the rightful successor to the ageing tyrant, only to find that the latter’s wife has other ideas.

 

Today, as Robert Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, turns 92, he will get a most unwelcome birthday present. He faces his first challenge from within his innermost circle — a gauntlet thrown down by his former vice-president, the woman who used to call him Father. Joice Mujuru has chosen today to launch her own opposition party, People First.

 

When I meet her in her house in Zimbabwe, she is understandably nervous. Resplendent in a scarlet jacket, with golden boots dangling from her ears, she fusses about where to sit. Taking on one of the world’s last totalitarian regimes is a risky business — especially from someone who was embedded at the very heart of it. For years, Mugabe has retained power by playing potential rivals in his Zanu-PF party off against each other. But recently something has changed. There is a sense that Zimbabwe is in the dying days of empire.

 

“I think this is pointing to the end,” says Mujuru. “He no longer has the energy to tell them to stop, and no one listens to him. He has no respect now — from anybody. It’s painful.” According to Mujuru, Mugabe often falls asleep in cabinet meetings. “He would speak for 15 minutes then nod off and I would then chair the meeting, with everyone ignoring the fact he was asleep.”

 

Making this challenge is not something Mujuru, 60, has done lightly. For almost 35 years, she was at Mugabe’s side. She was the youngest minister in his first cabinet, while her husband was his army chief. For 10 years she was his vice-president, widely seen as his heiress apparent. But then Mugabe’s own wife, Grace, 50, began to nurture political ambitions of her own. Known as Gucci Grace or the First Shopper — she is said to have once spent £75,000 on a single spree in Paris — she was apparently worried about securing her future and that of her four children. In September 2014 she launched her own campaign. “They say I want to be president,” she told one rally. “Why not? Am I not a Zimbabwean?”

 

Mugabe has long been thought to be suffering from ill health. Last month he was rumoured to be on the verge of death in a clinic in the Far East, yet he still insisted he had no plans to retire, saying: “I will be there until God says come.” Some believe that Grace is already running things. “Her power only lasts as long as he is there,” says Mujuru. “She said she will buy him a wheelchair that will make him speak even when he’s dead.”

 

One of Grace Mugabe’s main targets is Joice Mujuru. “She saw me as a threat — they both did,” says Mujuru. Grace went on state TV to denounce Mujuru, accusing her of wanting to kill Mugabe and of having consulted witch doctors to bring about his death. Is that true? “I’m a Christian and a member of the Salvation Army,” Mujuru retorts. “I have never used magic. A head of state using his platform to lie and believing stories about frogs being kept in a calabash, and if one dies then he will die? I said to myself, ‘What a backward man.’” Appeals to the president got her nowhere. After one cabinet meeting, she asked Mugabe if he really believed she wanted to kill him. “I am hearing it from the ministry of intelligence,” he replied.

 

Horrified, Mujuru told him: “Father, if you are my shed and protecting me from the sun, how can I take an axe and destroy that shed? I’d be a mad person. I am only banking on you to look after me.” She left that meeting in fear. “My mouth was completely dry,” she recalls. In December 2014, Mujuru found herself unceremoniously sacked as vice-president. “It was the shock of my life,” she says.

 

Today, she describes herself as a “grandmother and a chicken farmer”. She has 10 grandchildren and 135,000 chickens on a farm seized at gunpoint from a white farmer as part of Mugabe’s landgrab. Mujuru may be out in the cold, but she still lives the life of a Zanu-PF apparatchik, dividing her time between the farm and a vast house in the northern suburbs of Harare, complete with tennis court, large empty swimming pool, gazebo and black-marble fountain gushing water — despite the country’s worst drought and famine in decades.

 

For someone who left school to join the bush war at 18, and who rose to No 2 in the regime, she seems tense. She is not used to speaking to western journalists — for years, we were banned. She knows the risks of speaking out. Throughout the interview, she never uses Mugabe’s name, referring instead to “He”, as if he were a deity.

 

We begin by talking about her childhood as the daughter of subsistence farmers in Mount Darwin, in what was then the British colony of Rhodesia. Like most black children at the time, Joice found herself at schools that taught carpentry, agriculture and domestic science rather than academic studies. “African children were expected to go into stereotype jobs,” she says. “Girls would be nurses or schoolteachers and males policemen or land agents.”

 

She was saved by the Salvation Army, which arranged her a scholarship at a high school. She was starting her O-levels when guerrillas came to her village in November 1973 to recruit for the bush war against the white regime. “They explained why this war was being carried out. I was one of the only girls in my village who had gone to high school, and they gave my example as someone who could have completed my education if I hadn’t been derailed into the African schools.”

 

She signed up. She was given a semi-automatic rifle and rudimentary training, and in February 1974, aged 18, she shot down a Rhodesian helicopter. “We’d been told, ‘If you see a helicopter, count as if you are measuring three unseen helicopters in front of it, and keep shooting at that point, and the shot will meet the real helicopter.’ I don’t know how it happened, but the bullet hit the helicopter and I saw it catching fire and the soldiers all disappearing, then it came down 2 or 3km away and I heard the sound of it dropping. Then I ran.

 

“If they had captured me, I would have been killed. But heavy rain came, which saved me from the dogs and horses the whites sent after me, and I followed the drains, which were full of water, so the dogs couldn’t get my trail.” Later, she fell ill with cerebral malaria.

 

While she was recuperating, Joice met her future husband, Solomon Mujuru. “I didn’t then expect us to become long-lasting partners, but he was a likeable person, and when I realised the war would be long and I was growing up and needed a partner, and he did, too, we decided to formalise it.” She says Solomon helped cement Mugabe’s power base. “My husband used to risk his life to go and talk to [Mugabe]… then come back and talk to the other commanders to accept him. [Mugabe] owed a lot to him and the family.”

 

When independence from Britain came in 1980, it was “very exciting… it was about rebuilding the country and uniting the society. We were working with the white people who tried to kill us, but when you talk to each other, you realised human beings were all the same. We didn’t want to kill, we wanted to change the system.”

 

She describes Mugabe’s inaugural speech on independence (“This is now time to beat our swords into ploughshares”) as a model of reconciliation. “I don’t know if he was just stage-managing or really believed it then,” she says.

Aged 24, and by then the mother of two girls, Mujuru had become the youngest minister, in charge of sports and culture. “It was very difficult juggling being a mother, a student, doing a job you don’t understand,” she says. “I don’t know how I did it, only God knows.”

 

In that first decade, Mujuru says they were intent on improving the country. “At that time I didn’t see anything wrong or amiss, as I was focusing on my job.” She now describes the regime as “a full dictatorship”. But how can people trust someone who was part of the system for so long and shared in its spoils? “It’s difficult to pick a good sheep among the bad,” she replies. “But people will vouch they saw me doing good things and never heard me giving a hate speech or encouraging others to kill or beat each other.”

 

In August 2011, Joice was woken by a phone call from a maid on the farm, saying the house was on fire and her husband was inside. Solomon Mujuru had retired from the military and politics in the 1990s and was busy mining diamonds, but remained in the politburo and was seen as the only person who would stand up to Mugabe. Still in her pyjamas, Joice drove to the farm, arriving around 1.30am. “Harare fire brigade was there, but had no water,” she recalls, “so we had to use the farm bowsers, and we tried to pour water on his body. There was a blue, blue flame, almost 1½ to 2 metres high, not normal at all. It seemed to me there was some kind of accelerant.”

 

That wasn’t all that was strange. Solomon seemed to have made no effort to escape. The carpet underneath his body was not burnt. Joice believes he had been shot first. A local white farmer who rushed to the scene said he believed a white phosphorus grenade was used to burn the body. “I can’t say who did it, but they know, the people in power. It will come out,” says Joice. “Mugabe?” I ask. She purses her lips.

 

Even so, she stayed in the cabinet and campaigned for Mugabe in the 2013 elections. He won an unexpected landslide. Was it rigged? “I never saw the rigging… I am sure it was a very small clique that was doing it.”

 

After her husband’s death she took over the farm, taking a £1.7m bank loan to expand. “I love farming,” she says. She insists that when she was informed (by letter) that she had been sacked, she intended to retire. “It was the people who came and asked me, ‘Comrade Teurai Ropa [Spill Blood], we want you to lead us, we want someone who can listen to us.’ So I agreed. I will lead them.”

LAST_UPDATED2
 
ONLINE PETITION - to Rt Hon David Cameron MP: Revoke the citizenship of a British doctor who has seized a Zimbabwean far PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 04 February 2016 15:15
Our petition (see below) is now online. To sign please click on the following link:
https://www.change.org/p/rt-hon-david-cameron-mp-revoke-the-citizenship-of-a-british-doctor-who-has-seized-a-zimbabwean-farm?recruiter=481767618&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

Please share as widely as possible.

Petitioning Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rt Hon David Cameron MP

Revoke the citizenship of a British doctor who has seized a Zimbabwean farm

Zimbabweans in the UK & sympathisers are appalled by the behaviour of Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife who run a clinic in Nottingham. He is a British citizen yet he has illegally seized a farm in Zimbabwe owned by a white Zimbabwean farmer who bought it with the approval of Mugabe.

The Nyatsuros are connected to Grace Mugabe. Why should a British doctor want a farm in Zimbabwe when he is in full-time employment here and has no known farming expertise? We ask that Dr Nyatsuro’s citizenship is revoked on the grounds that it was obtained by means of 'fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact' (file:///Users/GG/Downloads/SN06820%20(1).pdf We also question his suitability to run an NHS clinic in Nottingham while farming in Zimbabwe.
 
Email sent to Mrs Nyatsuro on Monday 25th January 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 31 January 2016 13:51
 

Dear Mrs Nyatsuro

 

In December last year you and your lawyer requested a meeting with the Zimbabwe Vigil to discuss our protests outside the Willows Medical Centre against you and you husband's seizing a farm in Zimbabwe. On our behalf Ephraim Tapa, a founder member of the Vigil, responded by contacting your lawyer and asking you / your husband to attend our Forum in London on Saturday, 23rd January. Mr Tapa reported that he had a phone conversation with you on Friday 22nd January in which you indicated that your husband was away until 23rd February and you would not be able to meet with us until then.

 

At our forum on Saturday it was agreed I should send the following outline of the Zimbabwe Vigil's position to you. It was also agreed that we would consider further action if we did not get a satisfactory reply within 7 days.

 

We have been in communication with contacts in Zimbabwe and we understand there are around 19 occupiers on the farm harassing the Rankins. The Leader Mika has been there since the beginning and it is suspected he is related to you / your husband and also that the car he uses is registered to Nyatsuro. 

 

The Vigil's position is that as long as you continue with your claim to Mr Rankin's farm and place people on the farm to harass the Rankins we will continue to mount protests outside the Willows Medical Centre. We cannot wait another month to discuss this with you / your husband. However if you drop your claim to the farm and remove the occupiers our protests will stop.

 

As for your assertion that you are acting within the law we would answer that there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe. 

 

You have indicated that our protests are damaging your husband's reputation and livelihood. Considering the damage you are doing to Mr Rankin's livelihood this is double standards. 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators

 
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 11 January 2016 17:21

Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015
Links to previous years’ highlights
2014 – http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014
2013 – http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013
2012 - http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012
2011 – http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011
2010 – http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/358-vigil-highlights-2010
2009 – http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/357-vigil-highlights-2009
2008 – http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/356-vigil-highlights-2008

Dead hand at the tiller – Saturday 3rd January: On a cold and wet day we staged a little tableau inspired by pictures of Mugabe’s holiday feast in Singapore, with Fungayi Mabhunu donning our Mugabe mask and tucking in to deep-fried Mujuru. 

Rudderless regime – Saturday 10th January: It is becoming clear that there is no one in charge in Zimbabwe. No sooner does one minister make a policy statement than another contradicts it. After Finance Minister Chinamasa gave assurances that the indigenisation policy would be clarified to encourage foreign investment, the new Indigenisation Minister Christopher Mushowe said foreign investors would be lucky to get a 49% share in their business. It could be as little as 1%.

Being counted – Saturday 17th January: Zimbabweans came out in the cold in London in support of Itai Dzamara who has been campaigning in Africa Unity Square since last October demanding that Mugabe step down. We were joined outside the Embassy by UK members of his Occupy Africa Unity Square movement. In a message to the gathering, Itai Dzamara said that a new Zimbabwe was within reach and our protest would not be in vain.

Call for UK parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe – Tuesday 19th January: The possibility of a parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe emerged at a meeting in a parliamentary committee room organised by the MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma, who was approached by Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) Reading branch. The idea was supported by former Africa Minister Mark Simmonds who also attended the meeting. He spoke of ‘small steps of progress’ in Zimbabwe.

Progress? – Saturday 24th January: Ephraim Tapa, President of ROHR, disagreed with Mr Simmonds that there had been progress in Zimbabwe but welcomed the idea of a parliamentary debate. He told the Vigil: ‘It is necessary to interrogate the British government’s policy as it is not at all clear what it hopes to achieve’.

Forward to the Stone Age – Saturday 31st January: Mugabe is an appropriate choice as chairman of the African Union (AU). The South African head of the AU Commission set out the aims of the meeting at which Mugabe was chosen: ‘Democracy, good governance and human rights’. Well they have found the man for the task. Prepare for a new African Renaissance: this one rebranded as the Stone Age. The AU is not the only useless international organisation. You could add the EU with its re-engagement with Mugabe policy. But first prize must go the United Nations. It says unemployment in Zimbabwe is 5.42%.

Campaign for parliamentary debate – Saturday 7th February: The Zimbabwe Action Forum, meeting after the Vigil, discussed a template letter people could send to their MPs calling for a debate on Zimbabwe. Part of the letter said: In brief, all elections in Zimbabwe are rigged, there is no rule of law, corruption is rampant and the new constitution – largely paid for by the British taxpayer – is predictably ignored by the Mugabe Mafia. Yet Britain talks of ‘progress’ and is lifting sanctions! We want the debate to ask questions such as: What is the British Government’s policy on Zimbabwe?

Zanu PF arrogance – Saturday 14th February: Anyone really hoping for a turnaround in the Zimbabwean economy will be dismayed by the comment by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo. Speaking after a meeting with a 19-strong British investor delegation, he said there had been ‘some little unpleasant disagreements’. Chombo was apparently outraged that the naïve investors wanted to know where Zimbabwe is going.

The carpet’s to blame – Saturday 21st February: Zimbabweans in the UK gathered in force outside the Embassy to mark Mugabe’s 91st birthday. The increasingly confused tyrant was supposed to be in South Africa attending to his duties as supreme leader of SADC (and Africa in general) but seems to have caught the wrong plane and turned up outside the Embassy, where he demonstrated how Mai Mujuru hid under the carpet and almost caused him to fall. Thanks to Fungayi who donned our Mugabe mask and demonstrated Mugabe’s fall to the assembled media. The demonstration brought together a wide range of diaspora groups. Apart from our sister organisations, they included MDC-T, ZAPU, Occupy Africa Unity Square, Zimbabweans United for Democracy, Zimbabwe Social Democrats and the Swaziland Vigil.

A nauseating feast – Saturday 28th February: ‘An event of truly spectacular moral ugliness’ was how the Mayor of London Boris Johnson described Mugabe’s 91st birthday party. Fungayi wore our Mugabe mask as we restaged thec  Victoria Falls feast.

No appeasement – Saturday 7th March: Strong support for the Vigil’s criticism of the European Union’s new policy of ‘re-engaging’ with the Mugabe regime has come from American former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Todd Moss. With President Obama renewing American sanctions for another year, Mr Moss says that it is perplexing that Europe is now choosing to break ranks and resuming aid, signalling a shift in approach from sticks to carrots.  Europe, he says, is wilfully blind to what is happening and who is responsible for the worsening conditions in Zimbabwe. ‘Any new support for the current government will likely only further entrench the current coterie around Mugabe.’ On a lovely sunny day we marked International Women’s Day in support of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were beaten by police during a Valentine’s Day protest in Bulawayo.

We are Itai Dzamara – Saturday 14th March: Exiled Zimbabweans demonstrated outside the Embassy about the abduction of the human rights activist Itai Dzamara whose brave Harare protest ‘Occupy Africa Unity Square’ (OAUS) has made him a beacon of freedom. Among those at the Vigil was Tendai Kwari, leader of OAUS-UK, who said he feared for Itai’s life.  Not troubled by Itai’s fate, Mugabe set off with about 100 hangers-on for an obscure UN conference in Japan on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’, riding roughshod over objections from the Japanese Embassy in Harare at his bloated delegation.

Embassy demonstration – Thursday 19th March: The Embassy went into meltdown when nine Zimbabwean expatriates charged in and demanded information about Itai Dzamara.  With cries of ‘We want Itai’, ‘Bring back Itai’ and ‘Zanu PF murderers’, the group demanded to see the Ambassador. Frightened staff pointed to a door but a voice from inside that room shouted ‘don’t let them in’. In the meantime police – some of them armed – swarmed into the building summoned by a panic button. The protesters explained they were simply making a peaceful request for information from their Embassy. The police asked them to continue the protest outside. The Embassy then closed for the day.

Embassy in panic – Saturday 21st March: The protest against the feared murder of Dzamara continued at the Vigil with posters reading ‘Where is Itai Dzamara?’ and ‘Release Itai Dzamara’. At meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil it was agreed to send a letter to the Ambassador asking for a meeting to discuss the abduction and warned ‘The Zimbabwe Vigil fears that the unbridled criminal behaviour by the Mugabe regime is stoking a fire which could consume our people. Because the Embassy has no letterbox we will deliver this letter in person.’

Another Embassy Protest – Friday 27th March: Ten people got into the Embassy and sang protest songs in the reception area, brandishing placards such as ‘Bring back Itai Dzamara’, ‘Enough is enough’ and ‘Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF government must go’.  Scared Embassy staff retreated and summoned the police who asked them to continue their protest outside. The demonstrators went on to the nearby South African High Commission, where they demanded that Mugabe should be replaced as chair of the AU and SADC.

Embassy challenged again – Saturday 28th March: Everybody at the Vigil signed a letter to the Zimbabwe Embassy about Dzamara to be delivered by hand. Vigil spokesman Fungayi Mabhunu said ‘As far as the Vigil is concerned we will seize every opportunity to remind the world of what happens to brave and principled people in Zimbabwe who oppose Mugabe and Zanu PF. Every Zimbabwean representative coming here must face the question: Where is Itai Dzamara?’

Diaspora No to Mugabe – Saturday 4th April: If further evidence was needed that Mugabe is crazy it came with his appeal to the diaspora to give him more money – presumably for his non-stop travels in search of eternal life. Whatever Zanu PF in the UK says, no sane Zimbabwean here would dream of putting their money anywhere within Zanu PF’s grasp. Although the party’s UK spokesman happily proclaims that ‘the economic renaissance (is) already in motion’.

Deadly silence – Saturday 11th April: While Mugabe continues to flaunt himself abroad, there has been a deafening silence from the Zanu PF regime about the abduction of Dzamara despite a court order to search for him. Even ousted Vice-President Mujuru claimed to be outraged by Zanu PF’s indifference to Dzamara’s fate. Amnesty International says no credible investigation seems to be taking place. 

Vigil Protests – Friday 17th April: Exiled Zimbabweans demonstrated outside the Embassy and the South African High Commission in London in protest at the abduction in Harare of Dzamara and at the new upsurge of xenophobic violence in South Africa. The protests came as ambassadors of SADC countries were holding a meeting at Zimbabwe House. Barriers were placed outside the Embassy and police kept guard after several incidents in which demonstrators entered the building in attempts to deliver a letter. Once again the Embassy refused to accept the Vigil’s letter asking to discuss the abduction of Dzamara and the demonstrators were told they could not even push it under the closed front door. So we posted it at the local post office. Activists took time out from the demonstration to gather outside the nearby South African High Commission and presented a letter for President Zuma protesting at the upsurge of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Let them drown? – Saturday 18th April: News that some 700 migrants from Africa drowned when their boat capsized off Libya came within hours of a meeting at which the Zimbabwe Action Forum discussed the failure of the European Union and the African Union to deal with the growing crisis posed by the headlong flight from Africa and the Middle East. Among the ideas the forum discussed was the need for a UN protection zone outside the EU where migrants could receive food and medical attention, and indeed schooling, while their asylum claims for Europe could be processed. On the 35th anniversary of independence, the Vigil was joined outside by Mugabe himself (Fungayi in our Mugabe mask).  He was surrounded by devils bearing the gifts he has given the Zimbabwean people in his long reign: unemployment, starvation and terror.

Mugabe’s illegal sanctions – Saturday 25th April: The ignominious failure of the Mugabe regime’s court challenge to the sanctions imposed by the European Union has escaped much attention. That the challenge was a ludicrous waste of public money was obvious to the Vigil from the start – thrown into comic relief anyway by the gradual removal of the targeted measures. Zimbabwe must now foot the entire bill for this legal circus. Before the Vigil there was another demonstration outside the South African High Commission against the latest xenophobic violence.

A feast of hypocrisy – Saturday 2nd May: A massive power blackout ushered in SADC’s summit in Harare at which fireworks over xenophobic attacks in South Africa burst the organisation’s usual backslapping bubble of hypocrisy. President Khama left early to fly home to Botswana after joining President Zuma in asking the pointed question: ‘Why are people fleeing their own countries?’ lifting the lid on the forbidden topics of misgovernance and oppression.  Zuma noted that he had been told by an immigrant: ‘If you raise your voice (in my country) you disappear’. The hypocrisy of Mugabe and SADC is matched by the weasel words of the International Monetary Fund, which claims to have detected ‘meaningful progress’ in Zimbabwe.

Challenge Mugabe – Saturday 9th May: With senior US officials due to visit Zimbabwe for talks in the coming week, the Vigil calls on them to remain focused on human rights issues, in particular the abduction of Itai Dzamara. Despite a court order to investigate his disappearance, the police appear to have done nothing to look for him and it is feared that he has met the fate of so many awkward opponents of the regime: tortured and killed. The Zimbabwe Association’s exhibition in London shows fascinating glimpses of the Vigil’s 13-year history. The Exhibition is to tour the country.

A ZimAsset – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th May: Bananas are plentiful in KwaZulu Natal. So apparently are doctorates, judging by the PhD awarded to General Constantine Chiwenga by the university there. The armed forces commander has taken time out from his diamond looting, vote rigging, and widespread farming and business interests, apart from his day to day military chores, to gain a Doctor of Philosophy degree in – of all things – Ethics. He says he interviewed Mugabe for his research. The former Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, now ousted from the party, has suddenly seen the light and talks of ‘illegal bugging, torture, intimidation and abductions’. Another of the walking dead, former presidential affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, speaks of ‘complete lawlessness in Zimbabwe’

Mugabe’s poison – Saturday 23rd May: President Mugabe has called on South Africans to direct their xenophobia at whites instead of blacks. ‘I give poison not for you to swallow but to give to someone else’ he told the applauding staff at SADC Headquarters in Botswana. Speaking as Chair of the African Union as well as of SADC, Mugabe said South Africa needed a second liberation which would transfer wealth to blacks. He also called on Africa to stop courting the West for financial support, arguing that even with the end of colonialism the oppressors were back in Africa in the form of NGOs.

Bullet brain – Saturday 30th May: After 35 years of Mugabe, Zimbabweans will not be surprised at Sepp Blatter still clinging on to office as president of FIFA. He is a soul mate of Mugabe’s in corruption and manipulation. One of Mugabe’s most devoted disciples is Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu. He has not had the opportunity to sell the world cup to a desert country with little history of football. But his announcement that the government is planning to bring in bullet trains shows a similar level of delusion.

Sleeping on the job – Saturday 6th June: All Zimbabweans will be pleased that the veteran BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson thinks of Zimbabwe as ‘intensely beautiful, calm and welcoming’. In an article in the British Daily Telegraph, Mr Simpson says Zimbabwe is going through ‘a period of relative political stability’. The Vigil thinks Mr Simpson, instead of tossing off trite pieces for the travel pages, should do some research into what is happening in Zimbabwe before he next writes about it. He might even come across an article in the American ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine in which the authors say: ‘Over the course of the past few months, we have witnessed an ominous series of warning signs: bitter political infighting within the country’s ruling party, the worsening of already deplorable economic conditions, the abduction and disappearance of a prominent human rights activist, and a surge of inflammatory rhetoric and political violence.’ Perhaps Mr Simpleton is asleep like President Mugabe, wandering the world like the Flying Dutchman, treated in Nigeria a few days ago as a geriatric imbecile even before demonstrating the reality of this by snoring his way through President Buhari’s inauguration.

Big issues – Saturday 13th June: There are big issues facing leaders at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg. Women’s empowerment is the public face of the summit. But behind closed doors more immediately troubling problems will be raised. The headline issue is the resurgence of xenophobia in South Africa but the Vigil hopes AU leaders will address the broader question of the global migration crisis. It should come up with ideas on how they can encourage people to stay at home and develop the continent rather than fleeing to the West. Today we launched our new petition: To the UK Prime Minister: Exiled Zimbabweans, supporters and friends, at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, record our disgust at the anti-white rants of Zimbabwe’s illegitimate President Mugabe. We wish to affirm our unwavering support of Zimbabwe’s constitutional requirement for non-racism.’

Falling from the sky – Saturday 20th June: News that is to donate $300 million to avert starvation in Zimbabwe would be warmly welcomed by the worried Zimbabwean diaspora, scrimping to send money home to help our  families.  But such manna from heaven is unlikely to say the least. Mali’s President Keita is all big talk. On a state visit to Zimbabwe, he was shown over one of Mugabe’s collection of farms and said he was amazed by the ‘success stories’ of the land reform programme. As we gathered for our weekly Vigil we mourned the death of an African refugee – reportedly from Zimbabwe – who fell to earth from the undercarriage of a plane approaching London’s Heathrow Airport.

No to Mugabe’s poison – Saturday 27th June: The Zimbabwean diaspora turned out in force to present a petition to the Prime Minister’s official residence disowning racist comments by Robert Mugabe. In a letter accompanying the petition we assured Mr Cameron that Zimbabwean exiles in the UK wish to disown racist comments by Mugabe.

Geriatric Genocidaire – Saturday 4th July: The Vigil has launched a new petition calling for the arraignment of Mugabe before the International Criminal Court. We know he will be protected by his Security Council friends in Beijing and Moscow but we wish to focus attention on the evidence for the prosecution because Africa continues to honour this geriatric genocidaire. The Zimbabwean economist and opposition MP Eddie Cross recently looked at the population statistics and concluded that, even allowing for mass emigration, the population is some 10 million people short of what would have been expected by the historic growth trend – the result of misgovernance: starvation, disease and poverty.

Mugabe murdered Dzamara – Saturday 11th July: Exiled Zimbabweans and friends demonstrated outside the Zimbabwe Embassy to mark 4 months since the abduction of the civil rights activist Itai Dzamara. A letter accusing Mugabe of Itai’s murder was pushed under the closed front door of the Embassy. Vigil founder member and President of ROHR Ephraim Tapa announced that the Vigil would mark Itai’s abduction every month on the nearest Saturday to the 9th of the month until his family’s demands were satisfied.

Countdown to jubilation – Saturday 18th July: Suddenly Zimbabwe is back in the news. We thought the big news of the week was the remarkable volte-face by Vice-President Mnangagwa who, on a visit to China, admitted that Zanu PF had completely screwed up and would have to rethink everything. But what has propelled Zimbabwe up the news agenda is not the nitty-gritty of Zimbabwean politics but the human drama: who is going to take over from Mugabe. The question is discussed in an article in the UK Times today by the Zimbabwean journalist Jan Raath, who concludes: ‘The day Mugabe dies, the entire nation may well be enveloped in an explosion of jubilation.’

Divine Grace – Saturday 25th July: With her magical spiritual powers Amai Grace Mugabe PhD miraculously manifested herself at the Vigil in London to mark her 50th birthday. Asked how she had transported herself here while simultaneously gracing a glittering dinner/dance at her Borrowdale Brook mansion, the First Lady simply pointed to the full-colour advertisement sponsored by Air Zimbabwe in a 14-page birthday supplement in the Herald. We understood immediately what she meant as we all know that the bankrupt airline is capable of miracles or it would have stopped flapping its wings a long time ago. Thanks to Deborah Harry for donning our Mugabe mask to play  Grace.

Where’s the Pie? – Saturday 1st August: The second anniversary of the last stolen elections passed with little remark – though Zanu PF acknowledged for the first time the hollowness of its ZimAsset election manifesto. At the time it was unveiled the Vigil described the five-year economic programme as ‘Pie in the Sky’. Now it’s clear there is indeed no pie in prospect and Zanu PF doesn’t even know the recipe to bake one. ROHR members organised a protest at the Vigil today in support of workers back home and the many job losses resulting from recent legislation on the termination of contracts.

Mugabe and Co – Saturday 8th August: One of the expelled Zanu PF leaders has complained that the party has been turned into Mugabe’s private property and is inflicting ‘untold misery’ on Zimbabweans. Former Masvingo Minister of State Kudakwashe Bhasikiti was speaking in an interview with the Daily News. The Vigil welcomed unexpected visitors from Zimbabwe: Douglas Mwonzora, Secretary-General of MDC-T, and Theresa Makone, the party’s Treasurer. Mr Mwonzora spoke of reforms wanted by MDC-T, including the diaspora vote. The Vigil marked 5 months since the activist Itai Dzamara was abducted by the CIO. Despite international protests, all we get from Mugabe and Co is deathly silence. 

Produce all skulls – Saturday 15th August: Sacked information minister Jonathan Moyo simply can’t get out of propaganda mode. From his lowly perch as just one of the education ministers, Moyo is reduced to tweeting that the Zanu PF government can’t concentrate on turning around the economy before the repatriation of the remains of First Chimurenga heroes from foreign museums.  The Vigil managed to capture pictures of Mugabe visiting the British Museum in search of skulls. He was accompanied by his pet lion Rhodes. For our part, we urge Zanu PF to expand its search for skulls to include the 20,000 victims of Gukurahundi. And by the way where is Itai Dzamara?

Let them eat ice cream – Saturday 22nd August: All the reports we get at the Vigil suggest that the wheels are coming off Zimbabwe. This week we were sent several emails which in different ways graphically show how bad things are becoming. ‘We live in a country with absolutely no rule of law’, said one correspondent. ‘There is no money and everyone, not only government, is desperate to find funds. Corruption and bribery are a way of life. They are ingrained and will be hard to get rid of.’ Meanwhile Dr Grace has opened a new factory selling her dairy products, including ice cream. MDC spokesman Obert Gutu spoke of her extravagant display of wealth in a sea of poverty and said it was a clear sign that the Zanu PF regime was completely out of touch with the people.

The total liar – Saturday 29th August: ‘There are lies, damned lies and statistics’ goes the saying. Mugabe ticked all these boxes in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament. From his preliminary lie boasting of ‘peace and stability’, to his damned lie about tackling corruption to his ludicrous growth statistics, he was the total liar. Zimbabwean economist John Robertson said the State of the Nation Address was ‘clueless’. We were pleased to be joined by members of MDC-T Executive in the UK.

‘What have we to lose?’ – Saturday 5th September: This week the Vigil’s sister organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe took to the streets. They staged a demonstration in Harare against the Mugabe regime and joined in a protest march in Bulawayo against pre-paid water meters which it is argued will worsen the situation of the poor. ROHR leader Ephraim Tapa said he had told members in Harare that it was their constitutional right to demonstrate regardless of what the police said. Ephraim, who was speaking at the Action Forum held after the Vigil, disclosed he had just made an undercover visit to Zimbabwe. He said plans were underway for demonstrations in other areas.

IMF says no money for Zimbabwe – Saturday 12th September: The International Monetary Fund says that even if the Zimbabwean government makes economic reforms it will take at least three years before it can expect loans from international lenders. For his part, the European Ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe van Damme said Zimbabwe needed a return to the rule of law and respect for property rights if it is to attract foreign investment. These comments will be part of the message the Vigil will be presenting to any customers gullible enough to attend a Zanu PF fundraiser in London on 22nd September. The Vigil remembered civil rights activist Itai Dzamara on the 6-month anniversary of his abduction by government agents.

End of Mugabe Era – Saturday 19th September: The fiasco of 91-year-old Mugabe reading the wrong speech at the opening of Parliament cannot be dismissed as ‘a common era’ as the Herald put it (before correcting its spelling error!). Zanu PF MPs clapped sagely, suggesting that anything Mugabe said is alright with them. The opposition, which had heckled the State of the Nation Address when it was first delivered, had received death warnings to behave this time so they tried to keep a straight face.

London anti-Zanu PF demo – Tuesday 22nd September: The Vigil protested outside a meeting in London’s financial district at which a delegation representing the Mugabe regime tried to persuade people to invest in Zimbabwe. The delegation was led by Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha and included leaders of some bankrupt parastatals. Protestors displayed posters reading: ‘Don’t fund Mugabe’, ‘51% tax on investment’, ‘Britain don’t invest with Mugabe’s govt of thieves’ and ‘Where is Itai Dzamara?’

Minister flees London demo – Wednesday 23rd September: Zimbabwean minister Mike Bimha and Zanu PF cronies had to change venues for a London conference because of our protest. The conference aimed at getting money from the diaspora was scheduled to be held at the Embassy. Vigil and ROHR demonstrators gathered ahead of the planned start and put up banners. But the Embassy remained quiet with the front door locked and no staff in sight. Later we were informed by a policeman that the conference had been moved to a hotel.

Mugabe’s same old song – Saturday 26th September: For the second time in a few weeks Mugabe has delivered an old speech – this time recycling his clapped-out ideas at the United Nations, complaining that Zimbabwe lacks resources to implement the new UN development programme because of (the long-suspended!) sanctions imposed by Western countries. After our weekday protests we had a lot of encouraging messages. One read: ‘All the leaderless folks back home salute you for your courage and patriotism’.

Mugabe’s prosperity gospel – Saturday 3rd October: A Zimbabwean website’s story has been given splash treatment in the mass circulation Daily Mail here in the UK. The story taps into one of the few thriving industries in Zimbabwe – the prosperity prophet phenomenon. The prophet involved this time is Malawi-born Shepherd Bushiri who claims to have a private jet so private that nobody can see it and to be able to walk on air (presumably when he is not using his private jet). The website’s video about the miraculous ‘walking in the air’ has gone viral after being uploaded to Youtube. But the Mail, along with others, points to the unexplained shadow of someone apparently helping to support the floating prophet. The hoax helps explain the superstitious support for false prophet Mugabe and his creed of ‘believe in me: I can perform miracles’. A meeting of our Action Forum heard that ROHR has now, with the addition of Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North, set up structures in all ten provinces.

Khama save Zimbabwe – Saturday 10th October: To mark the Vigil’s 13th anniversary we launched a new petition warning that the situation in Zimbabwe is on a knife-edge because of threats by the army to wield ‘the Zanu PF axe’ against Mugabe’s opponents.  The petition is addressed to SADC Chair President Khama of Botswana and calls on SADC to intervene to stop a meltdown. We were sorry to see that about ten Zimbabweans saw fit to hold their own ‘vigil’ outside the Embassy at the same time as us – a sad example of how Zimbabweans can’t seem to work together. Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask to be pictured standing in front of the ‘anti-vigil’ holding a poster ‘thanks to Zanu PF Vigil for your support’.

Expel British farm looter – Saturday 17th October: The Vigil has called on the British authorities to take action against a UK doctor who is attempting to seize a farm in Zimbabwe. It is the latest incident in which Zimbabwean exiles given refuge in the UK have revealed the hypocrisy evidenced in the growth of Zanu PF activities in Britain.

Confusion Award – Saturday 24th October: China’s award of the Confusion Prize to Mugabe will be welcomed by all right-minded Zimbabweans. At last the confused leader is getting the recognition he deserves. The award comes at the right time for Mugabe. It brings in some money which will help the family’s struggling milk business, which apparently has run into ‘liquidity’ problems. In short, some people have been milking him.

Nottingham demonstration against farm looter – Tuesday 27th October:

About fifty people gathered outside a clinic in Nottingham run by Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro who is trying to seize a farm in Zimbabwe.  Dr Nyatsuro, now a British citizen having lived here for more than 10 years is trying to take over a farm from a white Zimbabwean, Philip Rankin who bought the farm after Independence with the approval of the Mugabe authorities. Vigil activists displayed posters reading: ‘Down with farm looter Dr Nyatsuro’, ‘No to Mugabe supporters in UK’.

UK demand for expulsion of Zim doctor – Saturday 31st October: The attempt by a British GP to seize a farm in Zimbabwe was condemned by Ephraim Tapa, founder member of the Vigil and President of ROHR. Ephraim accused the doctor of hypocrisy in trying to grab a farm from a white Zimbabwean farmer and in an interview with Voice of America he said that Dr Nyatsuro’s British citizenship must be revoked. ‘You can’t have it both ways. No to cronyism and no to tourism farming.’

Zanu PF swaggers in UK – Saturday 7th November: Attempts to disrupt the Vigil as we embark on our 14th year are linked we believe to a growing Zanu PF mafia in the UK. It is clear that some Zimbabweans who have settled here are unrepentant Mugabe supporters. While the Vigil is busy challenging a British GP who is trying to take over a farm in Zimbabwe we ourselves are under siege from a determined group who are seeking to profit from the asylum industry. They are trying to hijack our brand for their own purposes. At the Vigil today we marked eight months since the abduction by state intelligence agents of human rights activist Itai Dzamara.

Zimbabweans protest again at looting British GP – Friday 13th November: Thirty people went to Nottingham to stage another demonstration outside the clinic run by Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica who are trying to seize a farm in Zimbabwe although they have lived in the UK for more than ten years.  The supporters of the Vigil and  ROHR sang and danced and handed out flyers to passers-by.

 

Zanu PF‘s Fantasyland – Saturday 14th November: All Zimbabweans will have rejoiced that Zimbabwe is to produce its very own car and export it to the rest of Africa. The announcement in the Herald spoke of turning the country into ‘a regional giant of exporting finished products’. A note of reality came in the American magazine ‘Foreign Affairs’, which questioned Zimbabwe’s plan to borrow money from the international financial institutions so that it can begin to pay off the interest on its debts so that it can borrow more money which it will of course not repay. The Vigil expressed our solidarity with France after the terrorist attacks in Paris by wearing mourning bands.

Zimbabwe’s ‘perfect storm’ – Saturday 21st November: With Christmas approaching, Zimbabwe seems to be facing all the gifts from hell: economic meltdown, simmering violence, a looming food crisis and a witch on the rampage. The South Africa-based think tank NKC African Economics says Zimbabwe is on the brink of total collapse and the infighting in Zanu PF could trigger unprecedented chaos. As Zanu PF gathers at Victoria Falls for its conference. Zimbabweans can only be grateful that mother of the nation Dr Grace will be there to hand out adult size 12 plastic shoes to the children.

Ugly budget – Saturday 28th November: The ugly situation in Zimbabwe was reflected in the pitiful budget of $4 billion announced by Finance Minister Chinamasa. To put it in perspective, the money involved is less than half the annual turnover of the South African food retailer Shoprite . . . The Vigil is sad that Zimbabwe is not under the leadership of someone with the vision of new Tanzanian President Magufuli whose first move was to cancel independence day celebrations to spend the money on a clean up campaign. This is not Mugabe’s way. He went on from his Paris shopping trip to triumph at the Vigil’s Mr Ugly competition, winning the Nikuv floating trophy.

Goblin economics – Saturday 5th December: Zanu PF says it has raised well over the $3 million it wanted for its conference at Victoria Falls. Most of this money will come, in reality, from state coffers. Our galaxy of parastatals – driven into bankruptcy by Zanu PF looting – paid up to $100,000 each for a boastful table at dinners in Harare and Bulawayo held to raise funds for the conference. First Lady Dr Goblin Mugabe accused non-governmental organisations of giving food handouts to hungry people ‘year in and year out’. Dr Goblin continued ‘this shows that they don’t have the people at heart. They want us to be beggars for the rest of our lives.’

United for human rights  - Saturday 12th December: Zimbabweans supported our friends of the Swaziland Vigil when they presented a petition to the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street calling for the suspension of Swaziland from the Commonwealth until there is democracy and an end to human rights abuses. Nine months after Itai Dzamara was abducted, the Vigil held its monthly protest to ensure he is not forgotten.

Quoting Bible a crime – Saturday 19th December: The hypocrisy of the Zanu PF regime and the complicity of the outside world have been exposed by the solitary pilgrimage of Pastor Patrick Mugadza who took the road to Calvary from Kariba to protest against Mugabe at the Victoria Falls conference. Despite our lauded and expensive yet-to-be-implemented 2013 constitution which enshrined human rights, Pastor Patrick was thrown into prison for displaying a poster ‘Mr President, the people are suffering. Proverbs 21, 13’ (‘Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard’.)  The Vigil is particularly disappointed at the failure of the UK and the West to promote the new constitution for which they provided so much money in a time-consuming process which succeeded only in distracting attention from Zanu PF’s stealing the last elections.

Mugabe’s happy Christmas – Saturday 26th December: As we spent another Christmas in exile we were surprised to hear from the United Nations that ‘Zimbabwe had done tremendously well’ on the human rights front. We would never have known this if the Herald had not carried an article by the UN’s acting resident co-ordinator Dr David Okello. The Herald quoted him as saying: ‘Zimbabwe has made tremendous strides in living the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. The latest UN ravings must have cheered Mugabe as he set off for his annual holiday in the Far East after a celebratory banquet at State House for Zanu PF bigwigs. Zimbabwe now closes down for the next month or so until the geriatric reappears to replenish his funds for his 92nd birthday celebrations.

 

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 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.