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Vigil Diary Archive Mar - Apr 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 01 March 2008 00:00
26 th April 2008

It was a day of glorious sunshine in London – a welcome relief from the cold, wet weather we have been experiencing at the Vigil. Supporters expressed growing anger at the Mugabe regime's crazed efforts to remain in power and at the reign of terror inflicted on opposition supporters. We had lots of new posters at the Vigil featuring victims of the violence and many people stopped to look at them. Many thanks to David McAllister for producing the posters.

Vigil spokesman Ephraim Tapa expressed his admiration for the bravery of those confronting the regime. He said an injury to one was an injury to us all. Stendrick Zvorwadza of our partner organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) said change could only come about through people standing up for their rights. He said that his deputy in Zimbabwe Tichanzii Gandanga was abducted on Tuesday and found in the bush 80 miles East of Harare on Thursday very badly injured.  Apparently he was forced to lie down on the road and then his abductors drove over his legs four times.  He is now in hospital in Harare .

The Vigil and ROHR resolved that next week's Vigil will be dedicated to our suffering, abused, star ved and tortured brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe . We will be their voice and will run a petition calling on President Mbeki to intervene to stop the violence because we believe that only South Africa can bring it to an end.

One of our supporters had a chilling experience at the Zimbabwe Embassy. She lost her Zimbabwean passport and had to visit the Embassy to get it replaced. She was thoroughly interrogated and shown a photograph of herself at the Vigil.

FOR THE RECORD: 160 signed the register.

 

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 19 th April 2008

Zimbabwean musicians protesting against Mugabe, the Zimbabwean Embassy invaded and the Africa Union challenged. A busy week in London .

Three days of demonstrations outside the Embassy culminated in the relaunch of the Vigil's petition calling for action against the Southern African Development Community for their failure to hold Mugabe to agreed election protocols. It reads: “ A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the star ving in Zimbabwe .”

We want to make clear that the aid we want stopped is not humanitarian aid but balance of payments support. If Zimbabwe 's neighbours are giving support to the Mugabe dictatorship they must share the burden of suffering with the people of Zimbabwe , who will need ever-increasing food supplies from abroad because of the disastrous regime.

Several well-known musicians joined the Vigil to protest against the illegal recounting of votes in 23 constituencies, among them Lucky Moyo, formerly of Black Unfolozi, and Willard Karanga, formerly with Thomas Mapfumo's band. The music was brilliant and drew in many passers-by despite the cold weather. The message was ‘we want change'.

Vigil supporters were also out in force on Friday for a demonstration organised by Action for Southern Africa , the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, to mark Zimbabwe 's Independence Day. It was attended by Stendrick Zvorwadza of our partners Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHRZim). He said it was not a true Independence Day at all -- independence meant freedom and Zimbabweans were worse off than under the Smith regime. The protest was attended by about 150 people including a number of trade union leaders. There were also representatives of Zimbabwean youth groups who earlier that day had invaded a meeting in London addressed by Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein of Tanzania, which is the current chair of the AU. They challenged him about the organisation's attitude to Zimbabwe .

The day before, on Thursday, the MDC in the UK staged a protest against the rigged elections outside the Embassy and South Africa House. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, the Zimbabwe Embassy itself had been invaded by a group of Zimbabweans – all ladies except for one brave man.

We have had massive media coverage in an unprecedented expression of interest in the Zimbabwe situation. It doesn't surprise us that the Vigil makes up the bulk of 39 people in the UK reportedly targeted by the CIO to be dealt with. Note to Happyton Bonyongwe (head of the CIO): one of your operatives seems to have photographed a page of the Vigil register. He is not really earning his money.

FOR THE RECORD: over 200 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:

•  Saturday, 26 th April 2008 , 2 – 6 pm . Next Glasgow Vigil. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information, contact: Ancilla Chifamba , 07770 291 150 and Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.  

•  Saturday, 26 th April 2008 , 12 – 2 pm. Bristol Vigil are holding a protest in Bristol City Centre. They write: “ Urgent action For Zimbabwe . Zimbabwe is in distress - Mugabe is stealing the election. Do your part in helping to restore democracy in Zimbabwe .” Contact: Forward 079 19894 900; Morgan 078 762 66915; Dave 0117 9025009 or Jude 078 0130 4439.

•  Wednesday, 30 th April – Saturday, 10 th May. “I will tell” a Christian film festival from Jericho Films ( http://www.jerichofilms.com/festival08/festival.html ). They are inviting Zimbabwe Vigil supporters to take part in discussion panels about 4 of the films: 3 rd May – WORLD UNSEEN (High Holborn) a South African film about racism, relationship and politics. 7 th May – ESCAPE FROM LUANDA ( Greenwich ) a story of the power of music in overcoming adversity after the civil war in Angola . 8 th May – SON OF MAN ( Mayfair ) a South African re-interpretation of the story of Jesus against the backdrop of violence, racism and political abuse. 9 th May – EZRA (Euston) a story about the experience of a child soldier. If you wish to take part please contact Jenny on 07961 371 676, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

15 th April 2008

Three days of protest outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London – 17-19 April

Exiled Zimbabweans and supporters are taking part in three days of demonstrations outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London in protest at the rigging of the Zimbabwe elections.

1.    T hursday, 17 th April, 10 am – 4 pm . MDC UK is gathering outside the Embassy in protest over Mugabe's undemocratic clinging to power. For more information contact: Jaison Matewu 07816 619 788, Owen Mtombeni 07780 544 181.

2.     Friday, 18 th April, 12.30 - 2 pm. Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) is calling on supporters to demonstrate for democracy on Zimbabwe 's Independence Day. For more information visit: http://actsa.org/page-1312-DemonstrationforDemocracyinZimbabwe.html . ACTSA will be supported by the trade unions and would really like Vigil support to make it a Zimbabwean protest. We will be there with our banners.

3.     Saturday, 19 th April, 2 – 6 pm . The Vigil will be protesting about the planned recounting of Parlliamentary and Presidential votes by Zanu PF. We will be relaunching our petition calling on EU governments to suspend aid to SADC countries and instead finance the star ving in Zimbabwe . The Vigil's musicians will be taking centre stage. We will have with us Lucky Moyo of Black Umfolozi fame who has made a special request to Zimbabwean musicians in the UK to come to the Vigil and speak out on the situation in Zimbabwe . He says “as much as we may want to be apolitical we are social commentators. We must play a part by reflecting in song what pathways our society has taken over the last 28 years”. His call has been echoed by Willard Karanga, formerly of Thomas Mapfumo's band, who will also be with us. The event will be covered by SW Radio Africa.

The Mugabe regime is unleashing a new campaign of terror and violence on the people of Zimbabwe .

Every day Mugabe remains in power is one more day of suffering.

PLEASE COME AND PROTEST - DON'T LEAVE IT TO OTHERS, COME YOURSELF

IF WE DON'T KEEP UP THE PRESSURE THE WORLD WILL FORGET US

DON'T LET ZIMBABWE BECOME ANOTHER BURMA

WE MUST ALL ACT NOW OR ACCEPT OUR FATE

 

12 th April 2008

There was gloom at Mugabe's moves to prolong his regime. Hail in April matched the lousy situation in Zimbabwe . Our tarpaulin protecting us from the rain was again a source of great entertainment as we prodded it with umbrellas to get rid of pools of water, showering unsuspecting people.

Stendrick Zvorwadza of our partner organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR Zim) came to the Vigil straight from the airport to give us a first hard account of what is happening at home. He thanked the Vigil for supporting the work of ROHR in its quest to get people to stand up for their human rights. ROHR members were confronting the regime head on and Zimbabweans had responded by voting for the opposition without fear. But Sten warned that Zanu PF was now preparing to unleash terror, torture, violence and hunger. It would not be removed from power without a protest movement that would influence the international community to act. This, he said, was exactly what the ROHR / Vigil family believed in.

A sad reflection of the situation was that Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani has been busy trying to organize medication for his nephew beaten up by Zanu PF in Harare .

Lucky Moyo of Black Umfolozi fame has invited Zimbabwean musicians in the UK to join him at the Vigil next Saturday, 19 th April to speak out on the situation in Zimbabwe . He says “as much as we may want to be apolitical we are social commentators. We must play a part by reflecting in song what pathways our society has taken over the last 28 years”. Regular Vigil supporter Willard Karanga, formerly of Thomas Mapfumo's band, will be one musician who will support Lucky's initiative.

Before then Vigil supporters will be taking part in a demonstration outside the Embassy marking Independence Day on Friday, 18 th April. The event is organised by Action for Southern Africa , the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. We will be protesting about the way the election has been handled .

Our friends in Glasgow held their second Vigil today. They report a successful afternoon with increased attendance and concern and interest from Scottish passers-by. They are pleased that they now have their own drum.

We are happy to welcome a new Vigil baby. Fortunate Chisvo has had a little girl.

FOR THE RECORD: 136 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:

•  Friday, 18 th April 2008 , 12 – 2 pm. Demonstration outside the Zimbabwe Embassy London with ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa ) to protest at the way the election has been handled.

•  Saturday, 19 th April 2008 – Zimbabwean musicians in the UK will be joining Lucky Moyo at the Vigil to make their voices heard at this critical time in Zimbabwe .

•  Saturday, 26 th April 2008 , 2 – 6 pm . Next Glasgow Vigil. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information, contact: Ancilla Chifamba , 07770 291 150 and Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.  

 

5 th April 2008

Zimbabweans from all over the United Kingdom gathered outside the Embassy to express their anger at the manipulation of the voting in the elections. There has been massive publicity about the situation in Zimbabwe and everyone who passed by seemed to be very concerned. The Vigil's posters expressed our supporters' disgust: ‘Mugabe Go Now', Mugabe Stop Rigging'. The Vigil's own President Mugabe – Fungayi Mabhunu in his mask – was on hand to warn people of the perils of voting for Mugabe, handing out ballot papers reading ‘Mugabe for Starvation', ‘Mugabe for Torture' etc. He was again accompanied by Gugu Ndlovu-Tutani playing the first lady who apologized for being late by saying she had been shopping at Harrods. Fungayi's mother saw him on television and sent him a text saying “I've seen u wearing a nice suit and face of that man who is ruining our country – he now going to rule ma dongi kwa zvimba”.

We had several white visitors from Zimbabwe : two ladies said they'd come to the Vigil to find out what people were thinking. A family from the Midlands in Zimbabwe had seen Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani on Sky TV and came to the Vigil to meet us all. We were also joined by Patrick Dzimba from the Glasgow Vigil. London Vigil supporters were pleased to be able to congratulate him in person for his good efforts last week.

Once again the Vigil was swamped by media. We have been overwhelmed with requests from the media for spokespeople over the past week. Dumi, Ephraim and Rose were in constant demand and Chengetai Mupara appeared on Ben TV. Dennis has had daily calls from Vatican Radio and feels he is going straight to heaven. France 24 TV asked for speakers for debates in French and English. Bonny bravely took on the French debate and found herself taking part in an hour long programme. Luka Phiri featured in an arresting article in the Daily Mirror on Thursday. There are interviews with Ephraim Tapa and Chipo Chaya in a video on the Vigil and SW Radio Africa posted on the VOA website. Check: http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-03-27-voa36.cfm . Clic k on the links at the top to watch the TV report.

At the end of the Vigil supporters of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe arrived with food for everyone. There was plenty left over so they fed the homeless in the area as well.

The Vigil has been receiving many messages of support through the trials of the last week. One from a Zimbabwean living in Spain says he has been following what we've been doing for a long time and thanks us for our hard work and persistence. Another is from a Cabindan who we met in Lisbon during the AU/EU summit. He writes “We are with you, we are for the freedom of the people in Zimbabwe ”.

FOR THE RECORD: 190 signed the register.

 

31 st March 2008

Message from the Glasgow Zimbabwe Vigil: “ We star ted the day with great anticipation as we know it was the eagerly awaited Zimbabwe 's general election day and it really was very successful. We'd a great gathering from our fellow Zimbabwean people from in and around Scotland . We had fellow Africans from South Africa as well as Botswana and they very sympathetic with the situation in Zimbabwe . We are very thankful to the Scottish people and all the general public in Scotland who were very sympathetic to the disoriented Zimbabwean in general and made the day a real success. We had a lot of people signing the petitions. The people were singing and dancing to the drum beats of the Zimbabwean echoes. We (vigil) would like to say many regards to all, who made this first ever gathering of this kind to be an instant success.  We say thank you Scotland !” Glasgow pictures have been posted on the Vigil photo website.

 

Zimbabwe Mock Elections – 29th March 2008

About 500 people came to the Vigil for our mock election. We were outside the Embassy from 6 am to 6 pm , with some people joining us from a Prayer Vigil for Zimbabwe at Southwark Cathedral. There was a lot of press interest and while the Vigil was on we had telephone calls from people telling us we were on Sky and BBC television. One supporter summed up the day: “ I was so happy. To me it was real.”

The focus of attention was Fungayi Mabhunu wearing a Mugabe mask and accompanied by Gugu Tutani -Ndlovu as Grace. Fungayi really got into the swing of things, mouthing Mugabe's vitriolic comments about puppet Tsvangirai, prostitute Makoni and the evil British while stuffing the giant ballot box with votes reading ‘Mugabe for Murder', ‘Mugabe for Torture', Mugabe for Starvation' etc. Mugabe's last stunt was to try to hitch a lift to exile in North Korea .

Also much photographed was a dead voter rising from a coffin to cast a vote for Mugabe, who was surrounded by people dressed as soldiers, policemen (particular thanks to Paradzai Mapfumo) and green bombers as well as blinkered election observers from countries such as Sudan, Libya and Russia.

Thanks to the coffin makers, Munetsi Toro and his cousin Albert, and to Choice Matambanadazo and Julius Muguwe, who made the tunics for the election observers. Choice also brought a beautifully iced cake reading ‘Elections 2008 – Mugabe must go'. Thanks to our sister organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR Zimbabwe) for feeding us with sadza and stew.

We were pleased to have with us a Kenyan, who was very supportive given his country's unfortunate recent election experience. We were also joined by our good supporter from Devon Caroline Witts who brought lovely hessian shopping bags for sale reading ‘Working for a new Zimbabwe ' with our website address. Also good to see our friends from Bristol : Rosemary Baragwanath, Jude Edwards and Mathilda Mudariki, who are still holding regular protests. We hear from Patrick Dzimba and Anceilla Chifamba that the first Glasgow Zimbabwe Vigil went well with 15 supporters turning up including friends from Botswana and South Africa . Passers-by were very supportive.

After the long but exuberant Vigil we adjourned to the Vigil pub to count the votes. The results were:

•  Presidential: Morgan Tsvangirai 273, Simba Makoni 31, Robert Mugabe 10, Langton Tounganga 5.

•  Parliamentary / Senate: MDC (Tsvangirai) 252, MDC (Mutambara) 12, Zanu-PF 8, Independent 12, Other Parties 5

Percentages.

•  Presidential: Morgan Tsvangirai 85.5%, Simba Makoni 10%, Robert Mugabe 3%, Langton Tounganga 1.5%.

•  Parliamentary/Senate: MDC (Tsvangirai) 87%, MDC (Mutambara) 4%, Zanu-PF 3%, Independent 4%, Other Parties 2%.

The votes for Mugabe should be taken with a pinch of salt because they included the ones he stuffed in himself and others coerced by the police or deposited by dead voters. Not everyone voted because they couldn't get near the box because of the crush.

 

22 nd March 2008

It may have been the first day of Spring but weatherwise it was more like Christmas. All the elements were against us – a blustery wind and sleeting showers. It was brilliant that so many people came. A young woman from Sheffield said she was covered in snow when she left home.

In between dancing and singing we practised scenes for the media events we are holding during our Mock Election next Saturday. A big thank you to Choice Matambanadzo and her husband Julius Muguwe who brought two tunics they had made for actors in our photo calls – so we had a dead voter and an election observer from that most democratic of countries, Sudan. They will be bringing more tunics next week.

Also with us was Comrade Mugabe (he can't keep away!) He gave us a preview of how he plans to rig next week's elections by stuffing the ballot box. His army and police force will be on hand to help him – Patson Muzuwa and Charles Masawi brought uniforms.

cold Easter Saturday there were almost more people at the Vigil than on the street. But instead of hurrying by many of them did a double take when they spotted Mugabe and whipped out their cameras.

FOR THE RECORD: 140 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:

•  Friday, 28 th March, 2.30 – 8.30pm . Vigil of Prayer at Southwark Cathedral on the eve of the elections. Saturday, 29 th March, 9.15 am . Special Eucharist followed by a time of prayer until 11 am . If you wish to lead one of the prayer times on Friday afternoon, please contact Canon Andrew Nunn 0207 367 6727. (The Diocese of Southwark is linked to the Anglican dioceses of Manicaland, Matabeleland and Central Zimbabwe .)

•  Saturday, 29 th March 2008 , 6 am – 6 pm : Zimbabwe Vigil's diaspora polling station and mock ballot.

•  Saturday, 29 th March 2008 , 2 – 6 pm . First Glasgow Vigil. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information, contact: Ancilla Chifamba , 07770 291 150 and Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.  

•  Saturday, 29 th March 2008 , 12.30 – 2 pm . The Zimbabwean Development Support Association Wales is holding a demonstration in Cardiff at the Bevan Statue, Queen Street , Cardiff . For more information contact Kuchi Cuthbert Makari 07939 721 419 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

•  Sunday 30th March at 7:00 pm. Tongue Tied? Zimbabwean dance company Tumbuka perform at the Cochrane Theatre, Southampton Row WC1B 4AP. For more information see http://www.tonguetied.org.uk . T ickets: £15  Box Office 020 7269 1606 or book online: www.cochranetheatre.co.uk .

 

News Release – 18 th March 2008 – Mock Elections outside Zimbabwe House

Zimbabwean exiles are to stage mock elections outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London from 6am to 6pm on election day, Saturday 29 th March.

With the elections in Zimbabwe little more than a week away it is already clear that the results will be rigged. Members of the military have been filling in multiple postal votes and the voters' roll is in a shambles. The opposition has been denied access to the mass media and no election monitors are being admitted from the West, which has been feeding millions of people left star ving by Mugabe's murderous rule.

There will be two media events - at 11.00 am and 15.00 pm - which will demonstrate how the elections are being stolen. They will feature the human rights activist Patson Muzuwa, who has appeared on the West End stage, and Fungayi Mubhunu, wearing the Mugabe mask he wore at a demonstration in Lisbon against the attendance of Mugabe at the AU/EU summit last December.

The mock elections are organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Embassy every Saturday in support of free and fair elections since October 2002.

For further information contact Vigil Co-ordinators Rose Benton (07970 996 003) and Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775).

 

15 th March 2008

Early arrivals at the Vigil were Simba Chipunza and his family (wife Madeline Kucherera and daughter Delmar) all the way from Liverpool . They hitched a ride on a coach carrying demonstrators to a ‘Stop the War' rally in Trafalgar Square ! Ours was more a ‘Stop the Suffering' rally with much anxious discussion about the coming elections.

Supporters of our partners Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe joined us to recruit members for their campaign to empower people in Zimbabwe to stand up for their rights.

We were glad to be joined by Dr Brighton Chireka, a human rights campaigner from the early days of the Vigil and, on his first visit, baby Mandla Mutyambizi-Dewa with his mother Addley. Addley's husband Julius told us that his brother Farai Robert Mutyambizi has been charged with high treason after being returned to Zimbabwe by the German authorities. He said that Farai, an ex-soldier with the Zimbabwean army, has been tortured while in the hands of the Central Intelligence Organisation. Julius is calling for a boycott of the German airline Lufthansa for flying him out of Germany .

On a brighter note, the German news agency Deutsche Welle is showing more compassion for the plight of Zimbabweans. They spent the afternoon with us, mainly filming Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani who is to feature in a report about Zimbabweans in the diaspora. He led the singing and dancing with his usual exuberance helped by the excellent singing of Thandiwe Ndlovu, another supporter from Liverpool .

Patson Muzuwa and Luka Phiri of the Zimbabwe Association were on hand at the Vigil to give advice to people anxious about their asylum status following reports that many Zimbabweans have received letters from the Home Office advising them to make plans to go home.

We have put the photographs of Vikki Farrell 's big tapestry which expresses what is happening in Zimbabwe on our photo website (see diary of 1 st March 2008 ). Vikki is planning to bring it to Vigil.

After the Vigil, we had another well-attended meeting to finalise plans for our Mock Election on 29 th March. Good ideas were forthcoming for our media stunts and a news release will follow shortly.

FOR THE RECORD: 203 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:

•  Saturday, 22 nd March, 1pm. Easter Zimbabwe debate at Scarborough Library. Contact: Albert Weidemann (07917 056 093)

•  Friday, 28 th March, 2.30 – 8.30pm . Vigil of Prayer at Southwark Cathedral on the eve of the elections. Saturday, 29 th March, 9.15 am . Special Eucharist followed by a time of prayer until 11 am . If you wish to lead one of the prayer times on Friday afternoon, please contact Canon Andrew Nunn 0207 367 6727. (The Diocese of Southwark is linked to the Anglican dioceses of Manicaland, Matabeleland and Central Zimbabwe .)

•  Saturday, 29 th March 2008 , 6 am – 6 pm : Zimbabwe Vigil's diaspora polling station and mock ballot.

 

8 th March 2008

Singing and toy-toying behind placards reading ‘Dignity! Democracy Zimbabwe ', a stream of people joined the Vigil after a rally down the Strand in Trafalgar Square . The rally was organised by ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa ) on International Women's Day in support of women in Zimbabwe . Among the speakers were Lucia Matibenga, Vice-President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Takavafira Zhou , President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and Maureen Kademaunga , Gender and Human Rights Officer of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union .

Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani took to the stage singing and dancing along with Vigil supporter Mercy Mwakipesile. But the musical star s were Lucky Moyo and his group. Lucky (of Black Umfolosi fame) joined us at the Vigil afterwards and his magical singing drew in many passers-by including a policeman who sat in his car in the middle of the road to listen to our music. He said it was wonderful.

The three Zimbabwean speakers also joined us and helped make it a special occasion. Our supporters greatly valued the opportunity to speak to them and hear their views in the run-up to the elections.

We were also glad to have with us Martin Karando of the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign in Belfast . He had broken his journey to attend the rally and be with the Vigil. The Campaign is to have a photographic exhibition on election violence in Zimbabwe on 15 th March.

As election fever hots up we are being joined by more journalists keen to get background material including the French and German news agencies AFP and Deutsche Welle. A reminder that there will be a meeting after the Vigil on 15 th March to discuss our plans for the election Vigil on 29 th March.

We were happy Lucia Matibenga agreed to talk to us at a specially-arranged meeting after the Vigil. More than 60 people attended and were deeply touched by her talk. She warned us that there was no way the elections could be free and fair. Everything had already been skewed in favour of Zanu-PF. But she said the struggle for change would continue whatever it took. Ms Matibenga spoke of the importance of outside pressure and support and said when she got the Zimbabwean newspaper she turned first to the Vigil diary . . . and looked at the pictures.

We are pleased that a Vigil of Prayer for Zimbabwe is to be held at Southwark Cathedral in London on 28 th March, the eve of the elections. Prayers will be said hourly from 2.30 pm until 8.30 pm , and on election day there will be a special Eucharist at 9.15 followed by a time of prayer until 11 am .

With the ever deteriorating situation at home, we report another sad death. Vigil supporter Yvonne Fombe's mother died on Friday. We grieve with her.

FOR THE RECORD : 243 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:

•  Monday, 10 th March 2008 at 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe Forum. The speaker is Geoff Hill , author of ‘the Battle for Zimbabwe ' and ‘What happens after Mugabe'. Geoff will give us a pre-election briefing. Venue: Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

•  Saturday, 15 th March 2008 . Vigil meeting to finalise plans for our mock election on 29 th March.

•  Saturday, 15 th March 2008 , 10 am – 12 noon . Photographic Exhibition on “Elections: a violent event in Zimbabwe ” organised by the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign. Contact: Apolonia Mbondiya (02890640533 or 07770854444). Venue : TWN, Unit 10B, Weavers Court , Linfield Road , Belfast .

•  Saturday, 22 nd March, 1pm. Easter Zimbabwe debate organised by Albert Weidemann at Scarborough Library.

•  Friday, 28 th March, 2.30 – 8.30pm . Vigil of Prayer at Southwark Cathedral on the eve of the elections. Saturday, 29 th March, 9.15 am . Special Eucharist followed by a time of prayer until 11 am . If you wish to lead one of the prayer times on Friday afternoon, please contact Canon Andrew Nunn 0207 367 6727. (The Diocese of Southwark is linked to the Anglican dioceses of Manicaland, Matabeleland and Central Zimbabwe .)

•  Saturday, 29 th March 2008 , 6 am – 6 pm : Zimbabwe Vigil's diaspora polling station and mock ballot.

 

1 st March 2008

Four weeks to go: the elections dominated talk at the Vigil. We are phoning home all the time so we know what is happening on the ground. We are determined to make polling day a big occasion in London . We will be outside the Embassy during Zimbabwean voting time and run our own election for the Zimbabwean diaspora. After all, so many Zimbabweans have already voted with their feet that any election that does not take this into account cannot be representative.

It was cheering to be supported by people passing by the Embassy: A group of half a dozen Austrians joined in our singing and dancing and bought our “Make Mugabe History” bracelets. We were also filmed throughout the day by David and Collette from Cinema Action. They are making a film entitled “Lethani Ilizwe Lethu” (Give us back our country). David also played “Nkosi Sikelele” on his penny whistle accompanied by Vigil singers.

Doubt Chimonyo paid tribute to our dear friend Tendai Chshanu who died last week. Vigil supporters were in tears listening to him. We made a collection for her family and prayed for her.

The Vigil team gathered afterwards to discuss our plans for election day. In brief, we decided there would be two media events outside the Embassy, the first at 11.00 and the second at 15.00, both featuring the Mugabe mask we used at the Lisbon summit last December and the giant plastic ballot box we have used at successive elections. We are holding an open meeting on Saturday 15 th March for all who want to be involved.

Our friends in Glasgow, Ancilla Chifamba and Patrick Dzimba, are making progress with their plans to star t a Vigil. They are in touch with the local council which has agreed they can hold a fortnightly Vigil at the Argyle Street Precinct star ting on election day, Saturday, 29 th March. We will keep you informed of times etc.

Vikki Farrell who came to the Vigil on 9 th February has contacted us to say her 5m X 2.5m tapestry / collage to express what is happening in Zimbabwe is now on display at the University of Brighton public gallery in a prominent position. We are asking her for pictures of her tapestry which we will put on the photo website when we get them.

FOR THE RECORD: 175 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:

•  Monday, 3 rd March 2008 at 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Speakers including Adrian Lunga of WEZIMBABWE will debate the chances of the Presidential candidates. Venue: Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

•  Saturday, 8 th March 2008 , 12 – 1.30 pm . Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) Rally for Dignity! and Democracy in Zimbabwe on International Women's Day in Trafalgar Square , London . Speakers include: Lucia Matibenga, Vice-President Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Takavafira Zhou , President, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Maureen Kademaunga , Gender and Human Rights Officer, Zimbabwe National Students' Union . The rally is followed by the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy at 14.00 and at 15.30 the Million Women Rise Rally in Trafalgar Square to end violence against women. More information on www.actsa.org .  Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 020 3263 2001 to let ACTSA know if you are coming

•  Saturday, 29 th March 2008 , 6 am – 6 pm : Zimbabwe Vigil's diaspora polling station and mock ballot.
 

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.