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Silly Ninny – Zimbabwe Vigil: 18th April 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:49

Like Mugabe, the respected columnist and broadcaster Matthew Parris is said to be a charming man. But he has raised some hackles with superficial articles on his recent holiday in Zimbabwe. His first  piece was in the Times on 29th March:

 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/matthewparris/article3367354.ece

Time moves on. Haunts of childhood stay still

Zimbabwe Notebook: Home hasn’t changed at all

 

Amazing how fast everything comes back after 44 years. It was Salisbury airport then and it’s Harare airport now, but, hire car collected, I at once remembered the way back into town and never needed a map even though the street names – Stanley Avenue, Jameson Avenue – had mostly changed. Returning to what was then Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe has given me a new sympathy with John Major’s much-mocked exclamation in a party political video in which he returned to his boyhood home in Brixton. “It’s still there!”

 

“Of course it is, you ninny,” we all cried. But time and again in the past week, and to the exasperation of my companion, I’ve been whooping spontaneously at the amazed discovery that an entire country does not vaporise simply as a result of one’s ceasing to favour it with one’s presence. “My old school — it’s still there!” “Our old house, it’s still there!” “The Chimanimani mountains – still there!”

 

Washing lane

The potholes, though, are new. Actually Zimbabwe has a better road network now than when the white government fell at the end of the 1970s, but there does seem to be a problem with maintenance. Potholes are a major topic of conversation among Zimbabweans black and white, each contributor outbidding the last, like anglers, in their claims as to the size and frequency of the shockers they’ve most recently encountered.

 

Nobody, however, has yet outbid one motorist I met who had heard from a friend just over the border in Mozambique: “. . . and on this lonely road he rounds this bend, and there in the middle of the road was this almighty pothole so he jams on the brakes and to his astonishment a woman’s head appears above the surface of the road, then her body, then a towel which she wraps herself in and scuttles towards the ditch clutching all her clothes and a bar of soap.

She had been bathing in the pothole.”

 

A working country

So potholes, yes; and power cuts, yes; and the grass verges aren’t as well mown as they were in the days of white Rhodesia. But if you’re expecting ambushes, armed robberies and empty shelves in the supermarkets, you’ve been misinformed. Huge political problems abound, but Zimbabwe is not devastated and its people are not destitute. Now that they’ve abandoned their own currency in favour of the US dollar and the South African rand, the country more or less works.

 

As a tourist — and I do emphasise “tourist”, for who knows what a tourist never sees? — you will encounter a gentle, friendly and safe place; a muzzled press but fairly open conversation; a viable mobile phone network, fuel in all the petrol stations, clean rooms in a range of lovely hotels, nice people, good English, spectacular landscapes — and almost no other tourists at all.

 

We appeared to have the Chimanimani mountains almost to ourselves. No, not “almost”: entirely. The visitors’ book at the national park entrance recorded the last visit as being three days before. I had always wanted to climb these mountains as a boy, and now here we were, on a cool day of sunshine and cloud, clambering up steep footpaths across tumbling streams towards a magnificent wall of pale quartzite peaks, their summits some 8,000ft above sea level.

We picnicked on a wide, flat valley beneath them — thick with yellow elephant grass, small antelope scampering away. We clambered down before a glorious sunset, bade the warden goodbye and good luck in getting another visitor or two, perhaps, in a few days; and made our weary but exultant way back to our bungalow — the Bradt guide quoting a description of the proprietor as “probably the nicest person in the world”. She was.

 

The darker side

Tourists, as I said, don’t see everything; and our happy picture was sometimes challenged by darker stories. Once he trusted us, one young African in Matabeleland told us that his parents, who had become too “political”, had been wired into their hut while the children were away and incinerated when the hut was set aflame. Terrified and still a youth, he had walked south, alone, and crossed the Limpopo River illegally to South Africa to make his way in the world.

Now he had returned, because “the storm has abated ... for the immediate”. He had an outstanding command of English but as if learnt from a 19th-century Methodist school textbook. “Let me now put the flesh of detail”, he said gravely, “on the skeletal outline with which I have already furnished you.”

Then he explained how the park that we were in had been protected as national patrimony “for the benefit of babies and sucklings”. I thought of this clever, orphaned boy picking his way alone in the dark across the Limpopo, possessing literally nothing, towards a future completely unknown.

 

The article drew a sharp response from Tom Benyon of Zane:

 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article3371968.ece

Zim ruled by fear Published at 12:01AM, April 3 2012

The shops may be full of goods but people right across the community in Zimbabwe cannot afford to buy anything on offer

 

Sir, Matthew Parris (Mar 29) claims that “Zimbabwe is not devastated and the people are not destitute”. Although Zimbabwe may look peaceful, it is still a vicious police state, its people ruled by fear. The government is proceeding with its “indigenisation policy” which means the confiscation of half of all the businesses in the country. Although the old, debauched currency has given way to the SA rand and the US dollar, and the shops are full of goods, the people served by Zane (Zimbabwe A National Emergency) right across the community have long since been rendered destitute and cannot afford to buy anything on offer.

Tom Benyon, Director, Zane, Bladon, Oxon

 

The Vigil thought to leave the matter at that. But supporters in Australia pointed out to us an article in the Spectator (http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/all/7764243/the-troubling-truth-about-zimbabwe.thtml – The troubling truth about Zimbabwe, Matthew Parris 7 April 2012). They asked us for our comments. Here they are:

 

The troubling truth about Matthew Parris is not that he is challenging received opinions but that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. The Vigil has no qualms with his historical commonplaces about the Smith regime etc. But he shows only a superficial understanding of what is going on today.  There is no sign that he has read any of the dozens of books published on Zimbabwe in recent years or any of the stories about Zimbabwe easily available on the internet. Has he ever, for instance, looked at the Zimbabwe Situation website, a daily compendium of news about Zimbabwe, often containing as many as 20 or 30 stories? He could usefully have looked at the Sokwanele summary of abuses, which he could have found in Zimbabwe Situation (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/apr6_2012.html#Z16Zimbabwe Inclusive Government Watch – Issue 37).

 

We at the Vigil – 95% black – are in constant contact through our families with what is going on at home. Our relatives there do not share his rosy picture, redolent of patronizing white colonialists: ‘Don’t shout at Mugabe. We can’t expect to understand these charming black people or their culture of killing each other.’

 

Mr Parris may, for all we know, be visiting rural Iran and have a similar piece in the Times this Saturday when we will be protesting as usual outside The Zimbabwe Embassy in London. We will also be demonstrating outside the South African High Commission at their failure to get Mugabe to honour the global political agreement he signed. And we will also be visiting Downing Street to present a petition calling for UN supervision of the coming elections.

 

Sorry for the shouting Mr Parris. But you are paying for your holiday with our blood.

 
Free Zimbabwe Global Protest – Exiled Zimbabweans demand action PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 13:51

Media Notice from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 19th January 2012   

Exiled Zimbabweans in the UK are to protest outside the South African High Commission in London on Saturday 21st January. The protest is aimed at putting pressure on South Africa’s President Zuma to insist that Mugabe honours the power-sharing deal signed three years ago. 

Saturday’s protest is part of global diaspora action promoted by the Movement for Democratic Change. Zimbabweans in the United States, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands are also expected to demonstrate outside the diplomatic missions of South Africa, which is the African Union’s point man on Zimbabwe.  

In London the MDC is joining the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy every Saturday for the past nine years in support of free elections. People will be invited to sign the following petition: ‘Zimbabwe Vigil petition to President Zuma: Exiled Zimbabweans call on President Zuma to put pressure on President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to implement the Global Political Agreement. If they continue to refuse we urge South Africa to take measures against the Mugabe regime.’  There will also be an MDC petition, which gives greater details of the Zimbabwean diaspora demands.  

Timetable
2 pm – meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand
3 pm – move to the South African High Commission
3.30 pm – attempt to present our petitions
4 pm – return to the Zimbabwe Embassy 

The Vigil drummers and singers will be outside South Africa House while a skeleton crew mans the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy until the main group returns at 4 pm.    

Interview opportunities with Zimbabwean activists and refugees.   

Photo opportunities: Dancing, Singing and Drumming. A Vigil demonstrator wearing a Mugabe mask will feature in the protest, carrying a poster ‘Vote MDC and die’. 

Contacts:
For MDC UK:   
Jenatry Muranganwa 07832 743 353
Jeff Sango 07826 787 162
Tonderai Samanyanga 07917 742 022 
For ZimVigil:    
Fungayi Mabhunu 07746 552 597
Rose Benton 07970 996 003

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Zimbabwe We Can 'Meet the People' Campaign PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 13:07

ZIMBABWE WE CAN Press Release – 12th October 2011
If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem! 

Forthcoming Public Meetings – CALLING ON ALL ZIMBABWEANS TO ATTEND:
·         Woking – 29th October 2011 from 11 am to 6 pm. Venue: Owen House, Heathside Crescent, Woking, GU22 7AG
·         Wolverhampton – 5th November 2011 (time and venue to be advised)
·         You can also talk to Zimbabwe We Can officials at the Zimbabwe Vigil which runs from 2 – 6m every Saturday outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand London WC2.  

Here are some facts to think about: 

Zimbabwe today is characterised by hate speech, arbitrary arrests, wanton intimidation, systematic violence, endemic fear and a general lack of freedom and democracy. Zimbabwe is a broken nation – politically, tribally, by location and even the Inclusive Government is broken and malfunctioning. The political environment is polarised and the inclusive government has failed to stop the suffering and to create a favourable environment for a free and fair election. Zanu PF remains firmly in control of all coercive instruments and the affairs of the State. With their unbridled power, they continue to wreak havoc on defenceless citizens and terrorise populations. All the MDC can do is to continue to hope for salvation from SADC and South African President Jacob Zuma. But ZANU PF remains a law unto itself. No wonder the Zimbabwe crisis has continued for more than a decade without any solution in sight. Remember how PF ZAPU was hoodwinked into joining ZANU PF and used and annihilated. ZANU PF leadership only thinks of itself and not the rest of us. This is a dire situation which calls for urgent and drastic measures. We can stop the rot, the nonsense and reclaim our destiny! 

Violence and repression have worked well for these self-imposed leaders in the past 30 years but not anymore. During a tour of Chinhoyi University of Technology’s Hunyani Farm, defence minister Emmerson Munangagwa recently dismissed as wishful thinking any possible revolt against Robert Mugabe and any suggestions that Zimbabweans could stage an uprising similar to those in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. In his remarks he vowed to crush any uprising. Simply put, Zanu PF is not ready to listen to the voice of the Zimbabwe people. Munangagwa’s talk and that of his colleagues is the talk of dictators and can only be accepted by people with a slave mentality. The time for futile grumblings and self-pity is over; it’s time to say we can deliver a free Zimbabwe for all.  

Examples abound of fallen brutal dictatorships around the world. Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Idi Amin of Uganda, P W Botha of South Africa, the ousted General Noriega of Panama, Ian Smith of Rhodesia remind us of yester-year dictatorships. In recent times the Arab spring has delivered even more casualties in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and in Yemen, Syria and other countries, the people’s armour of faith and weapons of hope and passion continue to rage towards more and greater victories. In Smith’s Rhodesia, we remember him remarking about black rule: ‘not in a thousand years’. We salute these great nations for rising up to the challenge and we believe Zimbabweans are equally capable and patriotic about their country. We watch in admiration as the people of Libya finalise the collapsing of the last vestiges of tyranny to claim total and real change. Gaddafi continues to run scared.  

Forget the excuses of cowards – the same is possible with Zimbabwe today. The people of Zimbabwe have spoken again and again, at each and every election since the referendum of 2000. In 2008, Mugabe needed more than a month to fix the presidential result only by imposing his will on the people. He rubbished the people’s verdict on his illegitimate and corrupt rule and the victorious MDC were persuaded to join him. Today, both parties have professed to the malfunctioning of the inclusive government but because of convenience and privilege, they are not willing to let go. Daily, the nation watches the unabated plunder of natural resources and pursuit of suicidal economic policies by their rulers. But how does one explain the levels of poverty, unemployment, poor access to healthcare, the suffering in a land of such plenty. It’s the filthy rich political elite who are prepared to maim and kill to maintain their lavish lifestyles. Failure of leadership means we still find ourselves in the trenches 10 years after the second struggle started. Like PF ZAPU before it, the MDC is now on the gravy train. Zimbabwe risks the scourge of being labelled a failed state if we do not take collective action now.  

It is time that Zimbabweans, at home and abroad, stand shoulder to shoulder and declare that WE CAN set ourselves free. With one purpose and a single voice WE CAN be an unstoppable force. WE CAN tear down the walls of tyranny, corruption and oppression. WE CAN fashion a Zimbabwe that is governed on a path of prosperity and success in a peaceful and democratic way, where civil liberties, self-development and local empowerment, unity in love and respect for our own values are paramount, where the dignity and security of person is at the heart of our democracy and peace. We the People have the power; let’s unleash it to claim our rightful place in the history of our great nation. Democracy is in the hands of the people. Freedom is the hands of the people. The Vision is with the people. The dream lies with the people. Change is with the people. The longer we wait and the longer we conform, the longer we are enslaved.  

We are encouraged by the overwhelming response that the Zimbabwe We Can Movement has been receiving from many Zimbabweans and well-wishers around the globe. One of them is a fifteen year old girl has called from Zimbabwe after reading our press release of 22nd September 2011 voicing her support and wanting to be involved. It was touching indeed!  

Below are a few extracts from the many positive comments received:
·         Viva Zim we can MDC T, ZANU PF has divided us on tribal grounds.
·         Ihameni iyoyo. Amen 2 that.
·         Every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear the love of life and ones' country, Zimbabweans lets stand up and be counted remember we cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.
·         The solution to the country’s problems only needs a positive human participation to save the troubled Zimbabwe. Many are suffering, poor living conditions, and slave wages, unemployment only to name a few. All these can be manageable if we, Zimbabweans we want.
·         A movement that looks beyond race, tribe, gender, disability, wealth. A movement that affirms that Zimbabwe is for every Zimbabwean, with or without war credentials. Let’s all reclaim our country for sons and daughters' future. Yes we can!
·         Treated like little kids or zvimumu. (The regime’s negative and disrespectful attitude towards the people of Zimbabwe).
·         Give the public, what the public wants not what you want! (The regime must desist from being self-serving and put the interest of the people first)
·         Hello. I visited the website. you have a very good idea but that much of the administration is overseas who then is to fuel the information to the need communities and how do you intend it must be done
·         I’m ready for the task.
·         Where are we with democracy? Guys (Encouraging Zimbabwe We Can to continue with the programme and to ensure that there is democracy in Zimbabwe).
·         Zimbabwe we can has given Zimbabweans a platform to talk about issues that are being ignored by our leaders.do not underestimate this initiative you have taken
·         We can
·         Yes" Zimbabwe we can" but where are you? In UK? I don’t think it works when you remote control your ideas why don’t you come to Zim and sell your ideas. Zimbabwe is here in Africa not UK so better you come and launch it here. Good idea! 

ZIMBABWE WE CAN - ILIZWE NGABANTU - NYIKA VANHU
·         Be part of the change that Zimbabwe deserves
·         Be remembered for the good that you did in your life time 

For more details please contact:
·         Isaiah Bizabani: Publicity and Information Secretary (07427496737)
·         Everisto Kamera: Secretary General: (07833338942)
·         Ephraim Tapa: President: (07940793090)
·         Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

You can visit our site for updates or join us on Facebook and Twitter:
·         Site: www.zimbabwewecan.org
·        
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/people/Zimbabwe-We-Can/100002859048835
·        
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ZimbabweWeCan 

Isaiah Bizabani: Publicity and Information Secretary Zimbabwe We Can

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PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ZIMBABWE WE CAN MOVEMENT PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 September 2011 19:54

ZIMBABWE WE CAN MOVEMENT DECLARED OFFICIAL 

Following the historic Huddersfield UK Conference of 27-29 May 2011 at which Zimbabweans from all walks of life met to create a platform that seeks to unite Zimbabweans in their quest for a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe question, the Zimbabwe We Can Movement was born. Since then the interim leadership had been working hard to constitute the Movement. The Wolverhampton meeting of 17th September at which the Movement’s foundation instruments were finalised and adopted marked the beginning of a new chapter in the Zimbabwe struggle for freedom, democracy, justice and peace. Amid a show of great passion, patriotism and determination, the interim leader Mr Ephraim Tapa declared the Zimbabwe We Can Movement arisen.   

The Movement reiterated their view that Zimbabwe was constituted of a broken nation and a dysfunctional governance system, for which no leader or political party was prepared to take responsibility. In unity, the leadership declared their vision to develop a national identity and foster a national perspective towards the Zimbabwe problem definition and its probable solutions. To that end, the Zimbabwe We Can Movement called upon all peace-loving and patriotic Zimbabweans at home or abroad to take responsibility for the Zimbabwe Crisis and rise again in their masses for REAL CHANGE. 

The next few days, weeks and months should see a ground swelling of organisation, of voluntary involvement, of passion outpoured, an uprising aimed at bringing an end to this self-imposed state of paralysis and regression.  We encourage Zimbabweans and friends of Zimbabwe wherever you are, to take charge and get involved in the struggle to bring our beloved nation back from abyss. Our outreach programme, which encourages people (wherever they are and from which ever group or political party) to come together and take responsibility over Zimbabwe, is now underway. We urge all not to wait, but to just do it for the love of our motherland!  

Zimbabwe We Can is a people driven movement which believes that:
·         The solution to Zimbabwe’s problems lies with the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is where it is today because we allowed it and hence we should all bear responsibility in fixing whatever is wrong with our Nation.
·         Much as they may try, the three so-called principles are only fallible humans who are often tempted to pursue individual, party line or other agendas at the expense of Zimbabwe, hence the need for the PEOPLE’s involvement. 
·         Together, we CAN say NO to continued abuse, divisions, corruption, plunder of our national heritage and the selected application of law which continues under the watch of the Inclusive Government.
·         It is the people of Zimbabwe who CAN end this suffering.
·         It is the people of Zimbabwe who CAN end the lack of sincerity on the part of the Inclusive Government in bringing about a genuinely people-driven constitution.
·         It is the people of Zimbabwe who CAN end the continued plundering of resources and corporate terrorism with the acquiescence of all in the Inclusive Government.
·         It is the people of Zimbabwe who CAN bring about REAL and SUSTAINABLE CHANGE which has so far eluded the 3-year rule of the Inclusive Government. 

Zimbabwe We Can, Ilizwe Ngabantu, Nyika Vanhu. 

For more information, contact: 

Ephraim Tapa, President – 07940 793 090
Everisto Kamera, General Secretary – 07833 338 942
Isaiah Bizabani, Information and Publicity Secretary – 07427 496 737 

Also keep an eye on: http://www.zimbabwewecan.org. This website is in the process of being developed. 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Statement on ROHR PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 21:31

An attempt is being made to hi-jack the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). This organisation was set up by Zimbabwe Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa in 2007 on behalf of the Vigil as its organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe to reflect the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way.  

The profile of ROHR has grown such that it is now attracting the interest of donors and this seems to have prompted a small group of people to try to take over the organisation.  ROHR has consequently expelled Stendrick Zvorwadza, Grace Mupfurutsa, Ronald Mureverwi and Edgar Chikuvire. The Zimbabwe Vigil does not recognise these four individuals as representing our sister organisation ROHR.  

The Vigil continues to recognise Ephraim Tapa as the President of ROHR. He says press releases and emails from the group of four should be disregarded. Mr Zvorwadza is not the spokesperson for ROHR. 

Officers of ROHR in Zimbabwe are the National Chairperson Ray Muzenda (+263762272485) and the Secretary-General Tichanzii Gandanga (+263774444134), a man widely respected for his personal sacrifices for the liberation struggle. (He was abducted on 22nd April 2008 and forced to lie down on the road and then his abductors drove over his legs four times.) 

For more information, check the ROHR Press Statement: http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/Press-Releases/rohr-zimbabwe-press-release-10th-july-2011.html# or contact Ephraim Tapa 07940 793 090.

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