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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 28th March 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 29 March 2009 15:55

 The Vigil met as dark clouds swept past, spitting rain. When the skies brightened we took down our tarpaulin but within two minutes we were pelted by hail stones.  The weather failed to deter demonstrators who took to the streets of London in a protest ahead of the G20 summit meeting. There is a lot of anger at the greed of bankers and the negligence of the financial authorities which have precipitated the global economic recession.   

The Vigil engages every week with people passing by the Embassy, strategically situated near Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square.  By and large they are very supportive but we get the impression, certainly in the current economic climate, that it is unrealistic to expect tax payers here to bail out Zimbabwe when, instead of law and order, all they get from Harare is the threadbare rhetoric of entitlement from people who have made the country the poorest in the world (according to Forbes / Transparency International). Certainly, no one at the Vigil is making plans to return home and the word is that there has been a marked increase by Zimbabweans here applying for political asylum. 

People at the Vigil happily sponsored a London teacher, Steve Garvey, who is running in the London Marathon next month to raise money for the Vigil. 

Our sympathies to Luka Phiri of the Vigil management team.  It’s not Luka’s year. After being nearly deported to Malawi he has now caught chickenpox! Luka asked us to pass on his condolences to one of the Deputy Prime Ministers, Thokozani Khupe, whose mother died recently. ‘I knew her mum and her loss is my loss too’ he says.  

For latest Vigil pictures checkour pictures page. 

FOR THE RECORD: 285 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·       Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 30th March at 7.30 pm. Tor Hugne Olsen of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO speaks about the current state of human rights in Zimbabwe. 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.
·        ROHR Bedford launch meeting. Saturday, 4th April from1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 145-151 Midland Road, Bedford, MK40 1DW . Contact: Daniel Manyanga 07944176335 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/ 07932216070
·        ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday, 4th April from1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 1 Elmdene Court, Constitution Hill, Woking, GU22 7SA. Contact: Thandi Mabodoko on 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353 or I Mudzamiri 07774044873
·        ROHR Manchester general meeting. Saturday, 4th April from1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Secretary on 07905371005 or Chair 07778547971 
·        ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday, 11th April. Time and venue to be advised.  Contact: I Ndoro on 07872008846, D Chimuka on 07917733711 or P Mapfumo on 07915926323/07932216070
·        ROHR Coventry fundraising event. Saturday 18th April. Time and venue to be advised.  Contact: E Nyakudya on 07876796129, M Sibanda 07788560068, P Makuwere 07533332306 or M Vijay on 07957907616  
·        ROHR Leeds General meeting. Saturday, 25th April from 1.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni 07533259373 or B Sikosana 07940181761
·        Fundraising for the Vigil at the London Marathon. Sunday, 26th April.  Steve Garvey, teacher at the Dolphin School, Battersea, is running in the London Marathon to raise money on behalf of the Vigil.
·        Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays). 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 21st March 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 March 2009 15:27

The Vigil was not surprised that Mugabe’s appeal for a little help from his ‘friends’ has fallen on deaf ears. China, North Korea, Iran etc have, in effect, joined the AU and SADC in imposing ‘illegal sanctions’ (illegal sanctions being defined by Mugabe as not giving him what he demands).  

Vigil supporters turned out in great numbers in the spring sunshine. They expressed resignation at the hypocrisy of ‘Crisis, what crisis?’ South Africa. Suddenly Finance Minister Manuel is pleading poverty when the dysfunctional coalition government imposed by South Africa begs for start-up help. ‘Ask the donors’ he says, after having always insisted that these countries must keep their noses out of Africa.   

The Vigil noted that Manuel went on to bleat ‘We need to get farmers to produce . . .’  Well the Vigil wishes to remind him that SADC has an obligation to ensure the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Isn’t this what they guaranteed? Only then can there be a future for the coalition government it has promoted.   

Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu spoke about conditions in Zimbabwe during a visit to the Dolphin School in Battersea, south London, on Friday at the invitation of teacher Steve Garvey.  We are being sent pictures later in the week which will be posted on our Flickr web page.  Steve Garvey reports as follows: 

"33 children from Year 3 and 4 at Dolphin School in Battersea had the privilege of learning more about the plight of our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe last Friday. They were able to ask questions and find out for themselves at first hand the suffering millions of people have to go through on a daily basis. This was due to a personal visit to the school by Fungayi from the Zimbabwe Vigil.  

The children had researched the country for the last few months and were up to date with events, but were not expecting to hear such harrowing stories. They were told how in one school twenty children had to share just two pens. They were amazed to hear that some children only got to school for eighteen days last year. Many were dismayed to hear that exam papers from two years ago had still to be marked. Fungayi shared his own personal story with them and ensured an accurate picture was established. What amazed them most of all was the fact that one pound could help feed one family for up to thirty days. One boy offered the small amount of money he had in his pocket to his class teacher there and then. 

The Year 4s have decided to take part in a sponsored event next month with all the proceeds going directly to one or two schools in Zimbabwe who desperately need it. This would allow them to buy pens and books, resources which British children take for granted. The Year 4 teacher Mr Garvey has also decided to raise money by running the London Marathon next month on behalf of the Zimbabwe Vigil (more details later). The event takes place on Sunday 26 April, so if you would like to sponsor him, please contact us. 

Fungayi was a great communicator and extremely informed. The children went away clearly moved by what they had heard and ready to do their part to help ease the suffering of the millions of Zimbabweans facing an uncertain future.” 

An indication of the scale of the Zimbabwean diaspora came at a reunion lunch in London today of Chisipite old girls born in the 1940s, attended by Vigil Co-ordinator, Rose Benton. About 30 people gathered from around the UK and one from the south of France. Several joined us at the Vigil afterwards. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/ 

FOR THE RECORD: 337 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 23rd March at 7.30 pm. 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.
·         Gravesend ROHR launch meeting. Saturday 28th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Gravesend Veterans Club, 19 Clarence Place, Gravesend DA12 1LB. Contact: Robson Makotsa 07927 900 558, David Masvodza 07765 645 418, Paul Makuchete 07967 837 862 or P Mapfumo 07915 962 323 / 07932 216 070.
·         ROHR Wolverhamton general meeting. Saturday 28th March from 1 – 4 pm. Venue 186 Chervil Rise, Heath Town, Wolverhampton WV10 0HZ. Contact: Colleen Maredza 07733 394 648 Veronica Chakeredza 07853 752 085 and Ivy Takawira 07796 234 060.  
·         Fundraising for the Vigil at the London Marathon. Sunday, 26th April.  Steve Garvey, teacher at the Dolphin School, Battersea, is running in the London Marathon to raise money on behalf of Zimbabwe Vigil.
·         Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays). 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 7th March 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 March 2009 18:25

 

Some wearing black bandanas or armbands, Vigil supporters mourned the death of Susan Tsvangirai in Friday’s road crash. Carrying placards saying “The Vigil mourns with Tsvangirai” and “More death in Zimbabwe”, we expressed our shock at the death of a much admired lady.   

We were at a loss to understand how this could be an accident. There was an electric feeling of outrage, suspicion and anger.  We pray that it was not another assassination attempt on the MDC leader. 

The feelings were summed up by two big banners brought to the Vigil: “Sleeping with the enemy one was bound to be bludgeoned to death in one’s sleep. Mugabe is a murderer” and “The plot thickens in Zimbabwe. An attempt on Tsvangirai’s life and he loses his wife in a highly suspicious road accident”. 

An extra big crowd attended the Vigil.  People spoke of their need to be with other Zimbabweans at this time to share their grief and try to understand what is happening at home.  What is sure is that few people have any confidence in Mugabe’s willingness or ability to make power-sharing work.   

While the Vigil calls for increased humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe, we insist that there must be evidence of real commitment to the rule of law from Zanu-PF before development aid is handed over. 

Some points:
·        Thanks to Sister Beverly Mutandiro for leading the prayers for the Tsvangirais.
·        Vigil management team member Luka Phiri, who recently faced the prospect of deportation, was invited to address a one-day conference in London organised by the National Union of Journalists and spoke about the problems of asylum seekers.
·        Welcome to two new Vigil babies: Paradzai Mapfumo’s son, Leon Michael, who was born in the early hours of Saturday morning, and Enock Dzonga’s daughter.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/ 

FOR THE RECORD: 368 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 9th March at 7.30 pm. 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.
·        ZIMBABWE: WILL UNITY PREVAIL? with Lucia Matibenga MP. Chaired by Kate Hoey MP. Wednesday 11th March from 6.45 – 8 pm.  UNFORTUNATELY THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
·        ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 14th March, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.
·        Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays). 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 28th February 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 March 2009 15:50

People at the Vigil felt betrayed by the hypocrisy of SADC and the African Union. Under pressure from them, the MDC agreed to give the unity government a chance. But the two useless organizations have failed to make Mugabe keep his promises and, when Tsvangirai and Biti asked for financial help at the SADC meeting in Cape Town, suddenly all you could see were ostriches: heads in the dirt and bums in your face.  

We were outraged that the African Development Bank had the nerve to demand the repayment of half a billion US dollars in Mugabe debts before further help would be considered. The IMF has always been accused of imposing ‘illegal sanctions’ for the same thing.   

So now we know where we are. The AU and SADC are imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. But they have generously agreed to ask the European Union and the United States to give more money to Zimbabwe – although these donors are already providing most of the humanitarian aid.   

The Vigil believes there is a solution – along the lines of one of our petitions: money for Zimbabwe should be taken out of international monetary support for the SADC countries.  

It was another large Vigil and many people stopped to sign our petitions and look at the poster demanding the release of political prisoners.   

Some points:
·        It was good to meet Steve Garvey, a teacher at the Dolphin School in Battersea.  His class of 8/9 year-olds has become very interested in Zimbabwe and is planning a project and fundraiser. Steve was keen to have a Zimbabwean speak to his class. Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu has agreed to go. 
·        The Vigil was pleased to have Sister Beverly Mutandiro leading prayers again – apologies for getting her name wrong last week.
·        First-timer at last week’s mock birthday party for Mugabe at the Vigil was Mzamo Ngwenya. She sent us the following email “I was one of your new faces last week. It was so amazing. For the first time in six years I felt very happy and proud to be a Zimbabwean. The welcome was so warm and to meet people with the same passion as me was just an amazing experience. Thank you so much. Keep it up. God bless.”
·        Also at the birthday bash was freelance journalist Sheena Rossiter with a camera team.  They made a video of the event. Check: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8i4p0_fake-mugabes-85th-birthday_news.
·        We have been asked by Guardian Films (part the Guardian newspaper group) to publicise their film exposing the horrors of the cholera epidemic claiming thousands of livesMugabe splashes out on birthday bash as cholera spirals out of control”. Check: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/26/zimbabwe-cholera-mugabe.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/ 

FOR THE RECORD: 278 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 3rd March at 7.30 pm. 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.
·        ROHR Woking launch meeting. Saturday 7th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm Venue: Station Pub, 12 Chertsey Road, Woking GU21 5AB. Contact Thandi Mabodoko 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353.07588745353.
·         ZIMBABWE: WILL UNITY PREVAIL? with Lucia Matibenga MP. Chaired by Kate Hoey MP. Wednesday 11th March from 6.45 – 8 pm. Venue: Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, London, SW1A 2LW. For map, check: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/faxmap.pdf 
·        ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 14th March, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.
·        Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary 21/02/2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 February 2009 18:11

Well we had a brilliant party even if Mugabe didn’t.  A big crowd turned out for our mock 85th birthday celebrations for Mugabe – though his main bash has been delayed until 28th February. The word is that his goons have had difficulty extorting the money required.   

The Vigil worked on the basis of a report in the London Times saying that Mugabe’s party organisers had ordered 8,000 lobsters and 4,000 portions of caviar to be washed down by 2,000 bottles of champagne and 500 bottles of whisky. We had Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Mugabe mask and waving a Methuselah of champagne (6 litres for the information of those who don’t move in lavish Zanu-PF circles). He stood in the doorway of the Embassy with his consort Grumpy Grace (brilliantly played by Emily Gurupira), dripping with diamonds and perched on designer shoes as she scowled at the TV cameramen covering the Vigil. Afterwards she headed off to Harrods to do some shopping armed with a fat cheque from the UN.  Supporters held up posters saying ‘Mugabe spends US$200,000 dollars while his people starve’ and ‘Zimbabwean life expectancy: men 37, women 34, Mugabe 85+’.   

Thanks to Mai Mutandira who led prayers and to the usual stalwarts: Arnold Kuwewa, Chipo Chaya, Sue and Francesca Toft for their efficient management of the Vigil.  Thanks also to those who led the music: Moses Kandiwayo and Jerry Mtotela (drums) and Patson Muzuwa, Jenatry Muranganwa and Dumi Tutani (singing and dancing).  Others who helped with the media event were Agnes Zengeya, Lovemore Mukyani, Batson Chapata, Kimpton Samkange, Reginald Gwasira, Eunita Masolo, Yvonne Masendu, Esther Magenya, Pattie Williams (for the Mugabe presents of cholera, starvation and corruption) and Dennes Sibanda (security).  Apologies if we have left people out but we are grateful for everyone’s help at a demonstration which drew lots of attention. 

Today saw the launch of another Zimbabwe Vigil in the UK – this time in Newcastle.  We wish them success and will give every support. 

The Vigil welcomed news that the UK government has offered a lifeline to elderly British nationals in Zimbabwe.  Many of these people have seen their Zimbabwean pensions disappear through inflation. One thing we can reassure them about is that they will be in good hands as many carers employed to look after elderly people in the UK are Zimbabweans also driven out of their country by Mugabe.  

A couple more points:
·        A vigil management member was asked about the way forward for Zimbabwe and suggested support for ROHR.  The dumbfounded person had difficulty hearing in the midst of the exuberant gathering and said ‘War? – not war!’
·        Everyone who signed the register were angry that they have not been included in the bloated new government. ‘This is discrimination. If they don’t give us cars and allowances we will stop coming to the Vigil. Then where would they be?’   

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/ 

FOR THE RECORD: around 360 signed the register but many more attended and even though we kept two registers going not everyone was able to sign. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 23rd February at 7.30 pm. Abel Chikomo, Director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, fesh from Zimbabwe will report on recent developments including the continued abuse of detainees' human rights. NB different venue: Development House, 56-64 Leonard St, London EC2A 4LP. Nearest tube station Old Street. From Exit 4 head down City Road and take the first left into Leonard Street. ·       
Worldwide Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe. Ash Wednesday (25th February) at Southwark Cathedral, SE1 9DA. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have designated Ash Wednesday as a Worldwide Day of Prayer for the people of Zimbabwe. At the services during the day special prayers will be offered each hour on the half hour. The Bishop of Southwark will preside and preach at the 5.30pm Choral Eucharist in special recognition of the links between the Diocese of Southwark and four of the dioceses in Zimbabwe. For more information check: http://www.southwark.anglican.org/cathedral/lent/shrove.htm#prayerday. Contact: Steve Harris, Diocesan Communications Officer, Tel: 020 7939 9437, 07949 679401. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 28th February, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.
·        ROHR Birmingham Chapter general meeting. Saturday 28th February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: 28 Handsworth New Road B18 4PT. The meeting will be attended by  a well known lawyer.Contact: Emnah Zibgowa 07846005120, Des Parayiwa 07815565335, Rebecca Mlambo 07817585742 or Tsitsi Mavhura 07932477842
*     
ROHR Chelmsford launch meeting.  Saturday 28th February from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Springfield Parish Centre, St Augustine’s Way, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM1. Contact: Billy R Machekano 07908332724/07765459538, Robert Mafigo 07944815190, Tendai Gwanzura 07961702832 or Faith Benesi 07958650670.
*      ROHR
Woking launch meeting. Saturday 7th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm Venue: Station Pub, 12 Chertsey Road, Woking GU21 5AB. Contact Thandi Mabodoko 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353.
·        ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
·        Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays). 

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