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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 31st October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 November 2009 16:59

 Vigil supporters were shocked at the news that the British government has apparently changed its policy on Zimbabwean asylum seekers. It now appears that the UK hopes to send home failed asylum seekers on the grounds that conditions in Zimbabwe have improved.   

We know that this is the message that Morgan Tsvangirai has been giving until recently. But the Home Office seems not to have taken into account the MDC’s recent recantation of this and the widely reported accounts of stepped-up human rights abuses – or, for that matter, the humiliating expulsion of the UN representative.   

Supporters wanted to know what the Vigil can do and the management team assured them that the Vigil would, as always, do everything it can to prevent supporters being sent home as they would be in danger because of their open opposition to the Mugabe regime.  As we point out in our letters supporting Vigil asylum seekers: 

“Our supporters are easy to identify because we are an on-the-street protest constantly photographed by the passing public including unidentified people who do not join the protest and who our supporters confirm as Zimbabwean. These photos appear on many photo and video websites which can be accessed by the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation.  This was recently demonstrated when one of our reports accompanied by a photo of one of our supporters appeared in a newspaper that is circulated in Zimbabwe. Within days his family home in Zimbabwe was raided by the police who spoke angrily about Zimbabweans in the UK – check http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/ZimVigil-Diary-Entries/zimbabwe-vigil-diary-22nd-august-2009.html for more information. The Vigil website also keeps a photo archive of our protest as part of our campaign against the injustices in Zimbabwe.” 

The Vigil believes that the Home Office’s attitude is untenable, especially as there is no evidence that SADC or the AU have the appetite to deal with Mugabe. They both say Zimbabweans must resolve the situation between themselves – in other words leave Mugabe to do what he wants. (See AU Chairperson Dr Jean Ping’s comments on http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/oct29_2009.html#Z15 

The situation is bound to deteriorate until South Africa is forced into action.  What the Vigil wants from South Africa is simple: follow Botswana’s example and announce that South Africa will refuse to recognise Mugabe as the legitimate President if the coalition government breaks up and, in this event, demand immediate free and fair elections. 

We were joined at the Vigil by Patson Muzuwa of our partner organisation the Zimbabwe Association, which deals with asylum issues. He said people worried by the Home Office announcement should contact the Zimbabwe Association  

As usual we had a very lively Vigil, with the added challenge of coping with incursions by the Water Board. As one supporter said, we ended up looking like Santa Claus’s Grotto: because of various barriers protecting the water works supporters had to fit into a small corner and passers-by had to squeeze past us in the narrow passage that was left.  

We were also joined by the UK Organising Secretary of our partners Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), Paradzai Mapfumo. He was critical of the BBC coverage of the situation in Zimbabwe. Paradzai said he was puzzled by the positive spin given by the BBC and said they didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on in the rural areas.  But the BBC has shown a video of a demonstration by ROHR in Harare this week demanding action by SADC against Mugabe. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8334881.stm. A report on the demonstration also appears in the Zimbabwean: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/2009103026135/human-rights/rohr-zimbabwe-pressures-the-troika-to-take-a-tough-stance-in-pictures.html. 

Still on ROHR, the organisation last week staged the first of its Vigils in Liverpool. The ROHR Liverpool Branch reports that passers-by showed great interest. 44 people signed their register.  The next demonstration is to be on Saturday, 14th November. 

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

FOR THE RECORD: 150 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·       ROHR North London launch meeting. Saturday 7th November from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN, Nearest Tube Station: Seven Sisters, then buses towards Tottenham, 3rd bus stop from 7 Sisters Station. Routes: 123, 149, 259,279, 349, 476, 341 243. Contact: Gladys Mapanda 07877670522, Collin Chitekwe  07957712691, Valerie Chengaose 07956586377, Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, P Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069
·       ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 7th November from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Fairfield Police Club, Prescot Road, Fairfield, LiverpoolL7 0JD. T-shirts available for £10.00. NEW MEMBERS ARE VERY WELCOME. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.·       ROHR Liverpool Branch Vigil. Saturday 14th November from 2 – 4 pm.  Venue: Liverpool City Centre outside Primark. 
·       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).
·       From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000. http://www.newafricabooks.co.za/books_detail.asp?ID=499. 
·       Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
·       Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/.   

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 24th October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 October 2009 16:17

We gathered as news broke of a police raid on an MDC house in Harare – ‘looking for weapons’. We have been there before. Zanu PF was predictably trying to produce a red herring before the SADC Troika meeting in Harare on Thursday. It knows any pretext will work with SADC.
The Vigil remains convinced there will be no solution in Zimbabwe until South Africa acts. There is little evidence that this is on the cards at present.  But as the situation worsens and the World Cup approaches perhaps this will change.
A telling confession of deception came from the MDC itself at a news conference addressed by Tendai Biti on Thursday. He admitted that the party had been telling lies about so-called progress made by the coalition government. Read the MDC media release (http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/oct24_2009.html#Z3). One of the most alarming comments in this statement is that ‘there is a resurgence of violence in most areas across the country’
Vigil stalwart, Josephine Zhuga, shared with us this email message she has just received:
‘I am quite sure that news has reached you that the coalition government is about to collapse and that an orgy of violence might befall us once again. I have had the opportunity to interact with some people within SADC and it seems nothing is going to happen when the Troika on security, politics and defence meets. I understand Morgan was told by President Zuma to go back and work with Zanu PF while SADC deal with the issues. As for us human rights defenders we have been receiving warnings that we need to be cautious with our movements when in Zimbabwe since Zanu PF has begun an active process of re-oiling its violence machinery. 
‘I am also worried that if you have any plans in the near future to come back home you might not be met with the historic smiles we used to experience at the airport or in Glen Norah since you might be a target as a result of your active involvement with the Zimvigil and other human rights organisations. I did see your photos. They were amazing but a recipe for disaster if you decide to visit or return home permanently.
‘Last week an MDC supporter was beaten to death and the WOZA women and other progressive organisations continue to receive the lash from state agents and the case of Roy Bennett is a point in issue since it whittles down any hope that we were beginning to build around the all inclusive government.
‘I am told that Zanu PF and its coterie of thugs is beginning to target human rights activists so as to silence any dissenting voices so that any violations undertaken would be swept under the carpet.
‘I am not trying to frighten you since you are fighting for your country from a different battle front but the truth must be told that things are beginning to lose track and we might find ourselves in another cycle of violence.
Well, we in the UK have rather more mundane problems to deal with. The Vigil was interested to see that a Zimbabwean asylum seeker has been jailed for 3 years by Leeds Crown Court for his part in a fraud which cost banks about £1 million  Click here for more. We recognised his name – Sonny Chibuwe – because he wrote an article attacking the Vigil and Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) which was published on the Zimeye  website on 21st June (http://www.zimeye.org/?p=6098). On the basis of no evidence whatsoever he blamed us for the booing of Morgan Tsvangirai at Southwark Cathedral when the Prime Minister called on the diaspora to return home because all was now well. The Vigil and ROHR did not orchestrate anything; our presence there was to draw attention to human rights failings in Zimbabwe. In a piece titled ‘The day I was embarrassed to be a Zimbabwean’, Mr Chibuwe said ‘There are some bad elements within our Zimbabwean community’. Quite! (Now expect more poisonous articles attacking the Vigil and ROHR on these trashy websites written by Chibuwe’s pals such as Brilliant Stinko and his like.) The judge in the Chibuwe case said the sentence meant Chibuwe was now liable for deportation. We know recommendations like this sometimes fall by the wayside so we are sending a copy of this piece to the UK Border Agency to book his ticket.  After all, in his article, Chibuwe supported enthusiastically the Prime Minister’s call for people to return home to start rebuilding Zimbabwe. He can start with the banks.
All in all we at the Vigil had both good and bad developments. First the bad: the Water Board has taken over most of our space to repair their sewers so Zimbabwe House doesn’t get cholera. Now the good news: despite all threats the rain held off. We were very vulnerable because we couldn’t have put up our tarpaulin.  Another good thing was a new placard brought by Francesca Toft quoting the Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga’s comment: ‘In Zimbabwe Mr Mugabe is not part of the solution to the political problem; he himself is the problem’. Francesca’s parents, Sue and Alfred, organised a service for Zimbabwe at St Mary’s, Speldhurst, Kent, borrowing one of the Vigil drums.  Sue led the prayers – including one that Mugabe should see the error of his ways.
Thanks to Dumi Tutani, Moses Kandiyawo and Kelvin Kamipura who represented the Vigil at an event celebrating Black History Month at City and Islington College.  Their dancing and drumming is always a highlight.  Pictures of the event are on the Vigil Flickr website. Thanks also to Jonathan Kariwoh and Tendai Gakanje who stepped in to look after the Vigil back table to replace Vigil management team members who were absent through sickness and other commitments.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/


FOR THE RECORD: 159 signed the register.


EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Southern Africa: Democracy and Development. Saturday 31st October at 2 pm.  Venue: Unite, 128 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8TN. Will Zimbabwe's unity government collapse? When will the world wake up to the situation in Swaziland?  ACTSA's Annual Conference will feature leading southern African trade unionists who will discuss key issues from the region, especially on democracy and development in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Confirmed speakers include: Vimbai Mushongera, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and Vincent Dlamini, Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions. A British Government minister has also been invited.  For more information please visit: http://www.actsa.org/page-1421-Annual_General_Meeting.html
  • ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peter’s Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
  • ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Ashley Road, Leeds LS9 7AB.  A well known human rights lawyer will be present. Contact Leeds interim Chairperson Prosper Mudamvanji 07897594874, David Munemo 07963708923, Benard Ndlovu 0795076774, Donna Mugoni, Wakefield & Northern Region Chairperson also UK National interim Vice Chair on 07533259373 or P Mapfumo UK National Co-ordinator 07915926323 / 07932216070.
  • ROHR Swansea general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: 9 Pleasant Street, SA6 6HJ, Swansea SA6 6HJ. There is a lot to discuss please come early. Contact Kudzai Ruzwidzo 07908029638 / 07824967317, Phillip Mpukutsa 07999615868 or Phyllis Chibanguza UK Co-ordinator 07908406069.
  • ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 7th November from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: 80 Aspen Grove, Toxteth, Liverpool, L7 0ST. T-shirts available. NEW MEMBERS ARE VERY WELCOME. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.
  • ROHR North London launch meeting. Saturday 7th November from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN, Nearest Tube Station: Seven Sisters, then buses towards Tottenham, 3rd Bus Stop from 7 Sisters Station. Routes: 123, 149, 259,279, 349, 476, 341 243. Contact: Gladys Mapanda 07877670522, Collin Chitekwe  07957712691, Valerie Chengaose 07956586377, Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, P Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069
  • 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).
  • Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/
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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 17th October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 18 October 2009 16:45

Prompted by the vindictive persecution of Roy Bennett – who was one of the people who first suggested the Vigil – we have launched a new petition calling for a more robust approach to Mugabe. It reads: “Petition to the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. We urge you to refuse to co-operate with President Mugabe until he respects the rule of law and complies fully with the agreement under which the Zimbabwean coalition government was formed in February.”

We know Tsvangirai has already adopted this attitude but unfortunately he has a record of flip-flopping and we have worded the petition this way in case he changes his mind next week.
But we were pleased that he has at last taken the gloves off. People who discussed the matter at the Vigil thought that Tsvangirai has nothing to lose. Donor countries have clearly not bought his previous line that things were going well with the inclusive government and he was rapidly losing credibility. So we were relieved when Morgan stood his ground and challenged Mugabe over the jailing of Bennett. Mugabe blinked first and Bennett was released. The Vigil believes that Mugabe must be confronted on every front with the prospect of the interim government collapsing if he does not meet the MDC’s legitimate expectations. 

Vigil supporters were encouraged by Botswana President Ian Khama’s comment that he would not recognise Mugabe as President if Zanu-PF was left to rule alone. He said Mugabe was not elected President. We believe that if the interim government collapses it would present SADC and the AU with a problem they could no longer duck.  

It was another boisterous Vigil as we embarked on our 8th year. An Australian came by and signed our petitions and said he was an adviser to the Australian Prime Minister and would tell him about our demands. 

Last week’s Mugabe shopping expedition at Harrods was widely followed on the internet. There were three times the normal amount of hits on our photo website – which means people all over the world found the shopping expedition entertaining. Or it might just be the CIO . . . .

Going through the register we see that lots of people came down from Liverpool last week. We are pleased to announce that RORH Liverpool are to have regular fortnightly demonstrations there. The first one is next Saturday, 24th October.  Please check ‘Events and Notices’ for time and venue.

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

FOR THE RECORD:  188 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Liverpool Branch First Demonstration. Saturday 24th October from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: Liverpool City Centre outside Primark.  Demonstrations will be held fortnightly. ROHR Leicester relaunch meeting. Saturday 24th October. Venue: Bishop Street Methodist Church,10 Bishop Street, Leicester, LE 1 6AF. NB. No parking at the venue; please use NCP / Dover / Haymarket / City Council parking spaces. ROHR President and UK Executive present. Speakers to include: Rev Jill Marsh (Methodist Church), Celia Fisher (Leicester Aids Support Services). Contact: Dennis Sibanda 07901742649, Dr N Masamvi 07825525834, L Maposa 07837788807, F Mzemba 07932449899, G Mutimukulu 07508029001, N Maziso 07732545514, A Mutambira 07768610423 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
  • Southern Africa: Democracy and Development. Saturday 31st October at 2 pm.Venue: Unite, 128 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8TN. Will Zimbabwe's unity government collapse? When will the world wake up to the situation in Swaziland?  ACTSA's Annual Conference will feature leading southern African trade unionists who will discuss key issues from the region, especially on democracy and development in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Confirmed speakers include: Vimbai Mushongera, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and Vincent Dlamini, Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions. A British Government minister has also been invited.  For more information please visit: http://www.actsa.org/page-1421-Annual_General_Meeting.html
  • ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
  • ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 7th November from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: 80 Aspen Grove, Toxteth, Liverpool, L7 0ST. T-shirts available for only £10.00. NEW MEMBERS ARE VERY WELCOME. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.
  • ROHR North London launch meeting. Saturday 7th November from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN, Nearest Tube Station: Seven Sisters, then buses towards Tottenham, 3rd Bus Stop from 7 Sisters Station. Routes: 123, 149, 259,279, 349, 476, 341 243. Contact: Gladys Mapanda 07877670522, Collin Chitekwe  07957712691,  Valerie Chengaose 07956586377, Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, P Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069
  • 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).
  • Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/
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Feedback on our Anniversary – 12th October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 12 October 2009 21:56

There has been some good coverage of the day.  SW Radio Africa (http://www.swradioafrica.com) have a picture of Mugabe and Shopwell outside Harrods at the top of their website and have put a link to the Vigil photos taken on the day.  The Vigil anniversary will be featured on SW Radio’s ‘Callback’ programme tomorrow (Tuesday, 13th October).

 

Our friends ZBN News have done an excellent video of the day, check http://www.zbnnews.com/ and we are featured on www.zimbabwesituation.com.

 

There are some great photos of Mugabe outside Harrods on http://www.sky.com/hot-topics/Zimbabwe with the following commentary. ‘A protestor wearing a mask which resembles the face of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe stands outside Harrods retail store in London on October 10, 2009. The protestor was part of the human rights organisation Zimbabwe Vigil. The group was calling for the British government and European Union to suspend government to government aid to all 14 South African Development community (SADC) countries until Zimbabwe's human rights record is improved.’ 

 

Our good friend, Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network has sent us the following message: ‘Congratulations for a job well done. You named and shamed them. The article is a moving testimony.’ 

 

Finally Geoffrey Van Orden has sent out his own press release. 

Released by: Geoffrey Van Orden MEP


Mass protest outside Zimbabwe Embassy on 7th Anniversary of London Vigil for Freedom

Hundreds of Zimbabweans gathered outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London on Saturday (10 October) to protest at the continued denial of basic freedoms by the Mugabe regime. Previously, there had been a ‘shopping expedition’ to Harrods by protestors masquerading as Robert and Grace Mugabe.

On the occasion of the 7th Anniversary of this
London vigil, the protestors presented a petition (Saturday 10 October) with thousands of signatures to Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, who spearheads the fight against the Mugabe regime in the European Parliament. The petition demands action from Zimbabwe’s neighbours.

In his address to the protestors, Mr Van Orden undertook to present the petition to the President of the European Parliament and commented:

“Mugabe’s regime is entirely to blame for the tragedy which has afflicted
Zimbabwe for the past decade and more. We want to see a normalisation of relations with Zimbabwe but this cannot happen until freedom is restored, the rule of law prevails and there is an end to political oppression – that means Mugabe must step down.

“Last September's power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA) has not been respected. The EU’s travel restrictions and bank freeze on Mugabe’s cronies must remain in place until there is real change.

“The key to change rests with
Zimbabwe’s neighbours, South Africa in particular. It is shameful that most of them have conspired to keep Mugabe in power, thereby prolonging the misery of the people of Zimbabwe and the economic problems of the southern African region.”
ENDS

Note to editors:
Geoffrey Van Orden, Conservative MEP for the East of England, has been a campaigner for a free and democratic Zimbabwe since first being elected in 1999. He has initiated 17 Urgency Resolutions on the topic in the European Parliament.  He has been personally banned by Mugabe from travelling to Zimbabwe - a ban which he regards as a badge of honour.

The petition states: “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 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 starving in Zimbabwe”.

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Zimbabwe Vigil’s 7th Anniversary – 10th October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 October 2009 20:03

President Mugabe and first lady ‘Shopwell’ Grace were not at all happy with their Harrods experience. Two members of the Vigil impersonating the presidential couple went to this puffed-up shop to illustrate what will happen if the targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies are lifted as demanded by Zimbabwe’s neighbours.  

After learning about our proposed shopping spree, a pompous Harrods PR flunky phoned us and threatened to put Attorney-General Tomana on our case. ‘You can’t come in’, she said. ‘Can we take pictures outside?’ we asked. ‘No it’s out of the question’ Harrods replied, sensitive as always to the susceptibilities of their kleptocratic clients.  Well, despite Harrods’ hoity-toity response, Mugabe and Shopwell marched boldly into the bazaar.  Among the media to capture the moment was an AFP photographer rewarded by us with a Zim$100 trillion note.  

Nevertheless President Mugabe (Fungayi Mabhunu) and his consort (Gugu Tutani) have decided in future to take their custom next door to Harvey Nichols. 

Another of Zimbabwe’s celebrated 15-digit notes was given to Geoffrey Van Orden, Member of the European Parliament for Eastern England, who came to the Vigil to support us on our 7th anniversary together with his wife Fanny and daughters Rose and Selina.   They appeared to have a great time. 

Mr Van Orden accepted our petition to hand over to the European Union calling for punitive action against SADC because of its failure to honour its commitment to ensure that the global political agreement is implemented. The petition was handed to him by President Mugabe who arrived with Shopwell by rickshaw after their Harrods expedition. Mr Van Orden called on President Mugabe to stand aside and allow peace and prosperity in Zimbabwe through free and fair internationally-monitored elections.

To mark the Vigil’s 7th anniversary we all gathered afterwards at a local pub to watch a rough cut of a film about Zimbabwe being made by David Adelstein, which features the Vigil.  Thanks to Josephine Zhuga who brought a beautiful cake for the Vigil’s anniversary which was much enjoyed by all. 

Dumi Tutani and Luka Phiri who undertook a 55-mile sponsored walk for the Zimbabwean tumour girl, Tare, reminded us that she was operated on today in London.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her and all the other suffering Zimbabweans who can’t access this sort of treatment.  Betty Makoni, founder of Girl Child Network, who recently visited the Vigil to talk about Tare, has been nominated as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009.  Please see events and notices for how you can vote for her. 

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

FOR THE RECORD:  268 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         ROHR Manchester general meeting. Saturday 17th October from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M13 9UB. Substantive committee to be elected. ROHR President and ROHR UK
executive present. Contact: Fungai Chikoore 07876060929, Jeremiah Murefu 07881452495 / 07536677154, Tsitsi Jonas 07884254184, Fenny Nyatsanza 07886310005 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·         ROHR Leicester relaunch meeting. Saturday 24th October. Venue: Bishop Street Methodist Church,10 Bishop Street, Leicester LE 1 6AF. ROHR President and UK Executive present. Speakers: Rev Jill Marsh (Methodist Church), Celia Fisher (Leicester Aids Support Services). Contact: Dennis Sibanda 07901742649, Dr N Masamvi 07825525834, L Maposa 07837788807, F Mzemba 07932449899, G Mutimukulu 07508029001, N Maziso
07732545514, A Mutambira 07768610423 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070
·         ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well-known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
·         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).
·         From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia
to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000. http://www.newafricabooks.co.za/books_detail.asp?ID=499. 
·         Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For  information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
·         Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/ 

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