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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary 24th January 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 25 January 2009 15:44

The prospect of yet another SADC meeting on Zimbabwe did nothing to keep us warm. It was impossible to find anyone at another crowded Vigil who had any faith in the pompous, hypocritical, self-serving, blustering, craven half-wits at the SADC Summit.  It was felt that if SADC was serious about saving the region from a contagious failed state it would hand back its mandate to the AU with a recommendation that new elections be held under UN supervision.  

 

We at the Vigil are resigned to SADC admiring the new 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar notes, blaming the donor nations for Zimbabwe’s inflation rate of 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent . . . . and recognizing Mugabe as President despite the conclusion of SADC’s own observers that last year’s elections were not free and fair.  Many passers-by stopped to sign our petitions, particularly the one demanding action against SADC countries because of their failure to uphold their obligations to Zimbabweans. The Vigil wants the European Union to stop handing over billions of Euros in aid to SADC countries who support Mugabe. We want this money to be used instead to finance refugee camps for Zimbabweans in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique where our people can seek refuge and find things no longer available in Zimbabwe such as food, shelter, health care and education.  

 

Given the global economic recession we expect growing support for any moves to cut aid to Mugabe’s regional cronies.  

 

A few points:
·         Apologies that Patson Muzuwa and his Umbane troupe did not appear today.  There was a misunderstanding and they say they will be coming next week. Some people apparently came specifically to hear them (we know of someone who was emailed by a contact in Australia about it). Despite Patson’s absence we had some wonderful singing and dancing led by Jenatry Muranganwa and Dumi Tutani which made up for the absence of Umbane.
·         Highlight of the day was the ‘Tweed Bicycle Ride’. To our astonishment hundreds of cyclists rode past wearing tweed clothes.
·         We phoned Luka of the Vigil management team who is still in detention in Dover.  The phone was passed to Jenatry at the centre of the Vigil who led a song for him. The phone was then passed around to many of his friends so he could talk to them all. Apparently the Archbishop of York’s Office contacted the Zimbabwe Association and wrote to Phil Woolas, MP, Minister of State (Borders & Immigration) Home Office on behalf of Luka. Luka’s bail hearing is on Wednesday and we hope he will be released then.
·         It was good to hear from Patrick Dzimba, Co-ordinator of the Glasgow Zimbabwe Vigil. He reports that the first Glasgow Vigil of 2009 on 17th January was well-attended and was followed by their AGM.
·         WOZA Solidarity have been in touch with us.  They plan to hold a demonstration ahead of the Vigil from 12 to 2 pm on Saturday, 14th February.  They are awaiting the outcome of the trial of Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu before deciding the theme of their protest.  We will keep you informed. 
·         We have been contacted by the Reverend Bill Crews of the Exodus Foundation (www.exodusfoundation.net). He is a friend of Sekai Holland and his organisation helped her to escape from Zimbabwe after her appalling treatment in March 2007.  He is looking for ways to help Zimbabwe post-Mugabe and asked us for contacts to work with.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check our pictures page.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 235 signed the register.

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         ROHR Manchester General Meeting. Saturday 31 January 2009 at Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M13 9UB from 1330 – 1730hrs. Contact Moses Nyagodzi 07778547971, Mike Kanyepi 07500696527 or Mr Madzonganyika 07747141835. 
·         ROHR Wakefield Members Meeting. Saturday 31 January 2009 at 4 Celandine Close, Carlton Glen, Pontefract, Wakefield, WF8 2SL. Contact Mugoni 07748828913, B Sikosana 07940181761, P Karuwa 07908075149. 
·         ROHR Brighton General Meeting. Saturday, 31 January 2009. Venue and time to be announced. Contact Siniki Dube 07824668763 or Phyllis Chibanguza  07908406069
·         Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 24th January, 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
·         ‘The Agony of Zimbabwe, What Chance for Change?’ Monday 9th February, 6.45 – 8.45 pm.  Talk by Christina Lamb Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Sunday Times. Hosted by Friends of Le Monde diplomatique. Venue: the Gallery, 70/77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ (near Farringdon Tube station).  For more information check: http://monde-diplo-friends.org.uk/calendar.htm.
·         WOZA Solidarity Protest. Saturday, 14th February, 12 – 2 pm, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR.     
·         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 17th January 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 18 January 2009 17:42

A massive Vigil – perhaps the biggest one we have ever had, apart from special occasions.  At the close, when we joined hands to sing Nkosi Sikelele Africa, people were standing three deep right around the Embassy piazza.  Perhaps it was developments at home that prompted the big turnout.  Or it might have been insecurity following the detention and threatened deportation of Luka Phiri of the Vigil Management Team. 

 

Certainly there was much discussion of the news that Tsvangirai had returned home for party consultations ahead of a SA-facilitated meeting with Mugabe and the reconvening of Parliament. We are outside the Embassy every Saturday whatever the season and, battling the cold in the fading light, we despaired as all the chefs in Southern Africa took a month off for Christmas to stuff themselves while people died of cholera or starved or were beaten to death.  Anyway we trust our chefs are sufficiently refreshed to put in a couple of days work before the country closes down for the celebrations marking Comrade Mugabe’s 85th birthday.

 

At the Vigil we have not had the luxury of a summer break. In fact we have had a busy week, what with the right to work campaign and our efforts to save Luka from deportation. Many people who came past the Vigil, seeing a picture of Luka on the table, expressed their outrage at the attempt to send him back to the deathly welcome of Malawi.  We were in close contact with Luka through the afternoon via text messages.  In response to Luka’s first message to the Vigil saying how much he was missing us, we did a big ‘pom pom’ for him, shouting ‘Free Luka, Free Luka’, and sent him the message that we were all thinking about him and supporting him.  Luka’s final message was: ‘This is the best time of my life to know there are people who really care. I am happy and blessed to be part of the Vigil. Nothing bad will happen to me as long as the Vigil is around.’ 

 

Many will already know that, through the great efforts of the Zimbabwean community in the UK, Luka’s deportation was halted at the last minute. He is still in detention though and we are working to get him released. Many thanks to Yeukai Taruvinga for her untiring efforts to help Luka and to Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil Management Team who visited Luka daily while he was held in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre. He has now been moved to Dover.  We will keep you posted on what happens to Luka via ‘Update on Luka’ at the top of the home page of our website.

 

Vigil Management Team member Sue reported on the demonstration on Tuesday organised by Citizens for Sanctuary in support of the campaign to allow Zimbabwean asylum seekers to work. She said that after making representations at 10 Downing Street, the Zimbabwean group of some 300 or so toyi toyied to the nearby Home Office where they shouted ‘Free Luka’.

 

It was good to hear from Cathy Buckle this week. Her new book ‘Innocent Victims’ about Meryl Harrison’s courageous rescue of thousands of farm animals from Zimbabwean farms whose owners had been forced to flee will be available in March – www.merlinunwin.co.uk.   Cathy’s message to the Vigil: ‘Thank you for everything you continue to do for Zimbabwe – so many years’.

 

Some more points: We were glad to have with us Sarah who had just come back from Bulawayo and gave us an update on the situation there. An opera singer stopped to sign our petitions on her way to perform at Covent Garden. Eunita Masola handed £40 to the Vigil. She said it had been given to her by colleagues for causes in Zimbabwe when she went to work in her Vigil t-shirt.

 

In last week’s diary we gave a brief account of the activities of our partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) in the first half of last year. Herewith a report on the second half of ROHR’s year.

 

14th JulyROHR is launching an ongoing arts festival in an effort to counter political violence and explore democratic space. It is working with Zimbabwe Poets for Human Rights and their first event will be held in Kadoma on Saturday 19th July.
31st July -
At a Vigil Management Team meeting the possibility of setting up a fund to support victims of the election violence in Zimbabwe was discussed.  It was pointed out that our partner ROHR had already contributed substantial money to support victims of violence, most notably helping to pay for Tonderai Ndira’s funeral and providing Tichanzii Gandanga with the means to leave Zimbabwe to get treatment in South Africa.  It was agreed that it would be duplication to set up a separate fund and that we should channel any money through ROHR.
25th SeptemberROHR has today taken the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to court over the central bank's failure to review bank withdrawal limits in line with the economic situation.
10th October – More than 200 ROHR activists took to the streets of Harare today at 10.00 hours in a protest march. The demonstration was staged under the Demand for Democracy and Justice Campaign whose primary aim is to see Zimbabwe hold fresh elections for a new government and a leader of the people’s choice within two years. The police reacted by raiding ROHR offices and briefly detained ROHR programmes officer Mrs Mapanzure.  
17th OctoberROHR’s protest in Mutare attracted more than 150 people. The demonstration was however broken up by Zanu-PF youths. Clifford Hlatshwayo, our co-ordinator responsible for the Demand for Democracy and Justice Campaign, was severely injured.
27th October - 23 men and women have been hospitalised and seven arrested after ROHR demonstrated in Harare today. Four people are missing after having been abducted by Zanu PF. More than 200 ROHR activists participated in the demonstration that brought business to a standstill. The protesters marched towards the Harare International Conference Centre, the venue for this week’s SADC meeting.
28th October - More than 100 people participated in a demonstration organised by ROHR in Masvingo. The protest is a continuation of the protests during the meeting of SADC heads of state.
1st NovemberROHR activist Osborne Kachuru was beaten to death at ZANU PF's offices in Fourth Street, Harare, after a peaceful demonstration during the SADC talks on Monday.  Moses  Mutasa and Memory Chashayele who were abducted on 27th October  have been found. They are shaken and in deep pain caused by the extremely brutal assault they endured at the hands on their Zanu-PF abductors.
4th November – ROHR mobilised more than 200 people to participate in the protest march held in Gweru today. They were holding placards and distributing flyers to the public.
21st November – The ‘Demand for Justice and Democracy’ demonstration in Bulawayo was subdued because of the heavy presence of police, army and CIOs but ROHR members managed to distribute flyers to people in the streets who approvingly shouted, ‘victory is for the people’. 

1st December – More than 350 Bindura ROHR members and residents took to the streets today in a protest organised as part of the ROHR campaign for democracy and justice. 
21st December – About 40 ROHR members in Bindura have fled their homes to mountains and surrounding areas following attacks and arrests by Zanu PF. Several ROHR members were beaten up and are being accused of having staged a demonstration against President Mugabe without police authority.

 

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

 

FOR THE RECORD: over 250 signed the register.

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
ROHR Newcastle General Meeting. Saturday 24th January at 61 Bishops Benwell, Newcastle NE15 6RY from 1400 - 1730 hrs. Contact: Linda Chingwinyiso 07894142263, Joseph Madziva 07905850073 or Fadzai Mudekwa 07727221873.
Unite Zimnite. Saturday 24th January at 7 pm. King’s College London’s student-led charity Project Zimbabwe is holding a fundraiser for Zimbabwe. The event is an African themed open mic night with over 8 acts coming to perform.  Money raised will go towards their MedYouth Project, a life skills programme being taught to school children in Bulawayo next summer. Venue: Function Room, Walkabout, Temple. Cost: £10/£5NUS. For more information, check: http://www.kclprojectzimbabwe.blogspot.com/
‘The Agony of Zimbabwe, What Chance for Change?’ Monday 9th February, 6.45 – 8.45 pm.  Talk by Christina Lamb Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Sunday Times. Hosted by
Friends of Le Monde diplomatique. Venue: the Gallery, 70/77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ (near Farringdon Tube station).  For more information check: http://monde-diplo-friends.org.uk/calendar.htm.
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 – 10th January 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 21:03

A freezing Vigil – one of the coldest we can recall in the six years or so we have been protesting outside the Embassy.  It was one of those days when it seemed too cold for snow, though there were fine flakes.  Some passers-by came and joined in the dancing to keep warm.  We were also joined for a while by a Zimbabwean farmer who was beaten up and driven off his land six years ago. He still lives in Zimbabwe and, given the weather here, is probably looking forward to going home . . .  

 

Supporters were interested to learn from SW Radio Africa that the Mujurus’ daughter, Nyasha, is apparently heavily involved in dealing in Africa’s ‘blood’ gold on behalf of the ‘family firm’. She lives in Spain with her Spanish husband . . . for the moment!  It cheered us to have some of the murky dealings between our kleptocratic leaders coming out into the open.  The Vigil has long suspected that the alliances between some SADC leaders are based on corrupt financial dealings principally involving the exploitation of the benighted DRC
(see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/hotseat090109.htm). 
 

 

The Vigil has supported the campaign to allow failed asylum seekers in the UK the right to work.  A demonstration is to be held outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday 13th January.  For more information check: ‘For your Diary’ below. 

 

A few points from today:
·        
With the cold weather, some people at the Vigil were not very well but nevertheless spent the whole time with us. We salute them.
·         The Reverend Bill Crews from Australia, who has been very helpful to Sekai Holland, stopped by and outlined plans to help Zimbabwe
once there is a new government.  It was good to have him with us.
·        
A Zimbabwean couple came past who were marking their golden wedding anniversary. They were staying at a local hotel where they had spent their honeymoon.
·        
We were delighted to hear that Vigil team member Arnold Kuwewa’s papers have finally come through.  
·         Word from the front table: we actually had a South African who was prepared to sign our petition calling on FIFA to move the World Cup from South Africa next year.   

 

As mentioned last week we are publishing information about the activities last year of Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe.  ROHR was founded in 2007 out of the Vigil’s need for a presence on the ground in Zimbabwe to create a democratic space where people can act without fear. This week we are covering their activities in Zimbabwe for the first six months of 2008. (Next week we will report on the second half of the year). We also report on ROHR activities in the UK and South Africa last year.   

 

ROHR in Zimbabwe
25th January
200 ROHR activists led by Stendrick Zvorwardza demonstrated in Harare carrying banners demanding peace, justice and freedom. They were beaten up by police and Sten and others, including ROHR Chairman Tichanzii Gandanga, were arrested. (23 were seriously injured including 2 ladies with broken arms. Sten was released on Monday, 28/01.) 

10th February – Sten detained again. Text message from him to the VigilI have been brutalized by soldiers and arrested for saying Zanu PF is causing the suffering of Zimbabweans. I am in police custody and am in pain. Have been denied treatment. Despite all this, my spirit for fighting for our rights is getting stronger by the day.” (Sten was released a few days later but was being closely watched.) 

26th April Ephraim Tapa, President of ROHR, reported that ROHR official Tichanzii Gandanga had been abducted on Tuesday (22/04) 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.   

3rd May – ROHR activists were at the Vigil in force to express their abhorrence at the violence being inflicted on opposition supporters.  Stendrick briefed the Vigil on ROHR’s plans for actions in Zimbabwe.   

18th MayROHR activists Godfrey Kauzani and Cain Nyeve, who were abducted last week by state security agents, have been found dead in Goromonzi. Cain Nyeve's eyes were missing, suggesting that he was tortured. 

21st MayROHR has learnt with shock of the murder of Tonderai Ndira (33), one of its members, who was abducted from his Mabvuku home on Wednesday 14th May by 9 heavily armed police. Ndira was also the Provincial Secretary for Security in MDC-T.  

21st May – At the burial of Cain Nyeve and Godfrey Kauzani a mob of more than 100 Zanu PF thugs drove away mourners with stones and sticks leaving behind the two coffins in uncovered graves.  

22nd JuneOver 300 people gathered at the Grace Ablaze Ministries International church to join ROHR in commemorating the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. ROHR pledged 30 blankets and groceries for the victims of violence who were present at the event. 

 

ROHR in the UK
Ephraim Tapa, President, and Paradzai Mapfumo, UK Co-ordinator, have worked hard to build UK support structures for ROHR in Zimbabwe. They have travelled the length and breadth of the UK and launched the following branches: Bradford – 17th August, Birmingham – 13th September, Ashford -  14th September, Liverpool – 21st September, Stoke-on-Trent – 27th September, Brighton – 4th October, South West London – 19th October, Wolverhampton – 25th October, Manchester – 1st November, Newcastle-upon-Tyne – 2nd November, Coventry – 8th November, West Yorkshire – 15th November, Glasgow – 22nd November, Bournemouth – 30th November, Hatfield – 6th December, Reading – 7th December, Leicester – 13th December. 

In addition ROHR held a protest outside the Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham on 4th May and had an audience with Archbishop Nichols, who expressed his support. The new ROHR website was launched on 1st November – thanks to David McAllister for his hard work on this.  ROHR Liverpool’s weekly protests started on 15th November. 

 

 

ROHR in South Africa
MayEphraim Tapa, ROHR President and Vigil founder member, visited Johannesburg at the invitation of South African activists who wanted to join up with the ROHR project.  On 17th May he reported to the Vigil on his visit.  He said he had made contact with many Zimbabwean exiles and told us of the difficulties of their lives there.  People without papers were constantly stopped by the authorities and money demanded. In the case of women who had no money they were often raped. He said that for Zimbabwean women the formula was: no papers + no money = rape. Zimbabweans in South Africa were very keen to start a ROHR protest group.  

10th December – ROHR Zimbabwe SA Chapter was joined by comrades from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to mark World Human Rights Day. They protested against the rising spate of abductions, torture, arbitrary arrests and abuse of civic leaders, members of the opposition and ordinary Zimbabweans. They also protested against the SADC resolution on both Zimbabwe and the DRC, arguing that the regional leaders had chosen to stand in solidarity with dictatorships against defenceless citizens. About 700 activists were at the Union Building gardens to hand over a petition to SADC chairman and SA President Kgalema Motlanthe.  

 

 

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

 

FOR THE RECORD: 190 signed the register. 

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         Citizens for Sanctuary Campaign for Zimbabweans to be allowed to work.  On Tuesday 13th January  they will be handing over Zimbabwean CVs to 10 Downing Street.  10.30 meet in the chapel at Methodist Central Hall (Storey's Gate, London, SW1H 9NH) for a briefing. 12 noon assemble in Richmond Terrace opposite 10 Downing Street. Photocall at 12.30 and at 12:45 a delegation of six Zimbabweans will enter Downing Street and deliver a dossier of CVs collected from Zimbabweans in the UK who have skills that are going to waste and want to work.  For more info contact Jonathan Cox, Lead Organiser, Citizens for Sanctuary Campaign: 07919 484 066 and
Chipo Chaya of the Zimbabwe Vigil: 07904 395 496.
·         ROHR Launch Meeting in Northampton. Saturday 17 January  at Alliston Gardens Community Centre, 2 Adelaide Street, Northampton NN2 6AR
from 1330-1730hrs. Contact Anthony Chimimba 07799855806, Shenete Vushe 07818661362, Angeline Nehanda 07915085123. N
·         Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 17th January, 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 Newcastle General Meeting. Saturday 24 January at 61 Bishops Benwell NE15 6RY Newcastle
from 1400 - 1730 hrs. Contact: Linda Chingwinyiso 07894142263, Joseph Madziva 07905850073 or Fadzai Mudekwa 07727221873.
·         Unite Zimnite. Saturday 24th January at 7 pm. King’s College London’s student-led charity Project Zimbabwe is holding a fundraiser for Zimbabwe. The event is an African themed open mic night with over 8 acts coming to perform.  Money raised will go towards their MedYouth Project, a life skills programme being taught to school children in Bulawayo next summer. Venue: Function Room, Walkabout, Temple. Cost: £10/£5NUS. For more information, check:
http://www.kclprojectzimbabwe.blogspot.com/
·         ‘The Agony of Zimbabwe, What Chance for Change?’ Monday 9th February, 6.45 – 8.45 pm.  Talk by Christina Lamb Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Sunday Times. Hosted by Friends of Le Monde diplomatique. Venue: the Gallery, 70/77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ (near Farringdon Tube station).  For more information
check:
http://monde-diplo-friends.org.uk/calendar.htm.
·         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 3rd January 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 January 2009 15:17

Happy New Year. We are now well into our seventh year outside the Embassy – more determined that ever. It was cold – the bleak midwinter – but that was the least of our worries. At this time of year it is the separation from our families that is the most painful thing. 

 

We were joined by Sungirayi Shikara, who afterwards wrote to thank the Vigil for the comfort it had given him. He said he had been unable to return home for the funeral of one of his 9-year-old twin daughters. “I say to my daughter Mildred may your little soul rest in peace daddy will always love you sweetheart my angel”. 

 

Competition for the Vigil came from demonstrators campaigning for the suffering people of Gaza. We’re often asked where we stand on issues like this: Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. The simple answer is that we have no position on anything but Zimbabwe. (We are sorry that both Israel and Arab countries seem to be supporting Mugabe.) London’s Gaza demonstrators were long gone before we had finished our Vigil in the dark with only our singing and dancing to keep us going – and the companionship of course. 

 

A man came by complaining about all the Mercedes parked outside the Zimbabwean Ambassador’s residence in North London.  He said why don’t we protest there? Good idea . . . perhaps we should liberate some of the cars too. 

 

Chipo Chaya of the Vigil management team continued to collect CVs for the Citizens for Sanctuary campaign for Zimbabweans to be allowed to work in the UK.  These will be presented to 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, 13th January. See “For Your Diary” for details of the event. 

 

Last week we gave a brief account of the Vigil’s activities in the first six months of last year. Herewith the last half of the year.  Next week we will give a summary of the growth of our partner organisation ROHR in 2008. The material is drawn from our Vigil diaries. 

 

5th July 2008
A big crowd attended the Vigil to launch our new petition calling on FIFA to move the World Cup from South Africa: “With the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and the likelihood of unrest spreading to South Africa we call upon FIFA to move the 2010 World Cup from South Africa to a safer venue. By the time the World Cup takes place South Africa’s support of the Mugabe regime will have made the whole region unsafe because millions more refugees will flee Zimbabwe prompting further xenophobic violence in neighbouring countries.”  

 

11th July 2008
Vigil members took a leading role today in a service at Parliament’s own parish church, St Margaret’s, next to Westminster Abbey, addressed by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.  The occasion was a service of prayer for the people of Zimbabwe called ‘Restore Zimbabwe’.  Chipo Chaya and Luka Phiri of the Vigil management team read a lesson in Shona and Ndebele respectively. Chipo also conducted the Zimbabwean choir and Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani led dancing below the altar. Vigil members gave testimony as ‘Voices of Zimbabwe’. 

 

8th August 2008
There was big media attendance at the joint demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy in London to coincide with the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing.  Television teams from British and foreign news organisations spent four hours with us.  It was an uplifting experience working with other oppressed peoples in protest at China’s support of dictators. It is difficult to say how many people attended because the Burmese and Tibetans mobilised at different times but the Zimbabweans and Darfurians were there from beginning to end.  A highlight was a symbolic tableau depicting Mugabe, Bashir of Sudan and Than Shwe of Burma chained to a figure representing China against the backdrop of a black coffin representing the millions of victims of the three dictators.  

 

 

20th September 2008
Our doubts about the power-sharing agreement seem to have been borne out.  The word we get from relatives and friends is that ZANU-PF seem to have no understanding of what power-sharing means.  Vigil representatives went to a meeting in London on Tuesday (16/9) organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. It was addressed by Jenni Williams of WOZA and Abel Chikomo, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. A few people expressed misgivings about the power-sharing arrangement but Jenni and Abel and most of the audience were reasonably optimistic. (We weren’t.)

 

11th October 2008
Friends from times past joined us in brilliant sunshine for the Vigil to launch our 7th year outside the Embassy. Unfortunately Glenys Kinnock MEP was unable to be with us to receive our petition to the EU so we sending it to Brussels by post:
Letter to the European Union
“The Zimbabwe Vigil wishes to submit a petition calling on European Union countries to suspend government-to-government aid to members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) because of their failure to help the suffering people of Zimbabwe. As you will see, the petition has been signed by thousands of people from all over the world who have recently passed by our Vigil and share our anxiety about the crisis in our homeland. The Vigil condemns SADC for recognising Mugabe as President when SADC’s own election observers criticised the polls this year as deeply flawed. Mugabe consequently feels free to disregard a power-sharing deal signed last month -- despite the deepening humanitarian crisis. The Vigil wants the money saved by our proposal – and it amounts to many hundreds of millions of pounds a year – to be used to finance refugee camps in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique to which Zimbabweans can flee for their lives without fear of prompting more xenophobic violence.” 

 

1st November 2008
Vigil supporters were shocked by the murder of Osborne Kachuru of ROHR. He was beaten to death at ZANU PF's offices in Fourth Street, Harare, after a peaceful demonstration during the SADC talks on Monday. We are told that the Zanu PF political commissar Eliot Manyika was responsible and the Vigil swears to leave no stone unturned to make sure he eventually faces justice. 

 

(Press Report: “Elliot Manyika, the ZANU PF political commissar whose name is synonymous with violence, died on Saturday (6/12) following a road accident along the Zvishavane-Mbalabala road.”)  

 

26th November 2008
Open letter from the Zimbabwe Vigil to South Africa
and the Elders

The dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance emerging from South Africa in the past week stabs at the heart of all those working for democracy in Zimbabwe.

 

The group of three ‘Elders’ spent a couple of days in South Africa talking about Zimbabwe and say they have been shocked by what they have learnt. Where have they been for the past 10 years? Have they read nothing, heard nothing? 

 

Even though they were not allowed into Zimbabwe, they submitted a report to South Africa’s President Motlanthe. He says he was shocked by the report and talks about ‘quibbling over ministries’. Where has he been for the past 10 years? Has he read nothing, heard nothing? 

 

They say the situation is desperate – and so it is – but it is not helped by this dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance.They say the Zimbabwean party leaders must put aside their differences and join in a power-sharing government to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe – as if another short-sighted and deceitful agreement like the one signed in September will do anything to improve the situation.   For our part the Vigil wants to see:
1.      No recognition of Mugabe’s illegitimate regime
2.      Neighbouring countries to refuse visas to members of the regime
3.      A freeze on the assets of members of the regime
4.      UN sanctions on the regime

5.      The establishment of refugee camps in countries bordering Zimbabwe where desperate Zimbabweans can seek food, medical attention, shelter and education no longer available at home. 

 

6th December 2008

The leader of the UK Liberal Democrat Party, Nick Clegg MP, visited the Vigil and called for international action to oust Mugabe.  Addressing Vigil supporters, Mr Clegg condemned the brutality of the Mugabe regime. He said it was a stain on the conscience of the world. The UN, he said, must take any measures necessary to remove Mugabe. The Lib Dem leader paid tribute to the persistence of the Vigil and declared ‘you will prevail in the end’.

 

20th December 2008
There was massive media presence because of the juxtaposition of cholera and Christmas. We were particularly pleased to have the SABC with us because our main message is addressed to South Africa.  We are encouraged that the rest of the world seems to be coming around to our view – both our petitions are aimed at pressing South Africa to take action against Mugabe. Father Cholera had an exhausting time sweating behind his Mugabe mask. When he appeared in his Santa Claus outfit he was mobbed by television crews (Sky, CNN, Channel 4, Aljazeera and others). He cut down from the trees beautifully wrapped Christmas presents and handed them to Vigil supporters representing the people of Zimbabwe. They were labelled: cholera, anthrax, starvation, hunger, violence, murder, rape, torture, greed, injustice, destruction, death,  corruption, lies, inflation, AIDS, malaria, devastation, kleptocracy, terror. 

 

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

 

FOR THE RECORD: 157 signed the register.

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·        ROHR Birmingham Fashion Show / Fundraising. Saturday 10 January 2009 at Bishop Latimer Church Hall, Beeton Road, off Handsworth New Road, Birmingham B18 4QD.
Entry fee £3. There will be raffles including half year subscriptions paid up on your membership. Come and let's revive our country. Contact: Em Zibgowa 07846005120, Des Parayiwa 07815565335, Reb Mlambo 07817585742, Tsitsi Mavhura 07932477842. 
·        Citizens for Sanctuary Campaign for Zimbabweans to be allowed to work.  On Tuesday, 13th January 2009 they will be handing over Zimbabwean CVs to 10 Downing Street.  Participants are asked to assemble at 12 noon in Richmond Terrace opposite 10 Downing Street. Photocall at 12.30 and at 12:45 a delegation of six Zimbabweans will enter Downing Street and deliver a dossier of CVs collected from Zimbabweans in the UK
who have skills that are going to waste and want to work.  For more info contact Jonathan Cox, Lead Organiser, CIitizens for Sanctuary Campaign: 07919 484066.      
·        ROHR Launch Meeting in Northampton. Saturday 17 January 2009 at Alliston Gardens Community Centre, 2 Adelaide Street, Northampton NN2 6AR from 1330-1730hrs. Contact Anthony Chimimba 07799855806, Shenete Vushe 07818661362, Angeline Nehanda 07915085123.
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 17th January 2009, 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 Newcastle General Meeting. Saturday 24 January 2009 at 61 Bishops Benwell NE15 6RY Newcastle
from 1400 - 1730 hrs. Contact: Linda Chingwinyiso 07894142263, Joseph Madziva 07905850073 or Fadzai Mudekwa 07727221873.
·        Unite Zimnite. Saturday, 24th January 2009 at 7 pm. King’s College London’s student-led charity Project Zimbabwe is holding a fundraiser for Zimbabwe. The event is an African themed open mic night with over 8 acts coming to perform.  Money raised will go towards their MedYouth Project, a life skills programme being taught to school children in Bulawayo next summer. Venue: Function Room, Walkabout, Temple. Cost: £10/£5NUS. For more information, check: http://www.kclprojectzimbabwe.blogspot.com/

·       
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 27th December 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 28 December 2008 16:19

There was a surprisingly big turnout given the freezing east wind.  With the credit crunch there were fewer people around than normal, despite desperate post-Christmas sales. Sue of our management team, who helps woman the front table, was so cold she went off to buy a pair of long socks.  She was struggling to put them on when one of the Vigil people – who works as a carer – came over and gave her a hand amid much hilarity.

 

Worried about our loved ones at home, we spent an anxious Christmas trying to work out what games Mugabe was playing with his cholera denial and abductions. It was good to be back together again to share information – and celebrate the first birthday of Mandla, another Vigil baby, son of Julius Mutyambizi and Addley Nyamutaka.  We enjoyed his birthday cake.  Patson Muzuwa said the Vigil was becoming a dating bureau given the number of marriages and offspring of people who had met outside the Embassy.

 

We had another South African passer-by who – initially supportive – was taken aback by our petition calling for the 2010 World Cup to be moved from South Africa.  “I am not going to sign that” he said. We continue to be surprised that our South African friends think football is more important than Zimbabwean lives.

 

We were all depressed to hear that the UN had not collected enough money to feed Zimbabwe. The Vigil again urges the European Union to help. The money needed could come from government-to-government aid from the EU to SADC countries. Malawi receives some £70m a year of this type of aid from Britain alone. The Malawi government is a great fan of Mugabe. Surely the UK could divert the money from Malawi to our desperate families in Zimbabwe. The Malawians could ask Mugabe for help instead . . . .

 

Nicolas Negoce of Vox Africa, a new French-African TV station, was with us and interviewed Luka Phiri of the Vigil management team. Another member of the team, Fungayi Mabhunu, is to do a studio interview with them later this week.

 

We were encouraged by a young man who came to us for the first time and said how much he had enjoyed being with us and he would bring friends to future Vigils. Another visitor was Jonathan Cox of the Citizens for Sanctuary Campaign who asked Chipo Chaya of the Vigil Management Team to get supporters to fill in CV forms. The plan is to hand over the CVs to the government to show that Zimbabweans have skills and want to work and make a contribution in the UK.

 

It has been a busy year and here’s the first part of our annual report – the highlights of the first six months of the year – taken from the Vigil Diary.  Next week we will do the same for July – December.

 

* 19th JanuaryA massive and very busy Vigil.  We estimate that at least 500 were there, filling the entire piazza outside Zimbabwe House.  Among them were MDC members who had marched from Trafalgar Square behind a huge banner “Zimbabweans want free and fair elections 2008”.
* 16th February – The Vigil was joined by activists from WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) marking  the annual Valentine’s Day protest.  
* 17th February – Vigil members attended a church service in Speldhurst, Kent, addressed by Sebastian Bakare, Bishop of Harare.
* 8th March
Singing and toy-toying behind placards reading ‘Dignity! Democracy Zimbabwe’, a stream of people joined the Vigil after a rally in Trafalgar Square. The rally was organised by ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) on International Women’s Day in support of women in Zimbabwe. 
* 29th MarchAbout 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.  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, stuffing a giant ballot box with votes reading ‘Mugabe for Murder’, ‘Mugabe for Torture’, Mugabe for Starvation’ etc. 
* 29th March – launch of Glasgow Vigil.  They meet every other week. 
* 17th-19th AprilThree 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.  Several well-known musicians joined the Vigil, among them Lucky Moyo, formerly of Black Unfolozi, and Willard Karanga, formerly with Thomas Mapfumo’s band.  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. 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.
* 3rd May – We got a lot of media coverage of our demonstration in protest at Mugabe’s post-election reign of terror.  Fugayi Mabhunu gave three television and radio interviews while Stendrick Zvorwadza of our partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) was on the radio a couple of times.  ROHR activists were at the Vigil in force to express their abhorrence of the violence being inflicted on opposition supporters.  
* 24th May – The Vigil joined in a ‘stand up for Zimbabwe’ campaign organised by a coalition of African civil society organizations who are calling on people across the world to press the Southern African Development Community,  African Union and the United Nations to act decisively to end systematic political violence in Zimbabwe. More than 200 people joined us.  We also held a mass 'lie down' as a way of graphically illustrating how many more people might die if the crisis isn't resolved. So many people wanted to take part that we had 3 waves of people lying down. .
* 9th June – The former Archbishop of
Cape Town and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has asked for forgiveness on behalf of South Africa for the recent xenophobic violence against foreigners.  He was speaking  at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.  Turning to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Tutu said it used to be a showpiece in Africa: “It has now turned into the most horrendous nightmare”. He accepted a copy of a petition from the Vigil calling on President Mbeki to stop supporting Mugabe and allow a change of government in Zimbabwe so Zimbabwean exiles can return home.
* 12th June – the Vigil protested outside the South Africa High Commission on the day when the
Zimbabwe situation was to be discussed by the UN Security Council.  Unsurprisingly, South Africa insisted that only the humanitarian situation be discussed: the political situation was not important enough.  The same attitude was reflected by the Hugh Commission, which initially refused to accept our petition to President Mbeki.  It was pointed out to them what bad public relations this was. Then they changed their mind and allowed one person to take the petition in to reception. Accompanying it was the following letter to President Mbeki: “We have been horrified by the recent xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans and other foreigners in South Africa and enclose a petition signed on Saturday 7th June by people passing by the Zimbabwe Vigil. The situation can only get worse if Zanu PF is allowed to cling to power.  More and more Zimbabweans will have no choice but to flee.” The demonstration made a strong impression on a Thursday lunch hour in Trafalgar Square. The demonstration reached its height when, singing and dancing, all fingers were pointed at the South African High Commission.
* 21st June
Supporters had asked us to dedicate this Saturday as a prayer vigil and no one could fail to be moved by the outpouring of sorrow.  Many thanks to Sally Sakala, a gospel musician and worshipper at God Solution Centre who led the impassioned prayers and hymn singing.  We were happy to be joined by the Reverend Richard Carter of St Martin-in-the-Fields. 
* 23rd JuneA demonstration for democracy, rights and freedom for Zimbabwe organised by the TUC and ACTSA was supported by the Vigil.
* 25th June – Several Vigil supporters were among about a dozen demonstrators who gathered at
Hyde Park as Nelson Mandela arrived for a dinner with leaders including Gordon Brown and former President Bill Clinton. They held up a banner saying "Mandela ignores Mugabe's terror. Shame", "Mandela speak out. Support a free Zimbabwe". They were pleased when Mr Mandela waved at them.
* 26th June
We had a wonderful encounter with Nelson Mandela today. Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu joined human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell at Mr Mandela’s hotel in London. They were there to alert people who might have pitched up for the planned picket cancelled because of Mr Mandela’s welcome comments on the Zimbabwe situation. Fungayi, speaking in hastily-learned Xhosa, said how pleased he was that Mr Mandela had spoken out about Zimbabwe and asked him to continue speaking out. The Vigil had planned to picket the concert for Mr Mandela’s 90th birthday in Hyde Park on Friday but in view of his support any message that we will give will be one of gratitude that he has spoken out.
* 26th June – A
Service of Solidarity with Torture Survivors of Zimbabwe on UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum was supported by the Vigil.
* 27th June -- On Election Run-off day some 150 people gathered outside the Zimbabwe Embassy to protest against the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.  The centre-piece of the demonstration was a black-draped coffin which was presented to the nearby South African High Commission, containing a second tranche of our petition calling on President Mbeki to stop supporting Mugabe.  The South Africans would not allow our nominated person to present the petition because he was wearing our Mugabe mask so it was presented instead by his dear wife Grace dressed from top-to-toe in Harrods.  The crowd outside the High Commission shouted “Mbeki must go, Mbeki out, out, out”. Vigil supporters had walked from the Zimbabwe Embassy to the South African High Commission behind the coffin.  They carried placards reading “Died for Democracy in Zimbabwe.” 

 

Next week: our report on the second half of 2008 and the growth of ROHR.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check our pictures page.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 145 signed the register.

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
*Next
Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 3rd January 2008, 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 Bournemouth Members' Meeting. Saturday, 3rd January 2009 at East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, Bournmouth BH8 8AW. The meeting is from 12.30 – 14.30 and is followed by a march and fundraising at the town square. Contact Tina - 07886707953, Abi - 07917458873 or Mr Mapfumo - 07932216070/07533831617.
* Citizens for Sanctuary Campaign for Zimbabweans to be allowed to workOn Tuesday, 13th January 2009 they will be handing over Zimbabwean CVs to 10 Downing Street.  To obtain a CV form contact Jonathan Cox, Lead Organiser and Director of CITIZENS for Sanctuary, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 07919 484066. Deadline for CVs is 5th January.
* Unite Zimnite. Saturday, 24th January 2009 at 7 pm. King’s College London’s student-led charity Project Zimbabwe is holding a fundraiser for Zimbabwe. The event is an African themed open mic night with over 8 acts coming to perform.  Money raised will go towards their MedYouth Project, a life skills programme being taught to school children in Bulawayo next summer. Venue: Function Room, Walkabout, Temple. Cost: £10/£5NUS. For more information, check: http://www.kclprojectzimbabwe.blogspot.com/
* 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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