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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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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 3rd October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 October 2009 15:45

The Vigil is marking its seventh anniversary on Saturday 10th October by hosting President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace on a shopping expedition at Harrods. They complain that they are victims of illegal sanctions which have prevented them from spending their hard-earned millions on shopping trips to the West.  

The Southern African Development Community last month said the targeted sanctions are the cause of Zimbabwe’s ruin and demanded their removal.  The Vigil wants to meet SADC halfway and show what would happen if the sanctions are lifted.  

Two stalwarts of the Vigil, Fungayi Mabhunu and Gugu Tutani, will impersonate the presidential couple on their shopping spree.  Fungayi will once again be wearing our Mugabe mask. They will return to the Vigil with their purchases by rickshaw to be welcomed by SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors adopting their traditional posture – on their knees in worship of Mugabe. 

The Vigil has sent this letter to SADC’s Executive Secretary, Dr Tomáz Augusto Salomão:  

The Zimbabwe Vigil is presenting the following petition to Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, to pass on to the European Union. “A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe”.   

The presentation will take place at our regular Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 10th October to mark the Vigil’s 7th Anniversary. We reluctantly call for action against SADC members because of their failure to meet their obligations as guarantors of the power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe brokered by SADC a year ago. SADC was committed to reviewing the agreement after 6 months but declined to do so 8 months after the formation of the coalition government, despite an appeal by the Movement for Democratic Change to address outstanding issues which threaten the viability of the government.  

We have asked Mr Van Orden to accept the petition because of his close interest in the Zimbabwean situation. Thousands of people from all over world passing by the Vigil have signed the petition since we first presented a tranche to the European Union exactly a year ago. Since then SADC has been consistent in its refusal to help the people of Zimbabwe and the Vigil believes SADC countries must now be faced with consequences of their dereliction of duty.

SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors in London are being invited to join us at the Vigil to witness the handover of this petition by actors impersonating “His Excellency, President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces" Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, milk producer for Nestlé’s. Mr and Mrs Mugabe will be photographed earlier in the day shopping at Harrods – the denial of this “human right” was seen as the major problem by SADC at their last meeting in Kinshasha at which they called for targeted sanctions to be removed."

We were happy to have Josephine Zhuga on the front table, which engages with people passing by and gets them to sign our petitions etc. She says an IMF official stopped on his way to catch a plane to Harare.  He said things seemed to be getting better.  Josephine told him she disagreed and mentioned the unemployment, the problems with schools and hospitals, the lack of any respect for the rule of law and the continuing human rights abuses etc.   

We at the Vigil are in close contact all the time with family and friends all over Zimbabwe and are increasingly cynical at the over-optimistic spin so many people are trying to put on the situation in Zimbabwe where any dispassionate observer would see complete deadlock in implementing the Global Political Agreement and no rule of law. 

Thanks to Chipo Chaya, Jonathan Kariwoh, Reginald Gwasira and Gladys Mapanda for working so hard  looking after the Vigil register and merchandise and manning the front table.  Also thanks to Kimpton Samkange who, after successfully going through the asylum process, is offering supporters advice on the matter. 

You can hear Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil Management Team in part 2 of ‘Memento’ on the BBC World Service which will be broadcast several times between Friday 9th October 00:06 GMT and Sunday 11th October 23:06 GMT (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/10/091001_fridaydoc_memento_one.shtml) 

We learn from Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network that the Zimbabwean girl Tare has arrived in the UK and has been admitted to hospital. It seems her treatment will take longer than anticipated so donations are still very much needed: www.girchildnetworkworldwide.org   

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

FOR THE RECORD:  158 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:
·         Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October. The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, downstairs at the 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 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 more information check: 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 .

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