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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary 7th February 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 February 2009 15:06

At a Vigil attended by supporters from far and wide it was decided that, now we are all united, Comrade Mugabe would be invited to join us outside the Embassy to mark his 85th birthday on 21st February. We know that his fans at home are trying to extort US$ 200,000 for his birthday celebrations at Masvingo but we are sure he will be able to use the miraculous powers which have enabled him to bamboozle the world to join us (in the shape of Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Magabe mask). He will be given presents of cholera and torture, and Grace will be shown valiantly beating up a Western photographer and battling with a Zimbabwean judge over a stolen farm. Thanks to Mike Mudyiwa for the suggestion. 

In the new spirit of unity, the Vigil will ask Mugabe to make over his personal fortune of US $3 billion (Top 20 African Rich List – http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/feb4a_2009.html#Z32) to the Zimbabwean people. By curious coincidence this matches the talked about Western bail-out package. It would be wonderful if a generous donor like Mugabe would show that the West is not needed to rescue our dying families.   

Now the far and wide bit: it was great to welcome the Oatens from south west France and Tendai Madume who came all the way from Plymouth in snowbound Devon – pretty heroic given the circumstances. 

After a week of bleak winter weather we escaped lightly today – very cold but dry.  We bought a cake to celebrate Sue Toft’s birthday. She was lifted shoulder-high by her friends at the Vigil in appreciation of her work for Zimbabwe even though she has no direct connection with the country.  Sue was fortunate in having two cakes for her birthday – Emily Garupira and Eunita Masolo, who work in a cake shop, made her a superb concoction which was shared out post Vigil in the pub.  The Vigil thinks that you are the best thing about England Sue. 

For latest Vigil pictures check our pictures page

 FOR THE RECORD:  215 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         ‘The Agony of Zimbabwe, What Chance for Change?’ Monday 9th February, 6.45 – 8.45 pm.  Talk by Christina Lamb, Foreign Affairs Correspondent of 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.
·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 9th February at 7.30 pm. Venue: 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.
·        WOZA Solidarity Protest. Saturday, 14th February, 12 – 2 pm, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR.     
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 14th February, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.
·        Mugabe’s Birthday Bash at the Vigil – 21st February, 2 – 6 pm 
·        Newcastle Vigil launch. Saturday, 21 February from 2 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Grey's Monument,
Newcastle City Centre. Guest speaker Jim Cousins MP for
Newcastle For more information contact Prince  White 07500207668, Joseph  Madziva 07905850073, Alvin Moyo 07818225718, Tedmore  Mauwa 07949618874, Fadzayi  Mudekwa 07727221873.
·        Stoke-on-Trent ROHR members' meeting. Saturday, 21 February. Venue: Shelton Children's Centre, Room 3, Crowther Street, Shelton, Stoke-On-TrentST4 2ER from 1400 – 1700 hours. Contact Pauline Mutema 07850462301, Joana Zhira 07845896347, Amon Chauke 07877089105, Thadious Chigodo 07830299282.
·        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 31st January 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 February 2009 16:08

We expected passers-by to ask why we were still protesting outside the Embassy now that the MDC has agreed to join the Mugabe government. Most people who stopped to talk to us seemed well-informed about developments and no-one was surprised the Vigil was continuing. Certainly, our supporters turned out in unprecedented numbers and few of them had any confidence that the deal would work, given Mugabe’s failure to honour his undertakings in the power-sharing agreement of last September. 

We expect to see Morgan in London soon on a begging mission.  We believe there is a lot of support for extra humanitarian assistance but that he will face an uphill battle to get serious economic aid.  The UK and the US have already made clear that they will wait and see before committing real money. In other words they will have to be satisfied it will not drain into the hands of the Mugabe cronies.  This means the new government will have to prove a willingness to respect the rule of law: we do not believe that Zanu-PF has any idea what that means.   

We accept that there may be secret understandings between the parties that we don’t know about. Indeed, the bewildering policy flip-flops by the MDC would suggest that this is the case. But how do we know? Anyway, when Morgan comes to London we at the Vigil will still be protesting outside the Embassy with our banners ‘No to Mugabe. No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’. If he drops by the Embassy it will be the nearest he has come to us in our 6+ years here.   

As Chipo Chaya and Arnold Kuwewa of the Vigil management team said ‘we feel betrayed’. Patson Muzuwa, also of the management team, certainly drew strong support when he declared ‘We don’t want power-sharing, we want Mugabe to go’. Patson was introducing the dance troupe ‘Umbane’ who, despite the icy weather, donned traditional tribal costumes and entranced us with their close harmony Zimbabwean songs and athletic dances. Grateful thanks to the 6-man troupe: Sandile Mpande, Muzomkhulu Ndlovu, Christopher Moyo, Jeremiah Mutotela, Innocent Hlongwane and Owen Ncube.  

The Vigil bought a cake to celebrate the return of Luka Phiri of the Vigil management team and the Zimbabwe Association who was released this week after being detained prior to threatened deportation. He joked that at least he was warmer in detention.  Luka said he was deeply touched at the support he had received from the Zimbabwean community at large.  For our part we were delighted to have back with us someone Fungayi Mabhunu of the management team described as a true revolutionary, working so hard for all Zimbabweans.  

Ironically, the announcement of the unity government might cut the ground from under the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK. We fear the Home Office may say ‘The opposition is now in government. You must return home and rebuild your country’. The Vigil will fight to stop people being sent home until the situation allows it.   

The consensus from the Vigil is that a few months will show whether the unity government is working. In the meantime we have suspended our petitions targeting South Africa and SADC in favour of the following petition to the UK government: “In the light of the Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement, we call on the UK government to withhold development aid to Zimbabwe until it is clear that it will benefit the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime.’ 

For latest Vigil pictures check our pictures page

FOR THE RECORD:  290 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 7th February, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.
ROHR Harlow Launch Meeting. Saturday 7 February. Venue: St James and St Luke’s Church, Perry Road, Harlow, CM18 7NP from 1 – 5 pm. Contact Clements Kuda Sabau on 07765831500 / 07853205523, Esther Makamo 07507949023, Lloyd Kashangura 07506481334 or P Mapfumo on 07915926323 or 07932216070
‘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 – Highlights of 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 29 January 2009 19:56

Here is a synopsis of the highlights of the Zimbabwe Vigil for 2008

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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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