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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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LUKA IS FREE PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 13:06

We are very pleased to announce that Luka Phiri was released from Dover Removal Centre today. His Bail Hearing has been cancelled. Come and join us at the Vigil this Saturday to welcome Luka back.

 
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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UPDATE ON LUKA PHIRI PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 23 January 2009 00:00
Although Luka Phiri was not deported on Thursday (15/01), he is still in detention in Dover Removal Centre. The Zimbabwe Association (ZA) reports that his MP's office has had no formal response to their representations. Luka's lawyer has put in an application for bail which will be heard on Wednesday, 28th January. We are hopeful he will be released.  The lawyer has also asked Becket House (Immigration)  to release Luka immediately, and said that they may put in an application against unlawful detention. Luka now has a working phone and a working pager (number 183) which can be accessed via the switchboard (01304 246400). For address of Dover Removal Centre, visiting hours and things you can do 

Address: Dover Removal Centre, The Citadel, Western Heights, Dover CT17 9DR
Tel: 01304 246400, Fax: 01304 246401. 

Visiting Luka  
Only 3 people maximum at any one time can visit. Bring ID plus 2 proofs of address. National Express runs a good coach service from Victoria Coach Station to Dover. Once in Dover it's a long walk up hill from the Western Docks and no buses go really near. Taxis cost £4.70

Dover Removal Centre Visiting Hours:
Mon – Fri: 8.40 – 11.25 and 1.40 – 4.25
Sat / Sun: 8.40 – 10.55 and 2 – 4.25
Evening visits: Mon & Wed, 6.30 – 7.55  

Things you can do:
Write to: Phil Woolas, MP, Minister of State (Borders & Immigration), Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF ­OR Phil Woolas MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Then send a copy of the letter to your MP. To find your MP, click: www.writetothem.com/ or www.locata.co.uk/commons and type in your post code.  You can write to your MP c/o House of Commons. 

Letters are far more effective that emails but for speed you may want to email as well. For Phil Woolas use: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it + Fax: 020 7035 4745. Your MP's emails & fax numbers should be available via: www.parliament.uk   There are also contact details for the Home Office Press Office on this link:  http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/.     

 

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