Archbishop of York says ‘Restore Zimbabwe ' PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 11 July 2008 20:21

Archbishop of York says ‘Restore Zimbabwe ' – Friday 11 th 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: “If you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2: 19-24). 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': Walter Semwayo, Arnold Kuwewa, Geraldine Takundwa, Choice Matambanadzo, Jeff Sango and others.

The Archbishop said he hoped the international community would wake up to what was happening in Zimbabwe and he assured the congregation “No tyrant lives forever”. Dr Sentamu threw his support behind the campaign ‘Strangers into Citizens' and said that Zimbabweans in the UK should be allowed to work even if they are not given refugee status because the government accepted they could not be sent home under present conditions. He insisted it was not the thin edge of the wedge but “the right thing for the right people at the right time”.

The church was full to capacity for the service and the congregation afterwards gathered in Parliament Square where they heard Kate Hoey, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Zimbabwe, say she hoped they would soon be back in St. Margaret's to celebrate change in Zimbabwe. About a thousand Zimbabweans and supporters then formed a procession to deliver a petition to the British Government calling for the right to work.

Zimbabweans say move World Cup from South Africa PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 08 July 2008 20:22
The Zimbabwe Vigil, a London-based protest group, has launched a campaign to have the 2010 Football World Cup moved from South Africa because of growing instability in the region. It says FIFA must take action to ensure the safety of teams and their supporters.

The Vigil has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday since 2002 in protest at human rights abuses by the Mugabe regime. It is gathering signatures for a petition to FIFA from the thousands of people passing the Embassy. It says the situation in South Africa will be so bad because of the implosion of Zimbabwe that the World Cup should be moved.

The Vigil is also running a petition calling on European Union governments to suspend aid to governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) because they have failed to hold Zimbabwe to account. It wants this money to be used instead to finance refugee camps in countries neighbouring Zimbabwe to provide a refuge for Zimbabweans forced to flee because of hunger, violence and the need for medical attention safe from xenophobic violence.

Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani said ‘we find it repugnant, for instance, that British taxpayers' money should go to the Malawi government. More than £60 million a year goes to Malawi whose President, Bingu Wa Mutharika, has been given a farm in Zimbabwe and has named a highway after President Mugabe'.

Text of the Petitions

• “ A Petition to the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA)

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 President Mbeki'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. FIFA must ensure that World Cup teams and their supporters are not endangered.”

• “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 star ving in Zimbabwe .”

For further information, contact: Rose Benton (07970 996 003, 07932 193 467), Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775) and Ephraim Tapa (07940 793 090).

Mourning the Death of Democracy PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 27 June 2008 19:47

Zimbabweans in the UK marked Election Run-off day with anger and anguish. Some 150 people gathered outside the Zimbabwe Embassy to protest against the death of democracy in Zimbabwe . The centrepiece of the demonstration was a black-draped coffin which was presented to the nearby South African High Commission, containing a petition calling on President Mbeki to stop supporting former President 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” with the encouragement of the well-known South African documentary maker Paul Yule.

[flickr photo=2617298715 size=medium align=centre vspace=10 hspace=10]

We had a wonderful encounter with Nelson Mandela today PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 26 June 2008 20:29
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 on Wednesday night. 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. A surprised Mr Mandela said OK.

The Vigil had planned to picket the concert for Mr Mandela's 90 th 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.

The Vigil choir sang at the annual service in support of Zimbabwean victims of torture at St Paul 's Church, Covent Garden , organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. It was very moving to hear the accounts of the suffering of people at home. Flowers were laid at the Embassy after the Service.

We look forward to seeing you all on Friday for the mother of all non-elections. We will be joined by members of the MDC UK and expect a large turnout. The highlight of the day will be our protest from 1 – 2 pm outside the South African High Commission. Mugabe and Grace (or people looking like them) will be accompanying a coffin with our petition asking President Mbeki to stop supporting Mugabe. The South African High Commission have agreed to accept the petition which reads: “A petition to President Mbeki of South Africa . Exiled Zimbabweans and supporters urge you to stop supporting Mugabe and allow a peaceful transfer of power from the military regime to the Zimbabwean people. Our blood is at your door.”

Our friends in Belfast also have an event tomorrow. The Bristol Vigil will hold an anti-election demo tomorrow to express their disgust.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:31

Several Vigil supporters were among about a dozen demonstrators who gathered at Hyde Park on Wednesday evening 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.

The protest was organised by the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who is organising another demonstration tomorrow (Thursday) outside the London hotel in which Mandela is staying.

Message below from Peter about tomorrow's protest.

Mandela protest on Thursday 26 June at 10am


Call on Nelson Mandela to speak out against Mugabe's terror in Zimbabwe . If he spoke out it would have a huge impact in Zimbabwe and on African leaders. Nelson Mandela is in London all this week. He is staying at the Dorchester Hotel.


10am Thursday morning 26 June The Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane , London W1. We will meet on the pavement outside the hotel at 10am sharp.

The Dorchester Hotel is in Park Lane between South Street and Deanery Street, just north of the Hilton Hotel (nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner). See this map: http:// www .google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=Dorchester+Hotel+London&btnG=Search&meta=

Some placards will be organised by me, but people can also make and bring their own placards on the theme of: "Mandela, Speak out" and "Mandela – Help save Zimbabwe " Note: Placard slogans should be written in large, thick dark coloured letters on a light or white background (these photograph best).


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