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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 7th March 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 March 2009 18:25

 

Some wearing black bandanas or armbands, Vigil supporters mourned the death of Susan Tsvangirai in Friday’s road crash. Carrying placards saying “The Vigil mourns with Tsvangirai” and “More death in Zimbabwe”, we expressed our shock at the death of a much admired lady.   

We were at a loss to understand how this could be an accident. There was an electric feeling of outrage, suspicion and anger.  We pray that it was not another assassination attempt on the MDC leader. 

The feelings were summed up by two big banners brought to the Vigil: “Sleeping with the enemy one was bound to be bludgeoned to death in one’s sleep. Mugabe is a murderer” and “The plot thickens in Zimbabwe. An attempt on Tsvangirai’s life and he loses his wife in a highly suspicious road accident”. 

An extra big crowd attended the Vigil.  People spoke of their need to be with other Zimbabweans at this time to share their grief and try to understand what is happening at home.  What is sure is that few people have any confidence in Mugabe’s willingness or ability to make power-sharing work.   

While the Vigil calls for increased humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe, we insist that there must be evidence of real commitment to the rule of law from Zanu-PF before development aid is handed over. 

Some points:
·        Thanks to Sister Beverly Mutandiro for leading the prayers for the Tsvangirais.
·        Vigil management team member Luka Phiri, who recently faced the prospect of deportation, was invited to address a one-day conference in London organised by the National Union of Journalists and spoke about the problems of asylum seekers.
·        Welcome to two new Vigil babies: Paradzai Mapfumo’s son, Leon Michael, who was born in the early hours of Saturday morning, and Enock Dzonga’s daughter.

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

FOR THE RECORD: 368 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 9th March at 7.30 pm. Venue: 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.
·        ZIMBABWE: WILL UNITY PREVAIL? with Lucia Matibenga MP. Chaired by Kate Hoey MP. Wednesday 11th March from 6.45 – 8 pm.  UNFORTUNATELY THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
·        ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 14th March, 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.
·        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 – 28th February 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 March 2009 15:50

People at the Vigil felt betrayed by the hypocrisy of SADC and the African Union. Under pressure from them, the MDC agreed to give the unity government a chance. But the two useless organizations have failed to make Mugabe keep his promises and, when Tsvangirai and Biti asked for financial help at the SADC meeting in Cape Town, suddenly all you could see were ostriches: heads in the dirt and bums in your face.  

We were outraged that the African Development Bank had the nerve to demand the repayment of half a billion US dollars in Mugabe debts before further help would be considered. The IMF has always been accused of imposing ‘illegal sanctions’ for the same thing.   

So now we know where we are. The AU and SADC are imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. But they have generously agreed to ask the European Union and the United States to give more money to Zimbabwe – although these donors are already providing most of the humanitarian aid.   

The Vigil believes there is a solution – along the lines of one of our petitions: money for Zimbabwe should be taken out of international monetary support for the SADC countries.  

It was another large Vigil and many people stopped to sign our petitions and look at the poster demanding the release of political prisoners.   

Some points:
·        It was good to meet Steve Garvey, a teacher at the Dolphin School in Battersea.  His class of 8/9 year-olds has become very interested in Zimbabwe and is planning a project and fundraiser. Steve was keen to have a Zimbabwean speak to his class. Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu has agreed to go. 
·        The Vigil was pleased to have Sister Beverly Mutandiro leading prayers again – apologies for getting her name wrong last week.
·        First-timer at last week’s mock birthday party for Mugabe at the Vigil was Mzamo Ngwenya. She sent us the following email “I was one of your new faces last week. It was so amazing. For the first time in six years I felt very happy and proud to be a Zimbabwean. The welcome was so warm and to meet people with the same passion as me was just an amazing experience. Thank you so much. Keep it up. God bless.”
·        Also at the birthday bash was freelance journalist Sheena Rossiter with a camera team.  They made a video of the event. Check: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8i4p0_fake-mugabes-85th-birthday_news.
·        We have been asked by Guardian Films (part the Guardian newspaper group) to publicise their film exposing the horrors of the cholera epidemic claiming thousands of livesMugabe splashes out on birthday bash as cholera spirals out of control”. Check: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/26/zimbabwe-cholera-mugabe.

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

FOR THE RECORD: 278 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 3rd March at 7.30 pm. Venue: 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 Woking launch meeting. Saturday 7th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm Venue: Station Pub, 12 Chertsey Road, Woking GU21 5AB. Contact Thandi Mabodoko 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353.07588745353.
·         ZIMBABWE: WILL UNITY PREVAIL? with Lucia Matibenga MP. Chaired by Kate Hoey MP. Wednesday 11th March from 6.45 – 8 pm. Venue: Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, London, SW1A 2LW. For map, check: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/faxmap.pdf 
·        ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 14th March, 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.
·        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 21/02/2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 February 2009 18:11

Well we had a brilliant party even if Mugabe didn’t.  A big crowd turned out for our mock 85th birthday celebrations for Mugabe – though his main bash has been delayed until 28th February. The word is that his goons have had difficulty extorting the money required.   

The Vigil worked on the basis of a report in the London Times saying that Mugabe’s party organisers had ordered 8,000 lobsters and 4,000 portions of caviar to be washed down by 2,000 bottles of champagne and 500 bottles of whisky. We had Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Mugabe mask and waving a Methuselah of champagne (6 litres for the information of those who don’t move in lavish Zanu-PF circles). He stood in the doorway of the Embassy with his consort Grumpy Grace (brilliantly played by Emily Gurupira), dripping with diamonds and perched on designer shoes as she scowled at the TV cameramen covering the Vigil. Afterwards she headed off to Harrods to do some shopping armed with a fat cheque from the UN.  Supporters held up posters saying ‘Mugabe spends US$200,000 dollars while his people starve’ and ‘Zimbabwean life expectancy: men 37, women 34, Mugabe 85+’.   

Thanks to Mai Mutandira who led prayers and to the usual stalwarts: Arnold Kuwewa, Chipo Chaya, Sue and Francesca Toft for their efficient management of the Vigil.  Thanks also to those who led the music: Moses Kandiwayo and Jerry Mtotela (drums) and Patson Muzuwa, Jenatry Muranganwa and Dumi Tutani (singing and dancing).  Others who helped with the media event were Agnes Zengeya, Lovemore Mukyani, Batson Chapata, Kimpton Samkange, Reginald Gwasira, Eunita Masolo, Yvonne Masendu, Esther Magenya, Pattie Williams (for the Mugabe presents of cholera, starvation and corruption) and Dennes Sibanda (security).  Apologies if we have left people out but we are grateful for everyone’s help at a demonstration which drew lots of attention. 

Today saw the launch of another Zimbabwe Vigil in the UK – this time in Newcastle.  We wish them success and will give every support. 

The Vigil welcomed news that the UK government has offered a lifeline to elderly British nationals in Zimbabwe.  Many of these people have seen their Zimbabwean pensions disappear through inflation. One thing we can reassure them about is that they will be in good hands as many carers employed to look after elderly people in the UK are Zimbabweans also driven out of their country by Mugabe.  

A couple more points:
·        A vigil management member was asked about the way forward for Zimbabwe and suggested support for ROHR.  The dumbfounded person had difficulty hearing in the midst of the exuberant gathering and said ‘War? – not war!’
·        Everyone who signed the register were angry that they have not been included in the bloated new government. ‘This is discrimination. If they don’t give us cars and allowances we will stop coming to the Vigil. Then where would they be?’   

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

FOR THE RECORD: around 360 signed the register but many more attended and even though we kept two registers going not everyone was able to sign. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 23rd February at 7.30 pm. Abel Chikomo, Director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, fesh from Zimbabwe will report on recent developments including the continued abuse of detainees' human rights. NB different venue: Development House, 56-64 Leonard St, London EC2A 4LP. Nearest tube station Old Street. From Exit 4 head down City Road and take the first left into Leonard Street. ·       
Worldwide Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe. Ash Wednesday (25th February) at Southwark Cathedral, SE1 9DA. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have designated Ash Wednesday as a Worldwide Day of Prayer for the people of Zimbabwe. At the services during the day special prayers will be offered each hour on the half hour. The Bishop of Southwark will preside and preach at the 5.30pm Choral Eucharist in special recognition of the links between the Diocese of Southwark and four of the dioceses in Zimbabwe. For more information check: http://www.southwark.anglican.org/cathedral/lent/shrove.htm#prayerday. Contact: Steve Harris, Diocesan Communications Officer, Tel: 020 7939 9437, 07949 679401. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 28th 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 Birmingham Chapter general meeting. Saturday 28th February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: 28 Handsworth New Road B18 4PT. The meeting will be attended by  a well known lawyer.Contact: Emnah Zibgowa 07846005120, Des Parayiwa 07815565335, Rebecca Mlambo 07817585742 or Tsitsi Mavhura 07932477842
*     
ROHR Chelmsford launch meeting.  Saturday 28th February from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Springfield Parish Centre, St Augustine’s Way, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM1. Contact: Billy R Machekano 07908332724/07765459538, Robert Mafigo 07944815190, Tendai Gwanzura 07961702832 or Faith Benesi 07958650670.
*      ROHR
Woking launch meeting. Saturday 7th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm Venue: Station Pub, 12 Chertsey Road, Woking GU21 5AB. Contact Thandi Mabodoko 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353.
·        ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
·        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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Mugabe’s Birthday Binge PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 17 February 2009 23:59

PRESS NOTICE – 18th February 2009 

Zimbabwean exiles in the UK are to mark Mugabe’s 85th birthday on Saturday 21st February by gathering outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London to mirror the birthday party being arranged for him while our country starves. 

Zimbabwean human rights activist Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing a Mugabe mask, will play the role of the octogenarian tyrant as he tucks into a banquet of 8,000 lobsters and 4,000 portions of caviar washed down by 2,000 bottles of champagne (’61 Bollinger preferred) and 500 bottles of whisky.  

The demonstration is organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been protesting outside the Embassy every Saturday for more than 6 years in support of free and fair elections.  

Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton said ‘We are appalled at the extravagance at a time when most of our people are relying on international food aid to survive. What signal does this give to the outside world to whom we look for help?’   

Event: Mugabe’s birthday celebrations.
Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2.Date: Saturday, 21st February 2009
Programme:
2 – 6 pm Zimbabwean protest including singing, drumming, dancing.
4 pm – Tableau of Mugabe and his consort (Amazing) Grace tucking into champagne, lobsters and caviar while thousands of Zimbabweans die of starvation and cholera. 

Health and Safety Notice: cameramen watch out for Grace and her diamond knuckledusters. 

Contact: Rose Benton (07970 996 003, 07932 193 467) and Fungayi Mabhunu (07743 662 046) 

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary 14th February 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 February 2009 15:32

‘Free Roy Bennett’ (and other political prisoners) was the theme of the Vigil.  Roy was one of the people who inspired the launch of the Vigil back in 2002 and visited us when he was last released from prison.  We clothed him and Heather in our Vigil t-shirts. ‘If they can arrest Bennett, they can arrest any of us if we return’ said Patson Muzuwa of the Vigil management team.  To take action for Roy Bennett please check the Sokwanele website: http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/ 

Anyone who has been following this weekly diary will have seen that we have never believed that the Zanu-PF thugs would allow power-sharing. We are reliably told that they will stop at nothing to destroy the MDC. 

The deal foisted on us by SADC is clearly not working and we demand that they take steps to make the Mugabe regime comply with the agreement. As a first step we call upon our neighbours to open their borders to Zimbabwean refugees. The Vigil is reviving our petition calling on the EU to fund refugee camps in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia where our desperate people can get food, shelter, medical attention and education no longer available in Zimbabwe. 

A few other points:
·        We were joined by a Vicar from the Guildford diocese. It’s the second time he’s come and he says he wants to get more closely involved.
·        Last week we reported attendance at 215 but we missed those on a second register that was started because of the large numbers. The actual attendance was 247.
·        Magnificent drumming from Jerry Mtotela and Moses Kandiyawo inspired fabulous singing led by Dumi Tutani and Jenatry Muranganwa, ending with the cry ‘Free Roy Free’. 

For latest Vigil pictures check our pictures page. 

 

FOR THE RECORD: 265 signed the register. 

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 16th February 2009 at 7.30 pm. The forum will discuss the Government of National Unity. Venue: 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.
Mugabe’s Birthday Bash at the Vigil – 21st February, 2 – 6 pm.  
Newcastle Vigil launch. Saturday, 21st 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, 21st February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Shelton Children's Centre, Room 3, Crowther Street, Shelton, Stoke-On-Trent ST4 2ER. Contact Pauline Mutema 07850462301, Joana Zhira 07845896347, Amon Chauke 07877089105, Thadious Chigodo 07830299282.
ROHR Wakefield general meeting. Saturday, 21st February. Venue still to be decided. For more information, contact: Donnah Mugoni 07748828913, Patience 07908075149 and Beauty Sikhosana 07940181761.
Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 28th 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 Birmingham Chapter general meeting. Saturday 28th February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: 28 Handsworth New Road B18 4PT. The meeting will be attended by  a well known lawyer.Contact: Emnah Zibgowa 07846005120, Des Parayiwa 07815565335, Rebecca Mlambo 07817585742 or Tsitsi Mavhura 07932477842
* ROHR
Chelmsford launch meeting.  Saturday 28th February from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Springfield Parish Centre, St Augustine’s Way, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM1. Contact: Billy R Machekano 07908332724 / 07765459538, Robert Mafigo 07944815190, Tendai Gwanzura 07961702832 or Faith Benesi 07958650670.
* ROHR
Woking launch meeting. Saturday 7th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm Venue: Station Pub, 12 Chertsey Road, Woking GU21 5AB. Contact Thandi Mabodoko 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353.
ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070
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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