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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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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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