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Vigil Diary – 22nd November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 23 November 2008 21:40

The prospect of yet more talks under the partisan chairmanship of the late Mbeki failed to warm even the most optimistic of us at a wintry Vigil. We phoned our friends at the Glasgow Vigil to see how they were faring closer to the Arctic Circle.  We were cheered to hear they were even colder than us! 

 

ROHR activists in Liverpool are continuing their Saturday protests.  Isaac Ndoro (Interim Chair ROHR Liverpool Branch) reports that they were out in the biting cold handing out leaflets and displaying placards telling the miserable story of Zimbabwe and collecting signatures for petitions.  He says many of their activists have problems getting to the protests because they cannot afford the bus fare – rather like the problem back home!  ROHR activists in Liverpool would like to thank the community of Liverpool for the immense support they have shown since these demonstrations started.  

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17th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 17 November 2008 23:09

17th November 2008
We were pleased to receive the following report, submitted by George Murevesi and Patience Tsungu, from our friends in Glasgow on their last Vigil on 8th November 2008. 

Glasgow Vigil Diary – 8th November 2008
On the eve of another important regional gathering to thrash out a deal to break the current impasse we gathered, once again, on Argyle Street Precinct in Glasgow, Scotland, to vent our displeasure at the continued human rights crisis engulfing our beloved land. 

 

In the midst of the hustle and bustle characteristic of early Christmas shopping, we were humbled by the concern of the Glasgow residents who took time to sign our petitions and make donations despite the biting credit crunch. 

 

We were also touched on this Remembrance Day by the poppies which were donated, in solidarity with us, by the army cadets. 

 

The Vigil activists did not disappoint either, as they boosted morale through song, dance and drumming, charging up the atmosphere which, without their commitment, could otherwise have been ruined by the ruthless cold currently stalking Glasgow. We were, however, lucky that the heavens spared us the rain, which normally affects public interest. 

 

We are happy at the recognition and support we are receiving from other civic groups here, particulary the labour movement, and we will be linking up with some of them in future projects. 

 

For the record, approximately 20 people attended. 

 

For your diary:
Next Zimvigil Glasgow meeting is on 22 November 2008, 2pm till 6pm.
*
ROHR is in Glasgow on 22 November at Langside Hall (reception room) 1 Langside Avenue, Glasgow G41 2QR for a follow up to Mr Tapa’s visit and quest to set up structures here. 
*
Scottish Union Trades Union Congress (STUC) is holding its annual anti-racist march on 29November 2008. March assembles at 1030 am at St Andrews in the Square off  Saltmarket, Glasgow,  and march off at 1100hrs and wind off with at 1200hrs at Glasgow Film Theatre on Ross Street in Glagow
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Vigil Diary - 15th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 November 2008 18:35

Bitter disappointment at the failure of SADC to help Zimbabweans and, at the same time, relief at the refusal by the MDC to cave in to Mugabe’s unreasonable demands: these were the main reactions at a large and boisterous Vigil.

 

The Vigil hopes that SADC countries will provide aid to Zimbabwe to replace the Western assistance that was promised if SADC’s power-sharing agreement had been honoured by Mugabe . . . but we doubt it.  They seem prepared to see us die – an African solution for an African problem. 

 

The Vigil decided to revive our petition aimed at spelling out the consequences of inaction to the SADC region.  The petition reads “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 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 starving in Zimbabwe.” 

 

We have sent a first tranche of signatures to the EU and will continue to press it until it takes action. Our other petition, now gathering thousands of signatures also seeks to put pressure on the region to face up to their responsibilities. It reads: “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 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.” 

 

The Vigil has always felt that only our neighbours can help Zimbabwe and we want to put pressure on them to do this.  We find it dispiriting that our African brothers seem to blame the situation in Zimbabwe on the victims.

 

A few snapshots:

* A passer-by brought a Zimbabwean 100,000,000,000 dollar special Agro-cheque. We would like a steady supply of these useless notes to sell as a joke to passers-by.  
*
Thanks to Lovemore Mukeyani and Jenatry Muranganwa for leading the exuberant singing and dancing. The Vigil was also happy to be joined by Batman in his full costume! 
 After the Vigil, the Management Team met to discuss the way forward. Apart from deciding to coontinue the petition to the EU, it was agreed to have carol singing at the Vigil just before Christmas – 20th December.
*
Vigil supporters were heartened to hear that a group of 3 elder statesmen (former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel) are visiting Zimbabwe at the weekend. We know that they will:

1. Stay at the Rainbow Towers
2. Dine at Meikles
3. Swan around Borrowdale Brook
Well, the Vigil wants them to see:
1. The rivers of sewage in Chitungwiza 

2. The dying cholera victims at the run-down Parirenyatwa Hospital 
3. The scavengers rooting for food in the rubbish in Mbare 

 

Once again, grateful thanks for David McAllister for his hard work on our website. We think he has done an imaginative and intelligent job.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check the Flickr link in the right hand column.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 157 signed the register. 

 

FOR YOUR DIARY: 

Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 17th November at 7.30 pm. Innocent Chofamba, the former editor of the Mirror, and Mqondobazi Magonya, the former treasurer general of Imbovane, will discuss ‘what next’ for Zimbabwe after the failure of the recent SADC meeting.  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. 

Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 22nd November 2008, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137. This will be followed by the ROHR launch in Scotland. Saturday, 22nd November 2008, 6 – 9 pm. Venue: Langside Hall (reception room) 1 Langside Avenue, Glasgow G41 2QR. Very close to Glasgow City Centre. (Buses 23; 38,38A,B,C; 45; 47; 5734; 90). Contact P Dzimba on 07990724137, C Samas 07799156802 or P Mapfumo on 07932216070 or 07533831617. 

 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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Vigil Diary 08-11-08 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 09 November 2008 22:33
On the eve of the SADC summit in Johannesburg, people at the Vigil were encouraged by the strong line on Zimbabwe voiced by ANC President Jacob Zuma, who said regional leaders should not leave South Africa without resolving the matter.

In contrast to Mbeki’s dishonest ‘quiet diplomacy’, the new South African government has acknowledged that there is indeed a crisis in Zimbabwe and one which requires noisy strong-arm tactics to break the deadlock.

The Vigil’s view is that Mugabe’s illegitimate regime – whatever it may say – has no intention at all of sharing real power and that SADC must insist on new, internationally-monitored elections, as proposed by Botswana.

As Zimbabweans we urge SADC to:
1. Refuse to recognise the Mugabe regime
2. Suspend visas for the Mugabe cronies and freeze their bank accounts
3. Support tougher action against the Mugabe regime by the UN Security Council
4. Support Botswana in the event of a military attack by Zimbabwe
5. Seek donor funds to set up refugee camps in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique for Zimbabwean asylum seekers

Some snapshots:
* Another lively turnout despite dismal weather. We were glad to have with us the well-known Zimbabwean soul singer Ivy Kombo who gave an extra dimension to our music
* We had a wonderful view of the Lord Mayor’s procession, which included the Horse Guards and magnificent carriages (see pictures)
* Among visitors was an adviser to President-elect Barack Obama who said he agreed with our banner ‘Arrest Mugabe for Torture’. He said he had met both Mugabe and Samora Machel
* Vigil supporter, Fungayi Mabhunu, met Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, at a concert by Chiwoniso Mararire who dedicated one of her songs to the suffering WOZA women. Rita said it was sad to see what was happening in Zimbabwe – she vivdly remembered how beautiful and prosperous Zimbabwe was when she visited with her late husband.
* Thanks to Bazil Bhanabhai, a South African who stopped by with lots of superb cakes from his wife’s catering firm (Aishas Catering). It was more than our 115 or so supporters could handle so at the end we handed over what was left to the local homeless people who were very grateful
* We said farewell to David McAllister who is going overseas to work for a few months. He has done some excellent work on the Zimvigil website which we hope will go live this week
* Ed Spring from Caribbean Labour Solidarity (CLS) visited us – members of the Vigil spoke at a CLS meeting last week and Ed is planning to invite a Zimbabwean speaker to a future meeting to follow up on what was said

For latest Vigil pictures see the link in the updates column

FOR THE RECORD: around 115 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:
* Central London Zimbabwe Forum.
Monday, 10th November at 7.30 pm. The speaker will be John Nyamande, MDC MP for Makoni Central. 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.
* ROHR meeting in West Yorkshire. Saturday, 15th November, 13.30 – 17.00 pm. Venue: Celandine Close, Carlton Glen, Pontefract, Wakefield WF8 2SL. For more information contact Donnah Mugoni 07748828913, E Mkwaira 07780808101, B Sikosana 07940181761 or P Mapfumo 07533831617 / 07932216070.
* Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 22nd November 2008, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137. This will be followed by the ROHR launch in Scotland. Saturday, 22nd November 2008, 6 – 9 pm. Venue: Langside Hall (reception room). Very close to Glasgow City Centre. (Buses 23; 38,38A,B,C; 45; 47; 5734; 90). Contact P Dzimba on 07990724137, C Samas 07799156802 or P Mapfumo on 07932216070 or 07533831617. 
* 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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Vigil Diary 01-11-08 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 01 November 2008 00:00
A soaking Vigil saw us crowded under the tarpaulin all afternoon, singing and dancing to keep warm. Despite the rain, people still stopped to sign our petitions, though with the end of British Summer Time, it was dark well before the Vigil ended.

Vigil supporters were shocked by the murder of Osborne Kachuru of our partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). He was beaten to death at ZANU PF's offices in Fourth Street, Harare, after a peaceful demonstration during the SADC talks on Monday. We are told that the Zanu PF political commissar Eliot Manyika was responsible and the Vigil swears to leave no stone unturned to make sure he eventually faces justice.

As we feared (see last diary) the SADC meeting yielded nothing. The deceitful SADC communiqué falsely claimed that the only point of dispute in the power-sharing talks was who would hold the Home Affairs Ministry. It is clear that the Troika was only interested in bullying the MDC and keeping Mugabe in power.

The Vigil has little confidence that a SADC Summit will take a different view even though Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania are likely to be less cowed by Mugabe. It was thought the one ray of light from the Harare meeting was that the new South African leadership seems to be aware of the desperate situation in Zimbabwe. We look to them to force Mugabe to honour the power-sharing agreement and, if he doesn’t, support the call by Botswana for new elections.

We were sad to hear of the death of Vigil supporter Tapiwa Machemwa in a hospital in Wolverhampton. She was only 29 and left a 4-year-old child. We observed a minute’s silence followed by a prayer from Rugare Chifungo. We also took a collection for funeral expenses.

Happier news came from Caroline Witts who comes to the Vigil all the way from Devon and sells for Vigil funds eco-friendly hessian bags advertising the Vigil. She sent two of these to the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who has show great concern for Zimbabwe. She received a letter from him saying “The people of Zimbabwe continue to be in my prayers, and I thank you too for all your work and concern.”

The Vigil message continues to spread. A Canadian group has contacted us with a view to working together and our attention was also drawn to a picture of the Vigil in a Guatemalan newspaper. While we are thinking of South America, a group of Venezuelans stopped by. They said they knew what was happening in Zimbabwe – and complained that their President was “just the same”!

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the new ROHR website (www.rohrzimbabwe.org) is now live thanks to the hard work of David McAllister who is also working to refresh the Vigil website.

For latest Vigil pictures see the link in the updates column.

FOR THE RECORD: 103 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:
* Central London Zimbabwe Forum.
Monday, 3rd November at 7.30 pm. Tahera Patel, solicitor at Copperstone Solicitors, will talk about asylum issues. 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.
* Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 8th November 2008, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.
* ROHR meeting in Coventry. Saturday, 8th November 2008, 13.30 – 17.30 pm. Venue: Jassy Mood, 18 Gosford Street, Coventry, CV1 5DL. For more information contact Nashe 07788 560 068, Sam 07861 206 785, Christine 07958 560 094 or P Mapfumo on 07932 216 070 or 07533 831 617.
* ROHR meeting in West Yorkshire. Saturday, 15th November 2008, 13.30 – 17.00 pm. Venue: Celandine Close, Carlton Glen, Ponterfract, Wakefield WF8 2SL. For more information contact Donnah Mugoni 07748828913, E Mkwaira 07780808101, B Sikosana 07940181761 or P Mapfumo 07533831617 / 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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