Sixth Anniversary of the Vigil PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 11 October 2008 00:00

Sixth Anniversary of the Vigil – 11 th October 2008

Friends from times past joined us in brilliant sunshine for the Vigil to launch our 7 th year outside the Embassy. Unfortunately Glenys Kinnock MEP was unable to be with us to receive our petition to the EU so we sending it to Brussels by post (see letter below).

Our partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe is foremost in our thoughts at the moment. They are trying to expand democratic space in Zimbabwe and you may have seen in the media how their struggle has been going (see our last entry). Ephraim Tapa, the ROHR President and a Vigil founder member, was with us to brief us on the organisation's bold protest in Harare on Friday. It is a new dimension for their campaign for justice and democracy. They are demanding free and fair elections within the next two years.

With the world financial crisis dominating the news, the Zimbabwe situation has inevitably slipped from the headlines. We were asked by several passers-by: “Why are you still demonstrating?” We regard it as an important part of our mission to make people aware of the situation when media attention is elsewhere.

With a large turnout singing and dancing on the Strand we certainly got noticed. Afterwards it was off to our local pub the Theodore Bullfrog for an anniversary party. Grateful thanks to Chipo Chaya and Gugu Ndlovu-Tutani for working so hard all day to provide very tasty sadza and stew for Vigil supporters. They were helped by Moses Kandiyawo and Dumi Tutani. Thanks also to Arnold Kuwewa who. in the absence of our chefs, had many extra duties. We were touched by the generosity of three ladies from the Zimbabwe Exiled Women's Association (Florence Matongo, Pauline Mutema and Ekiwa Chimedza) who unexpected provided soft drinks for the Vigil.

ROHR offices raided after demonstration PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 10 October 2008 00:00

Report from SW Radio Africa on the protest for justice and democracy in Zimbabwe by our partners, ROHR Rights group offices raided after demonstration - By Lance Gum

The offices of a human rights pressure group were raided by police on Friday, immediately after the group held a demonstration around 11am. About 200 members of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) took to the streets of Harare marking what they called a campaign for democracy and justice in Zimbabwe. The demonstration itself was without incident as the police were taken by surprise and only deployed after it had ended. According to ROHR Information Director Edgar Chikuvire, riot police patrolled the Harare city centre before some of the officers raided their Alexandra Park offices, looking for the leaders who organized the march. Chikuvire spoke to Newsreel while in hiding and says several other members of the group have also gone underground. ROHR feels the power sharing accord signed by the MDC and ZANU PF sets a very bad precedence for human rights in the country because people are being denied the chance to get a government of their own choosing. ‘Our hopes are underpinned in the need for people to embrace and feel passionately for the need to be ruled by a government that will be accountable to them simply because they chose it into power,’ ROHR said in a statement. The group also pointed out that despite the deal being signed the country’s crisis, ‘continued unabated.’ The group further argues that, ‘Zanu-PF is making frantic efforts to retain the power that it lost to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC during the March 29 election, a situation that is a direct assault on the people's power and constitutional right to choose the leader they want.’ ROHR says it’s campaign will encourage Zimbabweans to demand free and fair elections, whose outcome will reflect the people’s will. ROHR is led by the former MDC Chairman for the UK province, Ephraim Tapa. Several activists run the Zimbabwe office. Last month it sponsored a High Court application by Rodgers Chigwededza, Tinashe Gotora, Jackson Mabota, and Precious Mateyeni, demanding that the central bank scrap cash withdrawal limits. Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled the case was not urgent and had to wait in line like all the other court cases. ROHR slammed the decision saying, ‘in other words we are supposed to join another queue to stop the cash queues.’

Another report on the protest can be found on this link: http://www.zimeye.com/article0111111008.html

Stop bankrolling Mugabe’s friends. PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 07 October 2008 19:19

Zimbabweans in UK tell EU: “Stop bankrolling Mugabe’s friends.”

European Union countries have been urged to suspend government-to-government aid to members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) because of their failure to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe.

On Saturday, 11th October, Glenys Kinnock MEP will attend the Zimbabwe Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London to accept a petition signed by thousands of people who have passed by the Vigil in the Strand. Mrs Kinnock is Co-President of the African, Caribbean and Pacific / EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and has taken a close interest in the situation in Zimbabwe.

The event marks the 6th anniversary of the Vigil, which has been held outside the Embassy every Saturday since 12th October 20002 in protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. It has been described by the Observer as the largest regular demonstration in London.

Vigil Diary 27-09-2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 04 October 2008 22:05

Despite the brilliant late summer weather in London, all the talk at the Vigil was about the gloomy situation at home. We all had stories to recount of starvation and the collapse of the health and education systems. A supporter reported that his mother in Mbare says she has permanent diarrhoea. Even boiling the water doesn’t help. As for schools, it looks like 2008 is going to be wipe-out year . . . . no teachers, no exams.. Our lives are on hold.

Vigil Diary 04-10-08 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 04 October 2008 00:00

Blustery weather saw out the 6th year of our Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. But mercifully the threatened downpour held off. Many passers-by were puzzled about what is going on following the power-sharing agreement. We were unable to give them good news. But we are happy to say that Glenys Kinnock MEP will join us next week to mark our anniversary. Mrs Kinnock has taken the Zimbabwe cause to her heart and will pass on our petition to the European Union calling for action to alleviate the suffering of Zimbabweans. (See press release)

As we ended our 6th year, we were pleased to hear from Roy Bennett, Treasurer-General of MDC, with encouraging words for the Vigil. The Vigil was started at Roy’s suggestion at an MDC Central London forum in 2002. When he visited us in August 2005 he described the Vigil as “A fire in Mugabe’s bum”. His latest message: “Thanks for the tremendous work you guys have done around the Vigil. It is the most positive, united and constructive effort that has come out of the UK. Well done you Vigil guys and thanks again for all your commitment and work to free Zim. God bless.”

Click here for latest Vigil pictures.

FOR THE RECORD: 105 signed the register.

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