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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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23 Injured, 7 arrested, 4 Abducted as SADC Leaders meet PDF Print E-mail

Harare demonstration broken up as SADC leaders meet – 27th October 2008

Below is a report from our partner organisation, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), who held a demostration in Harare today as the SADC leaders met.

23 Injured, 7 arrested, 4 Abducted after a ROHR Demonstration

23 men and women have been hospitalised and seven arrested after ROHR Zimbabwe demonstrated in Harare today. Four people are missing after having been reportedly abducted by Zanu PF operatives. The four are Moses Mutasa from Hatfield, Tinei Tinarwo from Glen Norah, Mr Ncube from Dzivarasekwa and Adam Muchiriri from Hatfield.

More than 200 ROHR activists participated in demonstrations that brought business to a standstill in Harare today between 1100hrs and 1200hrs. The protesters peacefully marched in the streets heading towards the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), the venue for this week’s SADC meeting that has been attended by SADC Heads of State. The SADC meeting marks yet another attempt by the regional body to push for the long awaited consensus on the current power sharing talks.

The peaceful protest was violently crashed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, a few streets away from the venue, along Robert Mugabe road corner Kaguvi Street. Police in full riot gear fired teargas at the public causing stampedes and confusion in the crowded city. By 1200hrs 7 people had been arrested.

Around 1200hrs our members reported that 1 person was abducted by suspected Zanu PF operatives along Robert Mugabe Road who used an unmarked Zanu PF Nissan double cab truck. The other three people were abducted by youths in a Nissan single cab truck believed to be owned by Elliot Manyika, the Zanu PF political commissar. Eliot Manyika, who was driving the car, instructed the youths to beat up people.

On 10 October 2008 ROHR Zimbabwe launched the Demand for Democracy and Justice Campaign with a landmark protest in Harare. The main thrust of the campaign is to push for early free and fair elections to be held in a peaceful environment in Zimbabwe under United Nations supervision.

 
Vigil Diary 25-10-08 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 25 October 2008 00:00

There was little expectation at the Vigil that the visit to Harare by the SADC troika would produce any relief for the desperate people of Zimbabwe. None of us could recall Angola and Swaziland, or even Mozambique, standing up for human rights in Zimbabwe – let alone face to face with Mugabe. But there was a feeling that at least it might expose the SADC troika to the realities of life in Zimbabwe – that is, if their delegations left their five star hotels for long enough to notice the collapse of the country . . . the queues at the banks, the barren shops, the streams of stinking sewage in the high-density suburbs, the erratic electricity and water supplies, the run-down hospitals, the empty schools, the starving people . . .

We are gloomy that the Vigil demands for free and fair elections and an end to human rights abuses will be met any time soon unless South Africa under its new leadership takes a firmer line with Mugabe.

The Vigil has now sent our petition to the European Union urging it to freeze government to government aid to SADC countries unless SADC upholds its obligations to the people of Zimbabwe rather than supports Mugabe and his fat cats. A copy of our representations has been sent to the SADC Secretariat suggesting that Zimbabwe be suspended from membership of SADC and that the Mugabe regime should be denied visas for SADC countries and have their assets frozen. A copy has also been sent to the AU Chairman, President Kikwete of Tanzania, and it is to him that the Vigil is now looking to apply greater pressure.

On a happier note, the Vigil celebrated with a cake the birthday of Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil management team, who joins us every week come rain or shine.

During the week, six Vigil members (Jenatry Muranganwa, Dumi Tutani, Anges Zengeya, Moses Kandiyawo, Kelvin Kamipura and Gugu Ndlovu-Tutani) participated in a Black History event at City and Islington College in London. Over the years we have forged a close relationship with the College who invite us back for our singing and dancing each year. Some good links were formed with staff, students and local groups.

As we mentioned last week, the Vigil was approached by Caribbean Labour Solidarity who wanted a Zimbabwean speaker. We are pleased that one of regular supporters, Simon Mambongo, will be representing us and he would welcome support. See ‘for your diary’ for details of the meeting. We notice that many people who used to support Mugabe as a liberator are reappraising their position. There are more and more articles critical of Mugabe in newspapers in the formerly supportive Afro-Caribbean world.

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

FOR THE RECORD: 136 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY:
* Central London Zimbabwe Forum.
Monday, 27th October, at 7.30 pm. Postponed from last week, Trudy Stevenson, Secretary for Policy and Research of Mutambara MDC, will update the forum about the elections, the appointment of the Speaker and the power sharing talks. Venue: The Fabian Society, 11 Dartmouth St, London SW1H 9BN (020 7227 4900). Nearest station: St. James’ Park.
* ROHR meeeting in Manchester. Saturday, 1st November 2008, 12.00 – 4.00 pm. Venue: Afewe Pub, Royce Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 5TR. For information call Moses Nyagotsi on 07778 547 971 or Paradzai Mapfumo 07932 216 070 or 07533 831 617.
* ROHR meeeting in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Sunday, 2nd November 2008, 12.00 – 4.00 pm. Venue: Chervron Community Centre, Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE4 2HQ. For information call T Musariri on 07765 055 095, T Mauwa 07832 354 304 or P Mapfumo 07533 831 617 or 07932 216 070.
8 Caribbean Labour Solidarity meeting. Sunday, 2nd November at 12 noon. The speaker is Simon Mambongo of the Vigil who will talk about developing conditions in Zimbabwe. Venue: HCD, 62 Beechwood Road, Hackney London E8 (off Dalston Lane E8) Station; Dalston Kingsland, Buses: 28, 30, 38, 242, 277, 149, 243.
* Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 8th November 2008, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.
* 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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