Vigil Diary - 6th December 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 07 December 2008 20:20

British opposition leader demands action on Zimbabwe


The leader of the UK Liberal Democrat Party, Nick Clegg MP, visited the Vigil and called for international action to oust Mugabe.  Addressing Vigil supporters, Mr Clegg condemned the brutality of the Mugabe regime. He said it was a stain on the conscience of the world. The UN, he said, must take any measures necessary to remove Mugabe.


Mr Clegg criticized the ‘softly softly’ approach of former President Mbeki and called on South Africa and China to stop supporting the regime.  He was referring to their opposition to any action against Mugabe by the Security Council.  


The Lib Dem leader paid tribute to the persistence of the Vigil and declared ‘you will prevail in the end’.


Many prominent people have visited the Vigil over the past 6 years but Mr Clegg was the first party leader to address supporters. He was filmed by Channel 4 and we all gathered in our local pub, the Theodore Bullfrog, after the Vigil to see the broadcast report.  It carried horrendous pictures of the cholera epidemic as well.  


Despite Mr Clegg’s hopes of a change of attitude by South Africa, the Vigil remains skeptical.  Fungayi Mabhunu, of the Vigil Management Team, attended a function at South Africa House on Friday and spoke to the High Commissioner, Ms Lindiwe Mabuza.  Despite the world attention on the Zimbabwean ‘non-crisis’, Ms Mabuza said it was an African problem and the West should not stick its nose in (presumably so they couldn’t sniff something being swept under the carpet). The Vigil expects that, if it follows her line, the forthcoming fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe by a South African delegation will conclude that everything in Zimbabwe is ok. After all South Africa has endorsed all the rigged and violent elections in Zimbabwe for the past decade. 


Our partners, the Zimbabwe Association, are to join us next week to sing Christmas Carols. The Vigil’s own carol day will be on 20th December.  There will be more details of this next week and we promise a big surprise.  


Some points:
Vigil supporter Simon Mambonga is speaking for a second time to the Caribbean Labour Solidarity Group on Sunday, 7th December.
David Dinnell, a Zimbabwean who has written a play about Zimbabwe, ‘How to Cook a Country’, came and talked about his play.  He is planning to bring the whole cast next week.
Another visitor was Margaret Milort-Holland, a Zimbabwean living (appropriately) in Holland. She thinks there should be protests at The Hague (where we want Mugabe to stand trial) and will be sending us her ideas about this. 


It was a welcome change to have bright sunshine in place of the rain we have been having. 


For latest Vigil pictures check the pictures page.  


FOR THE RECORD: 104 signed the register.


* Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 8th December at 7.30 pm. Elliot Pfebve, former MDC candidate for Bindura, and Jabulani Brian Zengeni, a lawyer, will be discussing Amendment 19 of the Constitution. Venue: The Cole Room, Fabian Society, 11 Dartmouth St, London SW1H 9BN (020 7227 4900). Nearest station: St. James’ Park.
* ROHR meeting in
Leicester. Saturday, 13th December, 12.00 – 1 7.00. Venue: Referencing and Lending Library, Bishop Street opposite the Town House in Leicester city centre. Speakers invited from ROHR in London and community groups in Leicester. Local media have been alerted. The ROHR meeting will be followed by Zimbabwe Association christmas carols at the town house.
* ROHR members’ meeting in
Huddersfield. Saturday 13th December from 13.30-17.00. Venue: 118 Walpole Road, Huddersfield, HD4 5ET. Contact: Donnah Mugoni 07533259373, Prudence Chikozhere 07533703043, Patience Karuwa 07908075149.
Wolverhampton Christmas Party. Saturday 20th December. Venue: Heath Town Community Centre, 208 Chervil Rise, Wolverhampton WV10 0HP. Contact: Colleen Maredza 07733394648, Nancy Mangwandu 07727019329, Tendai Sithole 07966381953.
Brighton Christmas Fundraising Party. Saturday 20th December. Venue: St Leonard Church Hall, 12 Glebe Villas, Hove, Brighton BN3 5SL. Admission £5 (one plate of Isithwala/Sadza and two drinks free). Contact: Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Seph Mpofu 07786164808, Phyllis Chibanguza 07535936460.
* Next
Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 20th December 2008, 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).
Vigil Diary 29th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 30 November 2008 21:16

Much anxiety at the Vigil about the cholera epidemic. Patson Muzuwa said he knew of eight people who had died.  There was certainly a feeling that the death toll was much higher than the figures given. Ephraim Tapa said he had received reports from Zimbabwe of hundreds of deaths a week. We were sorry to hear from Chipo Chaya of our Vigil management team that her cousin has the disease.  


On a cold, gloomy wet day, when the light went at 4 pm, we were cheered to find three people (Andrew Kumwenda, Anesu Monalisa Mlambo and Kudzanai Kanyimo) who had come down all the way from Liverpool. They left there by bus at 8 am and were due to get home after 11 pm. 


Six-year-old Candice visited the Vigil with her school’s teddy bear, Bill. The teddy bear stays with a different child each weekend and the child then reports to the class on his adventures.  This is probably the first time he has taken part in a human rights protest! 

Letter from the Zimbabwe Vigil to South Africa and the Elders – 26th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 26 November 2008 22:54

The dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance emerging from South Africa in the past week stabs at the heart of all those working for democracy in Zimbabwe. 

The group of three ‘Elders’ spent a couple of days in South Africa talking about Zimbabwe and say they have been shocked by what they have learnt. Where have they been for the past 10 years? Have they read nothing, heard nothing?  

Even though they were not allowed into Zimbabwe, they submitted a report to South Africa’s President Motlanthe. He says he was shocked by the report and talks about ‘quibbling over ministries’. Where has he been for the past 10 years? Has he read nothing, heard nothing? 

They say the situation is desperate – and so it is – but it is not helped by this dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance. They say the Zimbabwean party leaders must put aside their differences and join in a power-sharing government to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe – as if another short-sighted and deceitful agreement like the one signed in September will do anything to improve the situation.   

Contrary to the perception emerging from the talks in South Africa, the crisis in Zimbabwe is caused by Mugabe alone and is not the result of the failure to set up a power-sharing government and may well be worsened by it.  If Zimbabweans see that their democratic will is again thwarted they may well be reduced to violence. 

There is no way through for Zimbabwe until there is real power-sharing and to treat Tsvangirai as a junior partner when he won the general election last March will do nothing to help Zimbabweans. If he joins the government as a puppet nothing will change. Is this what the Elders want? South Africa clearly does, as is evidenced by the insulting letter reportedly sent to Tsvangirai by the mediator Mbeki in which he apparently complained of his links with the West. Where does Mbeki think aid and investment will come from to revive Zimbabwe? China, North Korea, Burma, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba? The $30million offered by South Africa will not go far given the mendacity and greed of the Mugabe regime. 

If there is to be any real pressure for change in Zimbabwe it must be applied on the Mugabe regime.  The Botswana government sees this clearly (watch BBC Hardtalk with Phandu Skelemani, Foreign Minister of Botswana - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00fw6yw/HARDtalk_Phandu_Skelemani_Foreign_Minister_of_Botswana/). The Southern African region must take its advice and isolate the regime.

 For our part the Vigil wants to see:
1.        No recognition of Mugabe’s illegitimate regime
2.        Neighbouring countries to refuse visas to members of the regime
3.        A freeze on the assets of members of the regime
4.        Tighter UN sanctions on the regime
5.        The establishment of refugee camps in countries bordering Zimbabwe where desperate Zimbabweans can seek food, medical attention, shelter and education no longer available at home.
Zimbabwe Vigil Glasgow Diary - 22nd November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 26 November 2008 22:44

With the country’s meteorologists fore-warning us of  some treacherous winds from the Arctic aggravated by an icy storm from the North Pole, 22 Novemeber lived up to its predictions. However, the foot solders of Vigil - galvanised by their resolve to continue raising Glasgow’s awareness to the problems of Zimbabwe – proved that weather is no barrier to their commitment to the struggle. 

Report from ROHR Zimbabwe - 23rd November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 24 November 2008 15:00

23 November 2008 – ROHR Zimbabwe Report


The “Demand for Justice and Democracy Campaign” demonstration scheduled for Friday 21 November 2008 in Bulawayo was subdued by heavy presence of police, army and CIOs in the city. The demonstration collided with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) graduation ceremony which Robert Mugabe attended. The heavy presence of the uniformed forces and CIOs made it impossible to demonstrate but ROHR members managed to distribute fliers to the people in the streets. Members of the public however appeared unfazed by this hostile presence as they openly reached out for the informative material and approvingly shouted, ‘victory is for the people’. 


The demonstration is a continuation of the Demand for Democracy and Justice Campaign whose primary aim is to see Zimbabwe hold fresh elections for a new government and a leader of their choice within two years. The campaign also seeks to push for the prosecution of perpetrators of political violence, post March 29 election and before as well as those who are looting the countries’ resources. 

Whilst Zanu PF continues to arrogantly but desperately cling to national security forces i.e. Home affairs, Defence, CIO etc which are its conduits for orchestrating violence against the ordinary citizens, the Zimbabwean crisis is now at desperate and dangerous level. In most towns people are succumbing to Cholera every day, hunger and starvation is nationwide and major hospitals are closed.  Schools and Universities are either closed or failing to open. On the other hand the collapsed economy continues to cause severe suffering on the ordinary Zimbabweans. People can no longer access their cash in banks, can’t afford their daily meals.


ROHR Zimbabwe views the above crisis as a direct consequence of Zanu PF’s failure to govern since independence and the subsequent subversion of people’s democratic right to choose a leader of their own on 29th March. This nonsense must be stopped and every Zimbabwean, churches progressive political parties, civic society and the international community must take action to stop this madness.


The demand for justice and democracy campaign will continue to unpack a series of protests until the people of Zimbabwe are finally allowed the opportunity to exercise their right to vote for a government of their choice in a free, fair and peaceful environment, whose outcome will be undisputed.


Information Department
Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe
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