Vigil Diary - 15th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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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. 



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). 

How can you help?

The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.