Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 4th December 2010 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 05 December 2010 17:17

A small window opened in the freezing weather to allow us to hold our Vigil as normal – although with depleted attendance. The current cold spell has been the worst in living memory so early in the winter. Train travel was disrupted by snow and traffic brought to a standstill in many places because of icy roads. Sue Toft, a supporter in deepest Kent – 40 miles or so from the Vigil – phoned to say she had been snowbound in her home for four days and was preparing to venture out on foot to buy food . . .

Being brought to a standstill gave Vigil supporters pause to digest three interesting developments. Mugabe’s predictable anti-Western posturing at the EU-Africa summit in Libya seems, in retrospect, to have done our cause nothing but good. To Europeans – and that means of course black British people as well – he was seen – in former US Ambassador Dell’s terms – as a delusional egomaniac. In many African eyes he was simply an embarrassment.  

Mr Dell’s assessment in 2007 of the leading Zimbabwean politicians published by Wikileaks chimed with our own views: Mutambara lightweight, Welshman Ncube duplicitous, Tsvangirai indecisive. Furthermore, as was clear to most, he describes Mbeki as partial. But we at the Vigil remain puzzled why the US continued to support Mbeki’s ‘mediation’ and why it did not make clear its opposition to the abortive GNU from the beginning. It would have helped those of us who did. 

The third development provided a reproof to dodgy academics using small-scale unrepresentative studies to try to legitimise Mugabe’s land ‘reform’ policy. Zimonline, based in South Africa, spent three months looking at the real beneficiaries of the land grab ( It said more than 40% went to Mugabe’s cronies, many of then given multiple farms.  Mugabe and his wife have fourteen. All of Zanu PF’s 56 politburo members, 98 Members of Parliament and 35 elected and unelected Senators were allocated former white farms. All 10 provincial governors have seized farms, with four being multiple owners. Apart from senior army and police officers and government officials, 16 Supreme Court and High Court judges also own large farms.   

There is nothing new here to Vigil supporters but it underlines how difficult it will be to remove these thieves from power. Deep down they know they will not be able to justify their looting and any change of regime will expose them to justice. The simple fact is that they will always be at risk of being brought to book under international law.  The Zimbabwean looters are not in the same position as their models elsewhere in Africa. The Kenyan elite took massive bribes and stole aid money, difficult to trace. President Tshombe of the DRC and the leaders from countries such as Nigeria and Angola looted natural resources. But as for the stolen farms it is going to be very difficult for Zanu PF people to explain them away or for Mr Chombo to explain how he owns half of every city in Zimbabwe or for Mines Minister M’puffed-up to explain the ‘diamonds on the soles of his shoes’. 

The Vigil’s advice to the Zimbabwean mafia is that they would be wise to sell their farms to China and go and lie low somewhere in Asia. There is a steady demand for food by the UN which has now launched a new appeal to mainly Western donors for US$415 million to feed some 1.7 million Zimbabweans for the next three months. Perhaps the Chinese might consider growing food on the underused farms and sell it to the UN at a discount? After all Zimbabwe is likely to be a repeat customer . . .  

Other points
·       It was good to be visited by Judith Todd, the Zimbabwean human rights champion, who was briefly in London. She said how encouraged she was that we were still going and how she looked forward to reading our diary every week. She reminded us that in 1980 international police monitored the Zimbabwean elections and she suggested this might be a sensible way forward for next year’s elections. Given the recent Nazi-like response from Police chief Chihuru that any non-Zanu PF victory would not be allowed, this seems a good idea. (See Events and Notices for Judith’s book.)
·       Thanks to Patson Muzuwa who brought a mini-busload of supporters from Leicester and led the singing and dancing. Thanks also to Godfrey Madzunga and Batson Chapata who were there at the start and helped out throughout the afternoon to make the Vigil ran smoothly.

For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.   

FOR THE RECORD:  86 signed the register. 

·       The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
·       ROHR Nottingham launch meeting. Saturday 11th December. Venue: St Saviour’s Community Halls,  Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Contact Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
ROHR Liverpool branch Christmas fundraising party. Saturday 18th December from 2 – 10 pm. Venue: Kensington Methodist Church, 294 Kensington, Liverpool L7 2RN. Traditional food available and Zimbabwean sounds and lots more. Contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Sheilla Mironga 07578541227, Patience Karimanzira 07832712074
·       Christmas Virtual Vigil. Saturday 25th December.  We will not be meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy because there will be no public transport and central London will be deserted.  Please hold a virtual Vigil by praying for Zimbabwe and singing the national anthem at 6 pm.
·       ROHR Newcastle general meeting. Saturday 22nd January from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Warwick Court, Warwick Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1EY. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange opposite Gateshead Civic Centre and Gateshead Police Station. Free parking available. For directions please contact Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Allen Chamboko 07500246416, Kuda Derera 07411337933, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator) 07795070609 or P Chibanguza (Coordinator) 07908406069
·       Vigil Facebook page:
·       Vigil Myspace page:
·       ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.
·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust ( Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested in taking part.


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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.