World ignores Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st October 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:42

The Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK is growing increasingly anxious at signs that the Home Office is stepping up efforts to deport Zimbabweans on the grounds that conditions at home have improved. It was suggested some time ago that the UK government was ending its moratorium on sending home failed asylum seekers. But the Vigil has seen little hard evidence of this. Our sources say that action so far is being targeted at people who arrived with dodgy papers. 

One of the Vigil’s regular supporters Shamiso Kofi has been detained and told a ticket to Nairobi has been booked for her on Kenyan Airways on 4th October. We are puzzled that she has no onward ticket to Zimbabwe.  

At the Vigil today, we ran the following petition to the UK Border Agency, part of the Home Office: We, the undersigned, are worried about the proposed deportation of one of our regular supporters, Shamiso Kofi (also known as Caroline Shamiso Tagarira). She is one of our most passionate dancers and singers and is very noticeable at the Vigil because of this.  There are many photos of the Vigil on the internet and in some of them Shamiso features prominently. We think there are serious concerns about her safety if she is returned to Zimbabwe because it is very likely she could be recognized and brutally treated. We appeal to the UKBA / Home Office to halt this deportation on the grounds that Shamiso’s safety is not certain if she is returned to Zimbabwe.” 

The petition was being handed to Shamiso’s lawyer and faxed to the UK Border Agency. For action you can take, please check: and

Shamiso told us over the phone that there are at least four other Zimbabweans being held at the same Immigration Removal Centre (Yarl’s Wood). We are reliably informed that one Zimbabwean has already been forcibly removed to Zimbabwe and attempts have been made recently to deport others.  

Ironically, the new threat to send back Zimbabweans comes as the International Bar Association has issued a report speaking of a resurgence of violence in Zimbabwe (see:  International Bar Association Says ZANU-PF Blocking Reform in Zimbabwe). The accuracy of this report was confirmed by a senior Zimbabwean NGO official at a meeting in London with Vigil management team members. ‘Don’t let people tell you that things are alright’, he said.  

A harrowing picture of the Zanu-PF mentality (and what helped cause it – UDI etc) was given in a new play produced in London by Chickenshed Theatre and attended by a Vigil group including Ephraim Tapa who was especially invited because of his leadership of the new Zimbabwe We Can movement. The play ‘The Rain that Washes’ was based on the experiences of Christopher Maphosa (who has attended the Vigil) and we were glad to have the opportunity to discuss the powerful piece with him and his co-writer Dave Carey and the others responsible, including the star Ashley Maynard whose one-man performance was a tour de force. We were surprised to hear that Ashley was born and bred in Tottenham, London. His performance led us to believe he was southern African. Chickenshed said they had hopes of taking the production on tour with – who knows – perhaps a trip to the Grahamstown Festival or even Zimbabwe itself. They were very appreciative of our attendance. 

Other points
·         Even though it is now well into autumn in the UK we were knocked out by the unseasonal heat with the temperature reaching a record 29.9 degrees centigrade – the highest ever recorded in London in October.
·         The true intentions behind the indigenisation programme were exposed in a report on SW Radio Africa that Saviour Kasukuwere and some other ministers were to be given shares in Zimplats ( – Mining firms ordered to transfer shares next month).
·         Vigil supporters are planning to attend ‘Catastrophe - what went wrong in Zimbabwe?’ a book launch with author Richard Bourne at the London University Senate House on Thursday 6 October at 5.30. Among those taking part will be  Professor Jocelyn Alexander from Oxford, who has studied land in Zimbabwe and Patrick Smith, editor of Africa Confidential. See ‘Events and Notices’ for more details.
·         With Kunonga accusing the Archbishop of Canterbury of going to Zimbabwe to lobby for homosexuality and same-sex marriages, we wonder whether Dr Williams will agree to an African solution to an African problem with regard to the division in the Anglican church: surely the rival Anglican bishops in Zimbabwe should bury their differences and get into bed together . . . like the Reverend Canaan Banana and Robert Mugabe (see: Rowan Williams is 'lobbying for homosexuality', claims Mugabe-backed bishop -
·         It was good to have back with us Puck De Raadt who works tirelessly for asylum seekers. Vigil regular Sharon Pikirai entertained us with her energetic and humorous dancing and singing. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.  

FOR THE RECORD: 72 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. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
·         ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
·         The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and
·          ‘The Rain that Washes’ – Zimbabwean theatre production. Remaining performances: Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th October at 7.30 pm, Saturday 8th October at 6 pm. Venue: Studio Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. Tickets £8 (£6). To book, call 020 8292 9222, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or book online at Chickenshed is between Oakwood and Cockfosters tube stations, and on bus routes 298, 299, 307 and N91. Free parking is also available.
·Catastrophe - what went wrong in Zimbabwe? book launch with Richard Bourne. Thursday 6th October at 5 .30 pm. Venue: University of London, Torrington Room, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1 (between Malet Street and Russell Square. Nearest Tubes: Russell Square or Goodge Street). There will be a drinks reception from 7pm.
·         ROHR Manchester Meetings. Saturday 8th October (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB.  Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future meetings:  12th November, 10th December. Same times / venue.
·         ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 29th October from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future demonstrations: 26th November, 31st December. Same time and venue.
·         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.


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