Pass the Formaldehyde – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st December 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 01 April 2012 15:52

The end of the year is traditionally a time for reflection and at the last Vigil of 2011 we discussed likely developments at home in the next twelve months. Sadly they were rather pessimistic. Few people at the Vigil expect a happy outcome in Zimbabwe to 2012.  

There was agreement at the Vigil on the most likely options:
1.         The situation could continue as it is for another year with halting progress on the constitution front, not helped by Mugabe spending most of his time flying to and from Singapore for medical treatment. The MDC says it will refuse to agree to elections until the right conditions are in place and, given the lack of urgency shown by Zuma, elections are unlikely before they are constitutionally due in 2013 – if then!
2.         Zanu PF (and we include in this military leaders), desperate to see a dying Mugabe returned to office, could engineer elections by collapsing the government – for instance, arresting Tsvangirai (see: – Tsvangirai fraud probe complete). 

People at the Vigil made a number of observations including the urgent question of what happens if Mugabe dies before the elections? Would we even know? Will Zanu PF do a Franco and keep Mugabe going with ever increasing doses of formaldehyde until no one knows if he is alive or dead? More seriously, can we expect Zanu PF to do anything else but go into emergency mode, with Defence Minister Mnangagwa or General Chiwenga openly seizing power? They would then employ their usual violence and vote rigging to stay in office – in defiance of SADC bleating. 

But the prospect that most encourages us is the likely spread of the Arab, West African, Chinese and Russian peoples’ protests to Southern Africa. Mnangagwa has already expressed alarm at the ability of social media to galvanise opposition. The Zimbabwean diaspora and organisations such as Zimbabwe We Can would then be a valuable resource (see: Kitchen-table bloggers are today’s revolutionary heroes – and – Lethal game of cat and computer mouse).

It is the people’s right to call for change. It is not the right of the state to use violence against us. 

Other points
·         The MDC UK is joining the Vigil for a demonstration outside South African House on Saturday 21st January. It is part of an MDC global protest to urge South Africa to pressure Mugabe to honour the Global Political Agreement. More details next week.
·         Our wristband ‘Mugabe Must Go’ has been popular over the years, but, given Mugabe’s medical condition, we can’t bank on them much longer so as from next week they will be available at sale price.
·         We were joined by a foreign diplomat who is being posted to Harare. The diplomat came to hear what we had to say and is to come to the Vigil again.
·         Thanks to Magret Gotora for bringing chocolates and doughnuts for us to share on New Year’s Eve. 

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: 35 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
·         ROHR Leicester monthly meeting. Saturday 7th January from  1:30 – 4:30 pm. Venue: New Walk Museum Café, 53 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA. Contact Rachael Munda 07989093661, Enniah Dube 07403439707 or Lorraine Manenji 07854801250
·         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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