Educating Sata – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th April 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 29 April 2012 16:54

You have to hand it to Mugabe: he is good at making friends. It must be the ‘charm’ noted breathlessly by British Ambassador Deborah Bronnert. No sooner does Mugabe lose his number one bootlicker, Mutharika of Malawi, than he pulls another out of his other boot: Michael Sata of Zambia who, as a former platform sweeper at London’s Victoria Station, is even better equipped.


To say you have to hand it to Mugabe may not be entirely accurate. It may be you have to hand it to Sata – in the form of a pouch of ‘grubby stones’ such as given by Liberian butcher Taylor to the bejewelled model Naomi Campbell. After all, Mutharika was given a stolen Zimbabwean farm.


But perhaps the Vigil is being unkind to Sata. It might not have been necessary to buy him. He could – let’s be fair – just be stupid. One way or another, how else do you account for his comments during his visit to Zimbabwe to open the wildly successful trade fair in Bulawayo (the majority of stands taken by the Chinese and many of the others by bankrupt parastatals with nothing to offer, such as Air Zimbabwe)? (See: Sata slams sanctions, supports grabbing of white owned farms in Zimbabwe –


For us at the Vigil Mr Sata’s bizarre pro-Mugabe comments raise a number of important points: what are the MDC and the British government doing about it? For the MDC’s part, it appears that Tsvangirai has protested by boycotting Sata’s visit (see: - Tsvangirai ‘boycotts’ trade fair opening).  But what purpose does this serve? Wouldn’t a confrontation have been better?


Whatever the MDC’s strategy, the Vigil believes that the government here in Britain should not let pass Sata’s gross interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs. Mr Sata complains about sanctions on Zimbabwe: what is the High Commissioner in Lusaka doing? Why hasn’t he explained the realities? He could, for instance, pass on the article on sanctions by the Zimbabwean economist John Robertson (see: Sanctions: the Western World’s most generous gift to Zanu PF –


Eventually the British government was provoked into suspending the aid that kept Mutharika’s economy going. The Vigil believes that Britain should now take a close look at its priorities in Zambia. We suggest some of the huge aid package given annually to Zambia should be diverted to the undoubtedly daunting task of educating Sata.


Anyway the Vigil has added him to our list of Mugabe cronies to be targeted if they pop up in London for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Beware Sata: behind every broom there may be a Vigil supporter.


Another SADC leader to be targeted will be monstrous Mswati, the Swazi tyrant. We gave him the runaround the last time he dared come here and will do the same again. We were glad today to welcome Vincent Dlamini, National Organising Secretary of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland and Secretary General of Swaziland’s National Public Services Union. He expressed gratitude for our support for the Swazi Vigil which has been campaigning for democracy outside the Swazi High Commission in London. ‘We must hold each other’s hand’, he said, ‘At the end of the day victory is certain.’ He was accompanied by Mark Beacon of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. They have organized a public meeting at which Mr Dlamini will speak about the brutal suppression of human rights in Swaziland.  For details see ‘Events and Notices’.


Other points

·        Thanks to the Globe Theatre for their generous offer to Vigil supporters wanting to see the Shona production of ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ at 2.30 pm on Wednesday 9th May. We explained that most of our supporters are hard up and they said we could come for nothing. We will be the traditional groundlings (see: standing (we are used to standing at the Vigil!). The Globe Theatre thinks this is the best experience in the theatre as we will be closest to the stage. The Globe is looking forward to having Shona speakers in the audience. There will be an opportunity to meet the cast after the show. For full details see ‘Events and Notices’.

·        It has rained virtually all month here and we were all soaked today. On top of that it has been cold. But we were cheered to see Nancy Makawa who was released from detention last week.

·        Thanks to Edward Mutamiswa for his help in packing up the Vigil especially in dismantling our wet tarpaulin without drenching everyone.


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: 54 signed the register.





·        Swaziland: A Kingdom in Crisis. Monday 30th April from 6.30 – 8 pm. Venue: Court Room, 1st Floor, Senate House, Malet House, London WC1E 7HU. Vincent Dlamini, National Organising Secretary of the TUC of Swaziland, and Thobile Gwebu of London’s Swaziland Vigil will speak about the worsening political and economic crisis in Swaziland. ‘Swaziland is Africa's only absolute monarchy. Democracy is denied and those who dare to speak out are brutally repressed. Vast amounts of Swaziland’s budget are spent on the army, police and the Royal Family, whilst 70 percent of the population live in absolute poverty; it has the highest HIV rate in the world. This April the Swazi government cracked down on protests to mark the 39th anniversary of the banning of political parties in Swaziland and the introduction of the state of emergency. The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland  which was recently formed as the united trade union federation was derecognised, protests banned and trade union leaders arrested.’ For further information contact Action for Southern Africa: Tel 020 3263 2001 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·        Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora. Monday 30th April from 5 – 6 pm. Venue: Chatham House, 10 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LE. Participants: Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Co-Chair of the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, and Primrose Matambanadzo, Chair of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (

·        ‘The Rain that Washes’ – Zimbabwean theatre production. From 2nd – 19th May at 7.30 pm – matinees 10th May at 1 pm and 19th May at 3.30 pm. Venue: Studio Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. It is a one-man show based on a true story. “Following the dream of majority rule, one man sees Ian Smith's Rhodesia become Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. From refugee camps in Botswana to air strikes in Zambia via Marxism in Bulgaria, he returns to Zimbabwe, only to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . .” Running time: 60 minutes. 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  available.

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 5th May from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 5th May from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·        Two Gentlemen of Verona Shona Production at the Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT. Dates / Times: Wednesday 9 May, 2.30pm. Thursday 10 May, 7.30pm. Tickets available from 020 7401 9919 and A two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. In a triumphantly energetic ‘township’ style, Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu slip into all of the play’s fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog – in this new, specially commissioned translation for the international Shakespeare season..

·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link:  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

·        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

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