What’s the point of Pillay? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th May 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 27 May 2012 16:13
Vigil supporters were dismayed by the presumptuous conclusion of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay that sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies should be lifted. Ms Pillay asserts that sanctions have worsened Zimbabwe’s economic problems with ‘quite serious ramifications’ for the poorest and most vulnerable.


She cites no evidence for this, and the EU and the United States and others who have imposed sanctions argue otherwise.


Ms Pillay also says ‘There seems little doubt that the existence of the sanctions regimes has, at the very least, acted as a serious disincentive to overseas banks and investors. It is also likely that the stigma of sanctions has limited certain imports and exports’.


‘Little doubt’? As far as we can see there is ‘little doubt’ that Mugabe’s populist economic policies such as indigenisation are the main cause of the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe, together with rampant corruption and incompetence and the dishonouring of debts.


We wonder why Ms Pillay, a South African, hasn’t devoted as much attention to the reasons why the sanctions were imposed in the first place and challenged Mugabe on why he has refused to implement the Global Political Agreement signed nearly four years ago. She could also have asked him where the diamond money is going and why, after 12 years of land reform, Zimbabwe imports 80% of its food.


To us these are the real questions. And we doubt whether lifting sanctions will make any difference whatsoever.  On the contrary, unless there is more pressure on Zanu PF there will be no free and fair elections . . .


Other points

·        Thanks to contacts in Bulawayo, the Vigil was first to break the news of the arrest of the BBC classical music producer Petroc Trelawny who is accused of working there without a permit.

·        Since King Mswati’s visit to London, more details have emerged of his extravagance while his people starve.  Apparently his children are given an allowance of one million rand a year each while his many wives each receive 1.6 million rand from the state coffers. It’s rather like the Bulawayo City Council where senior officials get luxury cars while ordinary workers go unpaid.

·        A wedding party on an open top double-decker bus passed by, the bride and groom dancing to our music.


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: 51 signed the register.



·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 2nd June 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 2nd June 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.

·       ROHR North East Meeting. Saturday 16th June from 12 - 3pm. Venue: Gateshead Council Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1HH. 3mins walk from Gateshead Interchange and Metro station before Gateshead Central Police Station. Free parking available.For directions please contact Tapiwa Semwayo 07722060246 / 07412236229, Susan Ndlovu 07767024586 and Catherine Tshezi 07428189705.

·        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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