Marathon Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th September 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 09 September 2012 15:39

On the second last day of the Paralympics, Vigil supporters saw off President Mugabe in the Marathon. He only agreed to take part if he was promised the gold medal and insisted that we give it to him before the race to make sure. He also demanded to start a day before the opposition, given that he is about the oldest contender in the dictator stakes. Furthermore, he insisted on starting at the Embassy which is only a short distance to the finishing line in the nearby Mall.


An earlier agreement drawn up after a vastly expensive international consultation exercise which has gone on since the Beijing Olympics four years ago was rejected by Mugabe at the last minute because it was precipitate and did not reflect his wishes.


With much cajoling we managed to get the decaying despot on his way with posters reading ‘Marathon Mugabe’, ‘Still running after 32 years’ and ‘Plans to run at 89’. (Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for playing Marathon Mugabe wearing our all too frightening Mugabe mask.)


On a happier note the Vigil was pleased to see that Tanzanian President Kikwete, the new Chair of the SADC Security Troika, has called a meeting for October 7 and 8 to deal with Zanu PF’s refusal to accept the COPAC draft constitution they signed off on. The Vigil believes that the Troika has no alternative but to call Mugabe’s bluff for disregarding the GPA ( to tackle constitution deadlock: Kikwete).


Other points

·        The Vigil noted the remarks by Botswana’s President Khama at a state banquet for visiting President Zuma that ‘nothing less than free and fair elections in Zimbabwe should be acceptable to the international community. SADC, as the guarantor of the GPA, must ensure transparency not only of the elections but also of the process leading to the polls’. Khama also stressed the need for SADC monitors as well as the wider international community to participate in observing the process “before, during and even after the elections.” (SADC tells Mugabe off –

·        Vigil supporters are very appreciative of Botswana’s generous loan of $70 million to Zimbabwe. But we would caution them that Zanu PF never pays its debts – from China to Iran, from Malawi to Zambia, Zimbabwe has yet to be recorded as paying up. Mr Biti, in his begging bowl tour of SADC, will no doubt tell you that your only hope of getting these loans repaid is to get Mugabe’s Zanu PF out of power.

·        The Vigil was interested to see that last week’s diary featured in the Herald. (see: MDC-T to lose forthcoming election: Zim Vigil Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.. We advise people to compare the Herald article with what we actually said. In particular, the Vigil is not anti-Tsvangirai as suggested. In fact we are taking up a collection to pay for expenses incurred if his former mistress Locadia succeeds in her claim for $15,000 a month maintenance ‘because this is what she will need to maintain the standard of life she enjoyed with Mr Tsvangirai’. So far we have collected £0.07 (see: must take responsibility). PS – we were interested to read: These new-found suits make me sick –

·        We were happy to welcome an American academic who had taught in Zimbabwe and wanted to meet Zimbabwean  women and talk to them about their experiences as immigrants. We are eager happy to share our experience after 10 years on the street.

·        Thanks to Thandiwe Gwarumba for the tasty cakes

·        During the week Vigil members attended a meeting at Parliament called to discuss the deteriorating situation in Swaziland. It marked a week of activism coinciding with Swaziland’s Independence Day on 6th September. The co-ordinator of the Swaziland Vigil Thobile Gwebu talked about human rights abuses particularly the gross offences against women (see: for Thobile’s speech). The meeting was attended by MPs, trade union leaders and civil rights activists.The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said it was going to call for the suspension of Swaziland from the Commonwealth – echoing a petition run by the Swaziland Vigil.


FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.



·      The Rain that Washes showing at the Lounge, Leicester Square Theatre, from Monday 17th September – Saturday 6th October at 7 pm. Check: or phone the booking line: 08448733433 for specific dates and to book tickets, ‘Instantly plunged into a young man’s compelling story of growing up in turbulent Zimbabwe, we live and breathe his extraordinary journey from innocence to escape, finally returning to his homeland to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . . Inspired by a series of interviews between Zimbabwean Christopher Maphosa and writer Dave Carey, The Rain That Washes is a true story that is poignant, political and most of all, personal’.

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 22nd September 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.

·      ROHR Bournemouth elections and fundraising. Saturday 22nd September from 2 pm. Venue: to be advised.  Good food and entertainment. Founder and President Ephraim Tapa and the UK Executive will be in attendance. Contact: Memory Dzapasi 07585907566, Urther Chagadama 07951269667, Dennis Muringai 07917426201, Nancy M 07404159038.

·        ROHR Cambridge Branch Relaunch: Saturday 29th September from 1 – 4 pm. Contact: Memory Simbi 07584759284, Deon Matora 077866674066, Richard Zvinoira 07810592390. Venue: To be advised.

·        10th Anniversary of the Zimbabwe Vigil / Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th October 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. Future special ZAF meeting: Saturday 10th November when our special guest will be Ben Freeth.  This meeting will take the place of the regular ZAF meeting in November at 6.30 pm at Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.

·        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

·        Vigil Facebook page:

·        Vigil Myspace page:

·        To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to

·        Useful websites: which reports on Zanu PF abuses and where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.


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