Caucus Race – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th October 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 28 October 2012 17:07

The Vigil welcomes the peaceful conclusion of the second Stakeholders’ Conference on the constitution – not because we think it achieved anything but because it took place without the feared violence and because it clears the way for the next hurdle in the Alice in Wonderland caucus race. (Wikipedia definition of caucus race: a laborious but arbitrary and futile activity; an activity that amounts to running around in a circle, expending great energy but not accomplishing anything.)


Zimbabweans now rejoice in an expensive proposed new constitution which nobody wants. If constitution-making was ranked as a productive activity Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia before it) would be world leaders: constitutions for all occasions. We might even flog one to the UK which has managed all these years without one.


As far as the Vigil can see, a constitution matters only if there is the rule of law. And when did that last exist in Zimbabwe? And, anyway, Mugabe has made it clear the constitution will not be adopted until he is satisfied with it (at one stage he seemed to have co-opted Tsvangirai to this idea!).


So the fiasco moves to Parliament and then to a referendum, apparently in mid-January, costing $100,000,000 or so. Of course Zimbabwe has no money for this – that is unless the Mugabes, the Mujurus, the Mpofus, the Chombos etc care to contribute a few dollars from their stolen millions.


Mr Biti says we in the UK must pay. He says we are paying for Zimbabwe’s health and education (along with other donors) so we ‘have an obligation’ to pay for everything else (see: Biti turns to donors to fund referendum and elections – Biti’s logic is the sort that has made Zimbabwe the intellectual powerhouse it is today.


So here we will be in mid-January 2013 with a useless referendum on a useless constitution and the situation on the ground to all purposes unchanged – certainly no rule of law. And then Mugabe – coming up to his 90th year and popping with Singaporean monkey glands – can start campaigning for the elections he wants in March, leaving little time for the essential reforms agreed four years ago and still not implemented. The Vigil thinks this is a recipe for disaster.


Elections any later – and some are talking of October – will provide an interesting backdrop for the UN’s tourism conference at the Victoria Falls next August. The odious tourism functionaries from all over the world will then get the chance to see some real Zimbabwean ‘wild life’.


The Vigil’s attention has been drawn by a correspondent, John Burke, to a ‘world travel market’ to be held in London in early November attended by tourism ministers from all over the world as well as Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), who helped launch the Victoria Falls proposal. Mr Burke asks us for our opinion of it. Here it is: ‘The Zimbabwe Vigil believes our country is one of the most beautiful in the world and our friendly people welcome visitors from all over and would love to share our treasures with them.  However the Vigil questions the UN’s decision to hold a world tourism conference at the Victoria Falls in August 2013. Elections are due in Zimbabwe next year and in the past these have been undermined by violence. The Vigil has been calling for UN election monitors to be sent to Zimbabwe and we are pleased to see a statement that they are willing to do this (see: – U N ready to dispatch election monitors). The Vigil calls on the UNWTO to make its world tourism conference at the Victoria Falls dependent on the Zimbabwe government agreeing to accept UN election monitors’.


Other points

·        ROHR Central London Branch was launched today. An interim committee was elected with Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil as Chair. Participants felt that ROHR Central London would have a pivotal and challenging campaigning role in the UK capital where government headquarters and foreign embassies are based.

·        Attendance at the Vigil and the ROHR meeting was affected by adverse weather (biting winds from the Arctic) and travel disruption (roadworks, train cancellations etc). Thanks to Elijah and Sheron Makhosi Bhebhe who were there at the start to help set up in the absence of Vigil regulars who were late because of travel problems.

·        The Vigil was pleased for our Swazi friends at the coverage they managed to achieve in the Swazi Times of their campaign against oppression by King Mswati III and his government (see: Swaziland Vigil hits home –


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: 58 signed the register.



·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 3rd November 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 Branch Meeting. Saturday 3rd November 2012 from 3 – 5 pm. Venue: 71 Stewart Road, Bournemouth BH8 8NZ. Contact: Memory Dzepasi 07585907566, Arthur Chagadama 07951 269667, Dennis Muringai 07787486839 or Collin Chitekwe  07957712691

·        Special Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 10th November from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. OUR SPECIAL GUEST WILL BE BEN FREETH. 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.

·        Election of Substantive ROHR UK Executive. Saturday 8th December. Further details as they become available.

·        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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