A constitutional abortion – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 9th March 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 10 March 2013 17:45

The Vigil is to mark Referendum Day with a demonstration at which we will be joined by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the successor to the Anti-apartheid Movement. Trade unions have also been invited to take part. The theme will be the need to ensure peaceful and free elections in Zimbabwe.


As readers of the Vigil diary will know, we have from the beginning regarded the constitution-making process as an expensive time- wasting distraction. The apathy that has greeted the abortion of a constitution supports our view (see: 16 vote: Why spend so much on non-event?).


So much for $50 million spent on what we have always referred to as the constitutional outrage programme and the $85 million or so spent on this pointless referendum!


We have never understood why the MDC parties allowed themselves to be taken in by this ludicrous exercise instead of trying to level the electoral playing field as envisaged by the GPA. We fear it is now too late.


As the well-practised Zanu PF election-stealing machine lumbers into action, MDC T has appealed for Zuma’s intervention with a dossier detailing 120 incidents of politically-motivated violence against its supporters.


But – surprise! – bad news. A member of Zuma’s facilitation team is reported as saying the dossier lacked ‘details’. It had ‘loopholes which makes it difficult for the facilitation team to pin Zanu PF as the perpetrators . . .’


Quote of the week came from Zuma’s facilitation team spokesperson, Lindiwe Zulu, who said they were waiting to hear from the Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee. ‘It has to formally give us a report on the said violence’ she said (see: alarmed by reports of political violence ahead of Zim polls).


The South African facilitation team will have a long wait. If they looked up their dusty records they would find that JOMIC has never really been operational. A couple of years ago SADC ordered regional representatives to be sent to galvanise it. Last heard of, they got bored hanging around waiting for Zanu PF to shake their hands and went home . . .


The fiasco smacks of South Africa’s duplicity as evidenced by its desperate resistance to the release of a report on the stolen 2002 elections despite repeated court orders.


Thant’s why the Vigil will be demonstrating next week: not about the constitutional nonsense but to warn of what Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone predicts will be even worse violence than during the 2008 elections. ( SEAT: Interview with Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone).


Other points

·         The likelihood of election violence in Zimbabwe has prompted a petition by ROHR and the Vigil to protest at the deportation of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers ahead of the elections. During the Referendum Day demonstration, ROHR and the Vigil will send a delegation to 10 Downing Street to present the petition (for details see:  

·         People passing by the Vigil on Referendum Day will be invited to write messages of hope for peaceful elections on red paper roses to be deposited in a transparent election box for later use in a montage. The idea was inspired by the example of WOZA who hand out red roses every Valentine’s Day.

·         The Campaigns Manager of ACTSA, Mark Beacon, will speak to us at the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil about how the Vigil and ACTSA can work more closely together to secure freedom in Zimbabwe. For directions see ‘events and notices’ below.

·         On Thursday 19 Vigil supporters attended a Mike Campbell Foundation event ‘Hope in a Desert’ at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society. The meeting was chaired by Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Zimbabwe, who paid tribute to the work of the Vigil. One of the speakers at the meeting was Dr Craig Richardson, an American associate professor of economics, who spoke of the importance of property rights for the future of the Zimbabwean economy. He said current growth in Zimbabwe was unsustainable with one of the main pillars of the economy being foreign aid. The executive director of the Foundation, Ben Freeth, criticized two recent books by British academics which he said were white-washing the agricultural situation. ‘Who is paying them?’ he asked, echoing a recent allegation by the MDC T Treasurer-General Roy Bennett, that while Zimbabwe depended on foreign aid, diamond earnings were being spent on ‘sanitising’ Mugabe (see: Diaspora Diaries with SW Radio Africa’s Alex Bell and guest Roy Bennett). The meeting ended with exuberant singing and dancing by the Vigil which brought the audience to their feet.

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: 43 signed the register.



·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 16th March from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Mark Beacon, Campaigns Manager of ACTSA is coming and will discuss with us how the Vigil and ACTSA can work more closely together to deliver freedom in Zimbabwe. 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. Next ZAF: Saturday 2nd April same time and venue.

·         Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link:  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 Highlights page.

·         The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization 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.

·         Vigil Facebook page:

·         Vigil Myspace page:

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


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