Recall Ambassador – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd August 2014 PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 August 2014 11:33

The Zimbabwean human rights activist Ben Freeth has written to the Vigil with information supporting our demand for the recall of EU Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia because of his support for the Mugabe regime.


Mr Dell’Ariccia was widely quoted as criticising NGOs in Zimbabwe, describing them as AGOs – anti-government organisations – and he was also reported as saying there was no leadership crisis in Zimbabwe.


As we noted in our diary last week, the EU told us in a letter that Mr Dell’Ariccia had been misreported. Ben Freeth says he spoke to the Ambassador and he repeated that he did not believe that Zimbabwe had a leadership crisis (although he did distance himself from some of the comments he is reported to have made). Freeth said that Dell’Ariccia told him there would be ‘blood on the streets’ if there was a leadership crisis.


In his letter to us, Freeth writes:


‘I disagreed with him and said that by his definition of a leadership crisis Italy (his home country) did not have a leadership crisis in the 1930s under Mussolini and nor did Germany under Hitler because they were strong leaders – dictators in fact.  The fact is though that, as dictators, they led their countries and the world into a war that killed tens of millions of people and, against the Jews, they also committed the worst genocide in world history.  


‘It is clear to me that a leadership crisis continues to exist in Zimbabwe: our leaders continue to lead our country dictatorially against international law; our leaders ignore international agreements like the Abuja Agreement;  our leaders ignore bilateral investment treaties and take over private property - so that almost nobody wants to invest their money in Zimbabwe to rebuild its shattered economy;  our leaders ignore international conventions like the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination;  our leaders ignore international treaties like the SADC Treaty and the SADC Tribunal – and in the “Zanufication” of SADC they managed to get the SADC Tribunal closed down. 


‘When dictators lead their countries into evil nobody, in truth, can say that there is not a leadership crisis, however much they want to appease those dictators.


‘We have seen genocide under our current leaders where 20,000 civilians, many of them women and children, were brutally murdered; we have seen Murambatsvina where 700,000 homes were callously destroyed by our current leaders; we have seen land invasions under our current leaders where over 300,000 people lost their livelihoods – and which brought about a situation where our current wheat crop in the ground is only 5% of what it was before the invasions; we have seen political violence under our current leaders where tens of thousands have been severely beaten and hundreds killed.  We have seen per capita income fall from one of the highest in Africa to one of the lowest in the world. 


‘If all these crimes against humanity that have led to such poverty and suffering in Zimbabwe do not constitute a leadership crisis I have to wonder what a leadership crisis really is – by the definition of the European Union?’     


The Vigil agrees with Freeth’s comments and again calls on the European Union to recall its ambassador for re-education in its policy on Zimbabwe outlined in their letter to us: The objective of the EU is, and has always been, to support the Zimbabwean people in achieving a more prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe . . . The EU will continue to gear its relations with Zimbabwe with a view to promoting necessary reforms.’


Other points

  • The Vigil marked the anniversary of the stolen 2013 elections by staging a tableau mocking the victory banquet in Harare this week held by Mugabe for his mafia henchmen. Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing our Mugabe mask, presided at a Vigil banquet flanked by supporters wearing red devils’ masks amid posters reading: ‘EU sups with devil Mugabe’, ‘Wake on anniversary of Zimbabwe’s 2013 stolen elections’, ‘One year on, six years backwards’, ‘No rule of law, endemic corruption’, ‘Where are the two million jobs?’ and ‘What’s happened to the new constitution?’ Vigil supporter Dr Clifford Mashiri said we must continue our protest and demand the diaspora vote which is allowed by the new constitution.

  • This issue was discussed at the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil. Ephraim Tapa said that, with the West moving to re-engage Mugabe, we must step up our activism. He urged Vigil supporters to contact their MPs and put forward our case. The Zimbabwean diaspora may not be allowed to vote in Zimbabwe’s elections but we can vote in the UK’s elections next year because of an anomaly in the regulations.

  • The meeting decided to send on to the Home Office an email from a former supporter who had received two letters of support from us to stay in the UK but now wished to be removed from our mailing list. We felt the Home Office should be aware of her lack of commitment to a free Zimbabwe. They might like to remove her from their list of those allowed to remain in the UK.

  • Thanks to Epiphania Phiri, Danai Maghidi, Patricia Masamba, Mary Muteyerwa, Fungisai Mupandira, Tendai Chadehumbe and Fungayi Mabhunu who arrived early to help set up. Thanks also to Patricia, Fungisai and Tendai for providing our banquet of sadza and stew to fundraise for the ROHR Slough branch.


    For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.


    FOR THE RECORD: 35 signed the register.



  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 9th August from 12 noon. The meeting will be held in Reading ahead of the ROHR Reading Branch Fundraiser.

  • ROHR Reading Branch Fundraiser. Saturday 9th August from 5 – 11 pm. Venue: Pakistani Community Centre, Park Hall, London Road, Reading RG1 2PA. Tickets: £6.50 or £10 for two. Drinks, BBQ, Disco. Contact: Eric 07532 021 348. For flyer, check:

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 9th August from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 16th August from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 23rd August at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • ROHR Southampton Branch general meeting. Saturday 23rd August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL. Special guest speakers. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice Chairperson), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 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.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy

  • Facebook pages:


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