What should the West do? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 11th March 2017 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 12 March 2017 17:46

With scarcely 15 months to go before Zimbabwe’s next elections, it seems that the Western world has no strategy to avert continued Zanu PF misrule. What’s new, you may ask, and why are we singling out the Western world?

Well, it’s because the other power blocks do have a strategy: it is to support Zanu PF. Our ‘all-weather’ friends China, Russia, the Middle East etc have no interest in promoting democracy in Zimbabwe. Neither does the South African government or Africa in general.

Witness Mugabe’s zombie trip to Ghana for their 60th independence anniversary celebrations. Zimbabwe had no working planes so Mugabe hired one in Bahrain to take his usual ‘$5 million a time’ retinue on a trip through which he slept most of the time. The Herald says the Ghanaians couldn’t get enough of him – despite the disparaging comments he has made about their country.

What of the UN, can’t they help? Does anyone seriously expect anything from this sclerotic talk shop? They will tut tut but tolerate Mugabe for ever as long as his violence doesn’t get out of control (and his regular harangues to the General Assembly don’t last too long). Anyway, getting the Security Council to do anything about Zimbabwe is impossible. It will always be vetoed by China or Russia.

So those hoping for change are looking to the West. But the outlook here is poor as well. Western countries must know that the next elections are going to be rigged. After all, most of them have embassies in Harare and their envoys can’t spend all their time attending each other’s national day festivities. 

The opposition, civil society – and even expelled former Zanu PF leaders – have all explained how the elections will be stolen. The way it always has been. Morgan Tsvangirai spelt it out in detail this week (see:

Well, says the West, we will be stern and tell Mugabe to change his ways . . . And if Zanu PF steals the elections we will bleat loudly. But we won’t break off diplomatic relations, stop aid money which props up the regime or even impose any more of those problematic sanctions.

So it will be business as usual, probably with Tsvangirai roped in again to do what the MDC have already shown they can do: revive the rapidly collapsing economy so that Zanu PF can get rid of them again.

As the French say, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Other points

  • Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask and snoozing away at the Vigil to represent Mugabe's visit to Ghana.
  • On the closest Saturday to 9th March we remembered our friend Itai Dzamara who was seized on that day two years ago by intelligence agents and hasn't been seen since.
  • Thanks to those who came early to hep set up: Zodwa Bhebhe, Vimbayi Chambara, Mavis Chisvo, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Joshua Kahari, Etines Kapiya, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Emmanuel Magarira, Phillip Mahlahla, Nyarai Masango, Nyarai Masvosva, Cephas Maswoswa, Shiela Matiza, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Margaret Munenge, Fungisai Mupandira, Sally Mutseyami, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Anna Mwanza, Nontokozo Ncube, Edward Ndlovu, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Rumbidzayi Sambana and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Roseline, Patience and Nontokozo for looking after the front table, to Rumbidzayi, Edward and Zodwa for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Emmanuel, Anna and Nyaria Maswoswa for putting up the banners. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) ( has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR. 

FOR THE RECORD: 45 signed the register.


  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 18th March. Community outreach from 11:30 am – 1.30 pm: Venue: Broad Street, Reading. Awareness campaign on deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm: Venue: The RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. Contact: Sihle Sibanda 07985712749 (Deputy Chairperson), Shylette Chipangura 07828929806 (Deputy Secretary), 07964731721 (Organising Secretary).
  • ROHR Leicester branch awareness campaign and general meeting. Saturday 18th March. Awareness campaign from 2 – 3 pm. Meet at Iceland, Narborough Road. General meeting from 3 – 5 pm: Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 18th March from 12 noon – 1 pm for committee meeting and from 1 – 3 pm for general members meeting. Venue: Eastleigh Library, Swan Shopping and Leisure Centre, Swan Centre, Eastleigh SO50 5SF. Contact: Ben Semwayo (Chair) 07401611932, Grace Rukure (Secretary) 07462103397 and Reuben Waretza (Publicity and Advocacy) 07946607617.
  • 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 us.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th March from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Fundraising Dinner. Saturday 8th April from 6 pm to midnight. Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Tickets: adults – £15, children under 12 – £5, Children 12-17 – £10. To book tickets contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
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