A protest vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London every Saturday from 14.00 – 18.00 since October 2002. The Vigil will continue until internationally – monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
Exiled Zimbabweans in the UK welcomed remarks this week by US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Peter Harry Thomas Jr, who called for full implementation of the constitution, an up-to-date voters’ roll, the elimination of corruption and a ‘reliable’ court system.
Speaking to journalists in Harare, Mr Thomas said this was critical if Zimbabwe is to have free and fair elections in 2018. He added: ‘We don’t want to see violence; we don’t want to see intimidation. We want to see people who are given the opportunity to campaign without fear of harassment and the start is full implementation of the 2013 constitution’ (see: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2016/05/13/finalise-political-reforms-us-envoy/).
So far so good. But the Vigil would like clarification of Mr Thomas’s assertion that the US is ‘in support of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the international financial institutions’. What exactly does this mean?
Zimbabwe desperately needs money, sure. The reason is clear: Mugabe and his cronies have stolen everything. There is pervasive corruption at all levels as well as institutionalised incompetence.
An example: Health Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa says his ministry needs $65 million urgently to buy drugs. He said the Treasury approved a budget of $450,000 for Midlands province but it was given only $3,000 – and that was also to cover patients’ food and utility bills . . . Vice-President Mphoko of course blamed Western sanctions (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-health-sector-needs-65m-for-drugs-the-herald/).
The Vigil’s fear is that ‘re-engagement’ with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank means approval of some creative bookkeeping to deal with Zimbabwe’s debt to these institutions allowing the imploding regime to access more loans to enable it to steal yet another election.
Having been turned down by his ‘all-weather friends’ Mugabe has been left with no option but to try to con money from the enemy and has come up with a plethora of promises from dealing with corruption to a land audit and compensation for white farmers, from halving the state wage bill to reforming bankrupt parastatals. All this is fantasy as there is no real will or capacity to achieve these goals.
The IMF has recently toughened its hitherto craven language about the regime. We want it to get even tougher and tell Mugabe that new money will only come if the West is at long last allowed in to observe the elections and judge whether they have been free and fair.
As we have pointed out before, the stakes are high. Zanu PF has long been a malignant influence in the region as is shown clearly by recent developments in South Africa. Witness the paranoia of ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, facing growing opposition to the party, parroting the line that the West is pushing for ‘regime change’ in South Africa. Where did we hear that before? (See: http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/regime-change-claims-reflect-ancs-paranoia-2020528).
More than 30 Vigil and ROHR supporters staged another demonstration on Friday outside the clinic in Nottingham run by Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica who have seized a farm belonging to a white Zimbabwean. We are campaigning for Nyatsuro’s British passport to be withdrawn. A local journalist there to report the demonstration asked for an interview with Nyatsuro but was turned down. Some of the protesters approached Veronica as she entered the clinic but she refused to say anything – even when asked for advice on who to contact to get a stolen farm. A Kenyan lady arrived at the clinic in a Mercedes said she didn’t understand why we were protesting against a black person taking over a farm and that we were embarrassing her doctor. We replied that his greed was embarrassing us. A more positive response came from a local nurse who took a bundle of our leaflets to hand out to patients. One the organisers of the demonstration Sally Mutseyami was interviewed by the journalist for a radio broadcast the day before about the protest. Two videos of the protest have been posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YxsI9RXADs Campaigners against Zimbabwe born doctor and wife and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vwobfmp8pc Campaigners against Zimbabwe doctor over land grab.
- People worried about the back door moves to introduce a bogus Zimbabwean currency might be interested to read a story in the UK Guardian newspaper which reports that the old Zim$100 trillion note is fetching up to $40 dollars each (see: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/may/14/zimbabwe-trillion-dollar-note-hyerinflation-investment).
- We are looking forward to our excursion on 25th May (Africa Day) to see the play ‘After Independence’ with a collaborative event afterwards. It has had excellent reviews including in the Guardian, Times and Telegraph. See ‘Events and Notices’ for details.
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Cyrus Sangare, Eletha Mpofu, Esther Munyira, Etines Kapiya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Isabell Gwatidzo, Kevin Gondo, Nduduzi Patrick Ndlovu, Phillip Mahlahla, Roseline Mukucha, Rosemary Guveya and Rosemary Maponga. Thanks to Roseline, Isabell and Etines for looking after the front table, to Esther and Eletha for handing out flyers to the public and to Chipo Parirenyatwa for continuing her successful selling of the Vigil’s poetry book ‘The revolution will be televised’. Thanks also to Phillip, Kevin and Nduduzi for putting up the banners and packing up at the end of the Vigil.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
FOR THE RECORD: 32 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Play: ‘After Independence’. 4th – 28th May at the Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL. The play is by May Sumbwanyambe and tackles the issues of independence and government in Zimbabwe. Tickets are available from the Box Office: 020 7503 1646 or online from: http://www.arcolatheatre.com/event/after-independence/2016-05-04/.
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st May from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Mavis Chisvo 07944612944 and Esther Nyambi 07446210391.
- ROHR Reading branch community outreach and general meeting. Saturday 21st May 2016. Community outreach from 11.45 am – 1.30 pm: Venue: Broad Street. Awareness campaign on ‘Mugabe must go’. General meeting from 2,30 – 5 pm: Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Charles Mararirakwenda 07964731721, Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Shylette Chipangura 07828929806, Deborah Harrry 07578894896, Sihle Sibanda 07985712749.
- ROHR Middlesbrough branch general meeting. Saturday 21st May from 1.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Teesside University, Student Centre, Clarendon Building, Middlesbrough TS1 3BA. For more information please contact Ndumiso Ncube 07532080247, Xoliso Sithole 07455911728, Henrietta N Mlilo 079313110024, Tapiwa Semwayo 07412236229 and Esther Munyira 07460861487.
- ROHR Slough branch general meeting. Saturday 21st May from 11 am – 1 pm. Venue: Manor Park Community Centre, Villiers Road ,Slough SL2 1NP. For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803, Sharon Zimuto (Secretary) 07950837841.
- 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 28th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 4th June from 11 am to 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 4th June 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 a shop. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- 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.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 11th June from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark fifteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- Protest at Zimbabwe Conference 2016 ‘Rebooting and Rebuilding’. Tuesday 5th July from 8 am onwards. Venue: outside DLA Piper UK LLP, 3 Noble Street, London EC2V 7EE. More information as our plans firm up.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.