via EU finances Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th March 2014 March 30, 2014
The Vigil will be protesting in Brussels against the invitation to Mugabe to attend the EU / Africa Summit on 2nd / 3rd April. We will be outside the European Union Parliament whether or not he turns up – indeed whether or not African delegations boycott the meeting in protest at the EU’s refusal to grant Grace Mugabe a visa.
As Vigil supporter Wilbert Mukori put it: ‘The EU made the mistake of allowing itself to be dictated to by the likes of Mugabe. Give him an inch and he will be back demanding a mile! The EU should put its foot down once and for all. Africa needs the EU more than the EU needs Africa just as much as the ordinary Africans need good governance more than they need EU aid. Indeed, if they had good governance the continent would not be so dependent on foreign aid.’
The Vigil delegation will be a small one. Even of those who have travel documents few can afford to go to Belgium as we could not book cheap tickets in advance because of the uncertainty surrounding Mugabe’s presence. The Belgian police have been helpful and told us that there will be many African demonstrators in the Place du Luxembourg outside the parliament buildings. We were told we would be positioned next to a large group of Mauritanians.
We don’t know the details of their quarrel with their government but we are sure that we agree on a protest against the African Union and the EU. The EU’s theme for the Summit is ‘Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace’. The truth is they are investing in Dictatorship, Death and Destruction.
Why are we going to Brussels? We know things are even worse in some other African countries – Mauritania for one, as they still practise slavery. But come to think of it how would you describe the common practice in Zimbabwe of asking people to work and then not paying them? The Vigil notes that even the slaves in the Zimbabwean defence forces are beginning to realise this.
The Vigil will be in Brussels to tell the world that things are not ok in Zimbabwe. The standard of living has slipped back more than 50 years. The EU may be pouring in money but we’re in Brussels to tell them that Zimbabwe has an illegitimate and corrupt government that is destroying the country and we don’t think the EU should help them in this. Our message is that aid for Zimbabwe must not be aid for Mugabe and the military junta.
- We are very sad to report that, despite all our efforts, our supporter Try Mahachi was forcibly removed to Zimbabwe on Thursday. We are disturbed at reports of how he was treated when he was handcuffed and put on the plane. People who are in touch with him say he is preparing a full report which he will let us have.
- On a lovely sunny Spring day, thanks to David Kadzutu, Joseph Chivayo, Xoliso Simozo and Grace Goremusandu who arrived early to help set up. Thank to Grace and Tendai Chadehumbe for looking after the front table.
- Thanks to Rose Maponga for playing the role of Grace Mugabe for a photo to mark our excursion to Brussels.
- Among interesting passers-by at the Vigil today was a Jamaican who criticized Mugabe. Jamaicans for long hero-worshipped Mugabe but lost faith in him following disparaging comments he made about them.
- We were also visited by someone who had just returned from Zimbabwe. He was very depressed about the situation and the lack of hope among ordinary people.
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: 33 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Executive Meeting. Saturday 5th April at 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see ZAF entry above. 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 sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 5th April from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see entry above.
- Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 5th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 4 April – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 April – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Marlborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatsson.
- Zim We Can Meeting – Saturday 19th April at 12 noon. The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
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The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http:/hgh/www.zimvigil.co.uk.