Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th August 2013

It was ironic that Mugabe’s inaugural speech came as Americans were preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ address delivered at the memorial to President Lincoln who freed the slaves.

Mugabe’s meanness of spirit and poverty of imagination, his hypocrisy and deceit, contrasted sharply with Dr King’s vision and generosity, faith and courage.

‘With the elections now behind us, we can focus on rebuilding our nation which has been ravaged by illegal sanctions’, Mugabe said. ‘If yesterday the pretext for imposing these sanctions was to do with the deficit of democracy here, today we ask these culprit nations what their excuse is now?’

Well Mr Mugabe the answer still is . . . ‘a deficit of democracy’. But it seems that democracy according to SADC is rather different to the unimaginative version in the West, which tends not to applaud let alone reward election thieves . . .  the departing SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salamao is reported to have described the elections as a model that should be followed by other African countries! (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/salamao-commends-zimbabwe-polls/ – Salamao commends Zimbabwe polls).

People at the inauguration were no doubt were thrilled to hear that – now free of the ‘internal contradictions’ imposed by the GNU partners – Mugabe would deliver ‘the economic miracle which must now happen’ (see: Transcript – Mugabe’s inauguration speech 22 August 2013 - http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/transcript-mugabes-inauguration-speech-22-august-2013/).

The people, he said, had voted for ‘our hallowed policy of indigenization and economic empowerment’ and the future was bright. Agriculture would be supported, manufacturing revived, electricity stabilized, taps would run again, hospitals would be re-equipped and roads rehabilitated. Indeed a miracle – as no other explanation was provided as to how all this would be achieved.

Mugabe concluded his speech with a tribute to President Zuma and former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. ‘I am sure today is a happy day for both men. They can walk tall in full knowledge that they have signed off a rare but glorious chapter on African solutions to African problems!’

Sheltering under our tarpaulin against a deluge, our thoughts were with our family and friends facing renewed slavery under Mugabe’s nightmare ‘solutions’. The horrific economic consequences are spelt out in an article by the MDC policy adviser Eddie Cross (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/523-welcome-to-the-real-world).

Other points

  • ·         At our rain-drenched Vigil, as we struggled to keep the tarpaulin from collapsing under the torrent, we launched our new petition calling on the UK and the European Union to follow the lead of the United States and continue sanctions. The petition, addressed to European Union governments, reads: ‘Following the rigged elections in Zimbabwe, we urge the European Union to re-impose the targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his cronies. We further call on the EU to suspend government aid to all Southern African Development Community countries until they abide by their commitment to uphold human rights in Zimbabwe.’ Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa said: ‘SADC has swallowed Mugabe’s propaganda that Zimbabwe’s economic woes are caused by sanctions and has demanded that they be lifted. We question why they are siding with Mugabe against the suffering people of Zimbabwe and the sanctions he has imposed on them: poverty, disease and violence. Why should the tax payers of Europe pay for these Mugabe puppets in SADC? The UK gives Zimbabwe alone about $100 million a year in government aid despite constant insults from Mugabe, as well as giving hundreds of millions more to the other members of SADC. Altogether the EU gives billions of dollars each year to pay for the misgovernment and corruption of Southern Africa. Why? Let them look East for aid.’
  • ·         The Vigil is sorry to see that Botswana has toned down its criticism of the elections after bullying by other SADC members at the recent meeting in Malawi. We urge President Khama to continue his support of oppressed Zimbabweans.
  • ·         A South Korean film crew came and interviewed several of us about the situation in Zimbabwe. We doubt our comments assisted Mugabe’s Look East policy.
  • ·         Thanks to Patricia Masamba, Harmony Mbele, Rose Maponga and Ishmael Makina who arrived early to help set up. Thanks also to Daniel Nyoni who took down the rain-drenched tarpaulin at the end.

 

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: 27 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ·         ROHR Executive meeting. Saturday 7th September at 11 am. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
  • ·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 7th September from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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.
  • ·         Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 21st September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
  • ·         Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012. 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 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.
  • ·         Facebook pages:

-         Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts

-         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

-         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835

 

Vigil co-ordinators

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://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

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