No President Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

NoPresident Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th September 2013 

A pom pom from the Vigil for NoViolet Bulawayo who has been chosen as one of the finalists for the prestigious Man Booker prize for best novel of the year written by someone from the Commonwealth (still including the Irish Republic and Zimbabwe!)

NoViolet, whose book is titled ‘We Need New Names’, says her own name means ‘with Violet’ in memory of her mother who died when she was eighteen months old. The Vigil hopes she wins the prize but to have progressed from the long to the short list is a great honour anyway. The winner will be announced on 15th October. The publishers Chatto and Windus gave us some copies of the book and we have been passing them around so everyone can read it. ‘Harrowing but compelling’ was how our first review went (see: http://zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/503-no-good-gnus–zimbabwe-vigil-diary-6th-july-2013).

NoViolet, now 31, gave an interview to the UK’s Guardian newspaper earlier this month about a visit home in April – the first time she had been back for thirteen years. It is clear that she shares our fears as we face the consequences of another stolen election. ‘It was a strange country,’ Bulawayo told the Guardian. ‘I went there in search of the Zimbabwe I knew and it was a shock: power cuts, water cuts, just driving down the streets the potholes were amazing, and 80% of the population not working. Just seeing the desperation, wherever you went, people were struggling. That was a picture of the country that I never knew.’

She expressed dismay that Mugabe was hailed by some abroad as one of Africa’s leading statesmen and went on ‘My  generation is known as the born free generation: we really don’t buy this stance against the West because we are aware of our problems, and our problems are really specifically home grown. I feel like it’s a distraction, it’s time people faced up to who and what is our problem. The election wasn’t stolen by the West, the violence of 2008 wasn’t carried out by the West. It’s time to deal with facts as they affect us.’

NoViolet continued: ‘For me, life outside the homeland is a story of perpetual mourning for what is gone’ (see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/04/noviolet-bulawayo-homecoming-mugabe-zimbabwe – NoViolet Bulawayo tells of heartbreak of homecoming in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe).  The Vigil expects that this mourning is likely to continue for the foreseeable future judging by the cabinet announced by NoPresident Mugabe. For all their big talk, a bleak picture is painted in the latest economic report on Zimbabwe by the World Bank (see: World Bank paints a gloomy outlook for Zim – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_world-bank-paints-a-gloomy-outlook-for-zim/).

Although salaries already take 70% of government revenue, new public service minister Goche says a priority is to raise civil service pay . . . but even if all government revenue is devoted to the payroll there will still not be enough money to lift civil servants above the poverty datum line!

Other points

  • ·         Another report for our occasional SADC Watch. ANC’s ‘turd’ force: An article by the leader of the South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille, exposes the hollowness of President Zuma’s democratic pretensions. Ms Zille is the Premier of the Western Cape, the only South African province not ruled by the ANC. She speaks of ANC activists inciting a violent rebellion against the provincial authorities with the connivance of national leaders (see:http://www.da.org.za/newsroom.htm?action=view-news-item&id=12818 – SA Today: A Thin and Broken Blue Line).
  • ·         Although we were few in numbers we were visited by some starry fashion models taking part in London’s Fashion Week. They posed with us wearing clothes by the Russian designer Annoush on their way to a catwalk show down the road at Somerset House.

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: 19 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ·         Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 21st September from 12 noon. 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 Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 21st September from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
  • ·         Zimbabwe Vigil’s 11th Anniversary. Saturday 12th October.
  • ·         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 ishttp://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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