The Vigil is advising the British government not to agree to Mugabe’s request to pay for the education of 750,000 Zimbabwean primary school children. The British government last month said it was considering the request. But the Vigil believes that if Mugabe deals with rampant corruption his regime would be able to honour the constitutional requirement that basic education must be compulsory and free (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_zimbabwe-fails-to-pay-fees-for-750000-desperate-children/ – Zimbabwe Fails to Pay Fees for 750,000 Desperate Children).
The Vigil’s view is explained in a letter to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID). Our letter follows up DFID’s response to concerns we expressed about development assistance to Zimbabwe falling into the hands of the rapacious Mugabe gang (see Vigil diary of 7th December 2013: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/551-mugabe-grabs-aid-money-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-7th-december-2013).
DFID acknowledges that some British money had been routed through the Mugabe regime in contravention of DFID’s funding policy in Zimbabwe and said it was strengthening its controls ‘to ensure that there can be no repeat of this kind of mistake in future’ (see our campaigns page for full text of DFID’s letter: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/565-reply-from-dfid–6th-february-2014). Here’s our reply to Ms Greening:
The Zimbabwe Vigil is glad to hear from your Department that you will continue to monitor every penny of UK aid being used to help the people of Zimbabwe and will undertake robust due diligence on all your ‘ implementing partners’.
We are grateful for the UK’s continuing humanitarian relief for Zimbabwe in the face of ungrateful insults from the Zanu PF regime but we have doubts that foreign aid will benefit the people of Zimbabwe rather than prop up the illegal regime.
In particular, the Vigil advises you not to agree to Mugabe’s request to pay for the education of 750.000 Zimbabwean primary school children. Recent revelations from the heart of the Zanu PF mafia have exposed how Zimbabwe has been impoverished by corruption on an Olympian scale. While the average income is a dollar or so a day, the Zanu PF cronies running the bankrupt parastatal organisations are having to scrape by on as little as US$500,000 a month (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_ministers-slept-on-duty-charamba-newsday-zimbabwe/ – Ministers slept on duty – Charamba).
The Vigil believes that if this looting was stopped there would be plenty of money to pay for all deprived Zimbabwean primary school children to go to school. We think Mugabe’s funding request is particularly provocative because he is challenging you to, in effect, finance his looting of the Zimbabwean economy.
- · The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia is reported to have said that Mugabe has been invited to attend the AU / EU summit scheduled for Brussels on 2 / 3 April. The Vigil would be disgusted if this is true but if he does go to Belgium for a nonagenarian sleepover, we will be there to try and keep him awake.
- · Our sister organisation, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), staged a protest demonstration in Harare on Friday in a show of support for Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni’s fight to cleanse the city council of corruption. (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_harare-residents-march-in-support-of-mayor/ – Harare residents march in support of Mayor).
- · We are distressed that our good supporter Try Mahachi has been detained facing deportation to Zimbabwe. Try has played a powerful role at the Vigil, leading the singing, drumming and prayer and we will do all we can to secure his safety.
- · People at home have had heavy rains and flooding but we think we have had worse here in the UK. After the wettest January for 250 years, February has been no improvement. We started the Vigil in pouring rain and strong winds which even blew over our heavy table. Thanks to those who valiantly guarded the Vigil and put up the tarpaulin: Bridget Zhakata, Audrey Mandaza (and small daughter Mwanatsa), Rosemary Maponga, Tendayi Chataika, Sekai Kawada, Tarsisos Gomwe, Patricia Nyawo and Fungayi Mabhunu. Particular thanks to Fungayi who got soaked tying the cat’s cradle of rope to our four maple trees to support the tarpaulin.
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: 54 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- · Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 15th February from 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 15th February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
- · Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 22nd February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- · ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: Fri 28 Feb – The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY; Fri 4 Apr – Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds LS7 3PD; Sat 5 Apr – Selby Town Hall, York Street, Selby, North Yorkshire,YO8 4AJ; Sat 24, Sun 25 & Mon 26 May – Brighton Fringe Festival, Malborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton BN2 1RD. Booking details can be found at www.chickenshed.org.uk/whatson.
- · ROHR Reading Branch general meeting. Saturday 15th March from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu (Chairman) 07877386792, Charles D Ndlovu (Organising Secretary) 07413879590, Mary Eluwasi (Vice Organising Secretary) 07888310582.
- · 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.
- · Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- · Facebook pages:
- · Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). For more information about this organisation, check: www.zunde.org.
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.