Mugabe’s EU Cheerleader – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st June 2014
The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF), meeting after the Saturday Vigil, condemned pro-Mugabe comments by the EU’s Ambassador to Harare Aldo Dell’Ariccia. The loud-mouthed diplomat openly showed his colours when he addressed a meeting in Harare. ‘Luckily we don’t have a leadership crisis in this country’, he said, sounding for all the world like Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba.
Dell’Ariccia went on to rebuke NGOs for being confrontational and unconstructive and added ‘I have the impression that you are a little bit anchored in the past where instead of seeing NGOs one perceives AGOs – anti-government organisations’. The empty-headed envoy went on to condemn civil society for being critical of Zanu PF’s electioneering Zim-Asset plan, which shows no signs of delivering on any of its promises.
The ZAF meeting voted to send the following letter to Dell’Ariccia’s boss Catherine Ashton to complain about his outrageous intervention in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs:
To the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton
Zimbabweans driven into exile are horrified to see that the EU’s Ambassador in Harare has come out openly in support of the illegitimate Mugabe regime.
It appears to us that the EU is bending over backwards to embrace Mugabe despite his refusal to hold free and fair elections or make any reforms to correct the abuses which prompted the EU to adopt its targeted measures against him and his cronies,
We know that the hundred or so diplomats from the EU make up the mainstay of the cocktail circuit in Harare but we cannot believe that they are too busy to inform you of the desperate situation in which our families and friends find themselves.
Unlike your Ambassador to Harare, we do not believe that this situation is being perpetuated by NGOs (or anti-government organisations, as he calls them), or civil society as a whole, let alone the besieged political opposition.
We suggest that you recall Mr Dell’Ariccia for re-education in diplomacy rather than allow him to spend his time cosying up to a tyrant.
Supporters of the Zimbabwe Vigil particularly asked that you should be reminded that, a year on since the rigged elections, the voters’ roll has still not been made available, that there is no rule of law, human rights violations are continuing, the national infrastructure has largely collapsed, including the education and health services, there is rampant corruption and unemployment is at more than 80%.
We draw your attention to a recent report that women, with babies on their backs, are walking 18 kilometres to a rubbish dump to collect gleanings (fat from cooking pots). Returning home they have been attacked and raped by knife-wielding criminals.
- ZAF convenor Ephraim Tapa told the meeting that it was clear that the European Union was trying to promote the idea that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe. The meeting was presented with some of the ideas emerging from the ZAF working group. In a general discussion the following points were raised: Activating the diaspora was an important part of the work of the ZAF team. It would be sensible to work through ROHR which already has branches around the UK. It would also be important to connect with the diaspora elsewhere, especially in South Africa. It was suggested we engage the SA diaspora by dealing with their immediate problems such as getting papers. Other ideas included that we needed to work out what relationship ZAF, the Vigil, ROHR and ZWC would have with the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe and the need to reach out to the people on the ground in Zimbabwe, education on constitutional rights being a priority.
- Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu and Tendai Chadehumbe for arriving early to help set up 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: 31 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Reading Branch general meeting. Saturday 28th June from 2 pm – 5 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London St, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Erick Eluwasi, the Information and Publicity Officer on 07532021348
- ROHR Slough Branch general meeting. Saturday 28th June from 1 pm – 3.30 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW. For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chairperson on 07708116625, Nkosikona Tshabangu Vice Chairperson 07887398247, Sharon Zimuto Secretary 07988165394, Fungisai Mupandira 077988958803, Iline Manhunzi Treasurer 07824886092 and Tichaona Mafokosho Information and Publicity 07939696521.
- ROHR Middlesbrough general meeting. Saturday 28th June from 2 pm – 5 pm. Please contact Masimba Musodza(Chairman) 07581887359, Xoliso Sithole (Treasurer) 07449005447, Helen Sibanda (Secretary) 07799574994, Ndumiso Ncube (Organising Secretary) 0744852232.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 5th July 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 Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 5th July from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
- ROHR Central London general meeting. Saturday 19th July from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 26th July at 12 noon. Venue: 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.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy
- For the Zimbabwean Diary check: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/entertainment/film-and-theatre/71964/welcome-to-whats-on.html.
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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:/www.zimvigil.co.uk