via Graceless Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th April 2014 April 6, 2014 at 6:53pm
Our Mugabe mask got another outing at an EU / Africa Summit when the Vigil demonstrated in Brussels on Wednesday against the EU’s craven invitation to Mugabe to attend the meeting despite being ‘the last man standing’ on the sanctions list.
The mask was first ‘unmasked’ in 2007 when a large group of Vigil supporters demonstrated in Lisbon against the EU’s decision to allow Mugabe to attend the Summit there.
The EU must have congratulated itself when Mugabe didn’t pitch up for the Brussels meeting, complaining that the invitation did not extend to Grace. The EU rightly reckoned that Africa would ignore Mugabe’s demand to boycott the Summit because of the graceless invitation.
Zanu PF seems to have realised that it overplayed its hand. It knows that Zuma, in his own interests, will side with Mugabe but the rest of Africa has clearly decided that there is a limit to how far senile posturing can take us. Mugabe must change his own nappy.
It was left to the Vigil to represent Zimbabwe in Brussels, which must have dismayed the scores of Mugabe flunkeys on big expense allowances who normally infest his foreign trips like fleas on a goat. David Kadzutu and Peter Sidindi of our partner organisation Zimbabwe Yes We Can took turns to don the Mugabe mask and enlighten the world about Mugabe’s vision: poverty, disease and corruption. They passed around our posters reading: ‘No to vote-rigger Mugabe’, ‘EU / AU supports dictator Mugabe’, ‘EU / AU supports Zimbabwe’s illegal regime’ and ‘No to AU dictators’.
The ‘No to AU dictators’ poster was particularly popular with the hundreds of Mauritanian protesters we were grouped with who showed great interest in our cause. There were migrants from all over Africa demonstrating at the conference and groups were all given two-hour time slots. Judging from the leaflets we found when we arrived, our predecessors had included Rwandans protesting against their ‘dictator Paul Kagame’.
We were inspired by the endurance of Vigil supporter Ruwimbo Melody Tembo who left Stafford at 1.30 am to catch the coach from Birmingham at 3 am, arriving in Brussels at 5 pm and only getting back to Birmingham at 12.30 pm the next afternoon, finally getting home at 1.30 pm – 36 hours on the go for a two-hour demo!
We were glad that Ruwimbo and the other participants in the Brussels excursion were able to attend the Vigil today, and most of them went on to a meeting down the Strand at the India Club for our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). More than 30 people attended and heard Ephraim Tapa report on a recent visit back home during which he had discussions with embassies in Harare. More importantly, he met with prominent opposition leaders who suggested co-operation with the diaspora represented by the Vigil coalition. There was a lively discussion of this at the ZAF meeting and it was agreed that we would bring the next meeting forward to next Saturday (12th April) to enable us to reach decisions on this overture.
- Fungayi Mabhunu reported that a friend had visited police headquarters in Harare and found them looking at pictures of the Vigil including some showing a Vigil supporter wearing our Mugabe mask. This sort of information is quite useful to present to the Home Office when they ask why Zimbabwean Vigil activists cannot be sent home.
- We were pleased to be joined by supporters we have not seen for a while: Josie Zhuga, Louisa Musaerenge and Caroline Witts on her bi-monthly trip from Exeter.
- Thanks to Chipo Musodza and Joseph Chivayo who were there at the start of the Vigil to help set up.
- Statistic of the week: apparently 7,700 people are employed by the Indigenisation Ministry (see: Chinamasa in wage bill Catch-22 – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_chinamasa-in-wage-bill-catch-22/). No wonder the country is bankrupt.
- Ominous report of the week: the Israeli-ballot-rigging company Nikuv has not only moved into the King George VI army barracks in Harare but has apparently ordered 7 container loads of ballot-rigging material for the 2018 elections (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_shock-2018-vote-claims/ – Shock 2018 vote claims).
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: 64 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 12th April from 6.15 pm. NB: this forum has been moved forward a week to continue important discussion of the 5/04/2014 ZAF. 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 sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Meeting – Saturday 19th April at 12 noon. The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
- Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ‘The Rain that Washes’ national tour: 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.
- 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.
- Facebook pages:
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.