via What country friends is this? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th January 2014 January 26, 2014 at 6:01pm
The Vigil is to protest at a Zanu PF-backed visit to London by a delegation of Zimbabwean business leaders. The demonstration will take place on Tuesday outside the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House where the delegation will be appealing for international investment and the removal of targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.
The delegation is led by Charles Msipa, President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and Managing Director of Schweppes Zimbabwe. Mr Msipa is said to be a member of a secret business committee of Zanu PF for which he mobilises funds. He played a big role in the farm invasions and is a close ally of former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, the looter in chief of state diamonds.
The once-respected Chatham House think tank has bent over backwards in recent years to sanitise Mugabe’s misrule. The meeting is private but we are told that the invitation to the select few reads: ‘With five consecutive years of positive growth, prospects for investment in Zimbabwe remain strong and as the dust from the election period settles the government is increasingly looking towards attracting international investors as a means of boosting further economic recovery in the country.’
We at the Vigil want to show them that they are wrong in thinking the ‘dust’ from the stolen elections is settling. We have asked well-known people in Zimbabwe what they think of the delegation. Here are their comments:
- ‘There can be no real progress here until they recognise certain fundamentals – international recognition (more than the lifting of restrictions on a few individuals), the rule of law, respect for property rights, indigenisation (another form of asset grabbing). At the same time we must deal with corruption at all levels – but start at the top.’
- ‘In local business there is huge capital flight at the moment because business confidence is so incredibly low. Companies continue to close. It will take more than a few sweet words from some ZANU businessmen in Chatham House to convince anyone that any investment in Zimbabwe will be safe when we look at the current laws, the past history and the policies and practices of the present!’
- ‘As long as there is an absence of the rule of law and property rights, and while threats hang over foreign businesses, investors will not come. It’s obvious. No-one trusts the Mugabe government; not even the Chinese. Chinamasa looked pretty glum when China, like the IMF and the World Bank, first wanted to see clear cut and credible recovery and repayment plans. Looking at the global economy, investment is shifting away from emerging markets – even South Africa, where growth in slowing. So what chance does Zimbabwe have?’
Our contacts referred us to recent comments by the former Finance Minister Tendai Biti. Here’s what he said about Zanu PF’s economic policies: ‘The biggest problem with Zanu PF is that they don’t understand money and the economy. They are functionally illiterate. They think that money grows on trees. People just believe in spending, spending, spending. It’s like a broiler chicken. The broiler just eats. It doesn’t know why it’s eating. It eats itself to death. It’s consumption for the sake of consumption. It’s oblivious of where the food is coming from. It just eats 24 hours a day. So they have got a broiler chicken syndrome, they are oblivious kuti mari inobva kupi.’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_biti-attacks-ailing-mugabe-warns-of-coup/ – Biti attacks ailing Mugabe, warns of coup).
As we are not allowed into the meeting, we suggest the following questions might be asked of the broiler chickens:
- Why is Zimbabwe asking Britain to pay the school fees of 1 million children when the new constitution provides for free schooling? (See: Zimbabwe asks Britain for funds to educate a million children – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_zimbabwe-asks-britain-for-funds-to-educate-a-million-children/)
- Why is a so-called loan to Zimbabwe from the African Development Bank funded by the UK and other reviled Western donors? (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_zim-receives-western-funded-bailout-for-water-and-power/ – Zim receives Western funded ‘bailout’ for water and power)
- Why should the West give any money to Zimbabwe at all when all they get in return is abuse? (See: Rowdy Zanu PF youths disrupt US Embassy event – http://www.swradioafrica.com/2014/01/24/rowdy-zanu-pf-youths-disrupt-us-embassy-meeting/)
- Why, when civil servants, even after their recent pay rise, can still earn less that $400 a month, should a Zanu PF crony earn $230,000 a month for running the bankrupt medical aid society for public servants? (see: Of Wages, Degrees and Awards: Alex Magaisa – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_of-wages-degrees-and-awards-alex-magaisa/).
- Why do public projects collapse in Zimbabwe such as the Plumtree-Mutare road rehabilitation project? (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_road-rehabilitation-project-collapses/ – Road rehabilitation project collapses)
- We would also ask the delegation what they think of a country where a man has been in jail for 16 years awaiting a verdict because the court has lost his papers (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_justice-hungwe-to-explain-10-year-judgment-delay/ – Justice Hungwe to explain 10-year judgment delay).
- For details of the Chatham House demo on Tuesday 28th January see ‘Events and Notices’ section.
- The Vigil was caught short by sudden torrential rain and we had to hastily put up our tarpaulin. Thanks to Ishmael Makina, Nkosikona Tshabangu and Kelvin Kamupira who got soaked to the skin putting up the tarpaulin and Bridget Zhakata and Shylette Chipangura who stood guard at our table in the pouring rain.
- Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu appears in a video discussing the film ‘The King and the People’ about the absolute monarchy of King Mswati of Swaziland (http://www.watershed.co.uk/dshed/king-and-people-directors-qa).
- See below for the last quarter summary of the 2013 Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights (October – December).
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013: October – December
Saturday 5th October: Up to a quarter of Zimbabwe’s people have fled the country – among them the best educated. Reading the Herald one can see the disastrous result of this exodus. ‘Elementary studies of economics inform us that production occurs in three levels which are primary, secondary and tertiary and of the late, the fourth level which is quaternary’, goes one article The writer says a ‘paradigm shift’ in Zimbabwe is ‘the panacea that will lift our nation from the doldrums of quagmire that the economic forces of this age have relegated us to’ . . . The reality is that the flight from Zimbabwe looks, if anything, like increasing as NoPresident Mugabe reneges on his election promises of pay rises, investment in industry etc and the economy moves from primary to secondary and tertiary then ‘quaternary’.
Saturday 12th October: With the UN Secretary-General’s congratulations on his election ‘victory’ ringing in his ears, NoPresident Mugabe ventured to join us at the Vigil as we marked our 11th anniversary. Played by Vigil stalwart Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing our Mugabe mask, he carried a poster reading ‘Thanks UN’. Betrayed by SADC, the AU, the EU and now the UN, Zimbabweans have been abandoned to our fate. How the diaspora can help the people at home was discussed at a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil. The forum was addressed by Ephraim Tapa, Vigil founder member, who is to chair the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ All-Stakeholders’ Conference which is to be held in London on 24th October.
Saturday 19th October: The Vigil’s initiative in arranging a diaspora conference in London has met with predictable abuse by Zanu PF trolls prowling the internet. We think every CIO agent – when they are not out beating people up – spends his office hours in cyber disinformation in the relentless war against truth. Zanu PF’s latest flatulent blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) is no asset as far as we can see. It says: ‘Government would among other things undertake a national blitz to rehabilitate water supplies, sewerage systems, roads, health facilities and schools in all urban centres, institute measures to improve processes at the Registrar General’s Office by December 2013 . . .’ Fat chance!
Thursday 24th October: Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe was a keynote speaker at the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ conference. Kate deplored international acceptance of the outcome of the sham elections. She said it was up to the diaspora to create a powerful voice to make the UK government listen – particularly about sanctions when they come up for debate in the EU in February. She said the diaspora had a responsibility to let the world know what was happening in Zimbabwe and went on to describe the Vigil as ‘a shining light these long years’ and added ‘you have been right when politicians have been wrong’. The conference was attended by about 70 people and messages of support came from the US, South Africa, Australia and Zimbabwe.
Saturday 26th October: The Vigil is sending a note to the Home Office asking whether they rejoice in the presence in the UK of London-based Bishop Climate Irungu, ‘founder of World Conquerors Christian Centre’, who said ‘the people of Zimbabwe rejoiced in their current leadership’. We advise the Home Office to also look into Spirit Embassy founder Prophet Angel who says he’s worth more than $60 million and has interests in the United Kingdom. ‘Money makes me happy and I have lots of it.’ he said to thunderous applause.
Saturday 2nd November: The Zimbabwean diaspora speaking from London has rejected the 31st July elections as rigged and has demanded new elections under international supervision after promised reforms have been made. It wants the opposition in Zimbabwe to resist Mugabe at every step and challenge him on issues such as the diaspora vote, dual nationality and the position of so-called aliens. These decisions were made at a meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil. In attendance were members of a task force nominated at the ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ Conference to carry forward the work of the conference.
Friday 8th November: Police were called to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, otherwise known as Chatham House, when a group of Vigil supporters staged a demonstration protesting at the recognition given to Mugabe’s visiting Tourism Minister (and farm looter) Walter Mzembi. Mzembi had been invited to speak during his visit to London for an international tourism conference. African diplomats in dapper black suits and shiny black shoes glared poison at the demonstrators as they went into the venue. Soon afterwards a police van arrived and a policeman went into Chatham House. He quickly re-emerged and gave us a friendly wave before driving off. (We had arranged police permission for the protest.) 1 – 0 to the Vigil.
Saturday 9th November: It is already clear that manipulation by the mercenary Israeli company Nikuv was a decisive factor in Mugabe’s ‘victory’. The Vigil is sending an open letter to the Israeli Prime Minister and the people of Israel: For the last 33 years Zimbabweans have been fighting to end the Mugabe dictatorship so they too can enjoy the fruits of democracy and good governance. It is wholly unacceptable that their hopes for a better future were once again ruthlessly dashed because Mugabe had help from an Israeli company Nikuv. Nikuv corrupted the voters roll so that nearly one million voters were denied the right to vote on election-day. It is no exaggeration to say it was Nikuv which delivered election victory to Mugabe considering the tyrant’s winning margin was one million.
Saturday 16th November: At a meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil, it was agreed to approach Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for advice on legal options open to us to challenge the rigged elections. Also discussed were calls by some MDC leaders for the lifting of the targeted measures against Mugabe cronies on the grounds that these sanctions provided a fig-leaf for Mugabe’s mis-governance. The Vigil’s view is that sanctions should be continued and indeed extended to include those who rigged the elections.
Saturday 23rd November: As winter closes in on us at the Vigil, we are in despair at Zimbabwe’s hopeless government. We read that MDC MP Eddie Cross says that nothing is being done to tackle corruption. He says: ‘I cannot think of a single Minister (perhaps one and even he is questionable) that is not guilty of gross corruption.’
Friday 29th November: We are grateful to Wilbert Mukori for representing us at a conference in Holland organised by the Zimbabwe Europe Network. He said it was clear the EU wanted to lift sanctions and they were prepared to accept the elections even though they know they were rigged.
Saturday 30th November: The Vigil is launching a campaign to alert British MPs and other opinion formers to the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe as the EU moves to lift the remaining targeted measures. Supporters are being asked to send the following letter to MPs etc: Zimbabweans in the UK are grateful for the sanctuary we have been given here in these desperate days for our homeland . . . Our hopes of change were dashed in July when the elections were stolen with the help of the Chinese and the Israeli ballot-rigging company, Nikuv, ending the four year coalition with the Movement for Democratic Change . . . The end of the restraining MDC influence on the government and the exposure of the hollowness of Zanu PF election promises threaten to lead to a new lurch to a North Korean-type siege mentality.
Saturday 7th December: As we mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, the Vigil was shocked to learn that the UN has apparently agreed to divert some of the aid going to help Zimbabwe’s starving people to help instead pay for the illegal regime’s pie-in-the-sky economic development plan. The Vigil is sending an open letter to the UK’s International Development Secretary: We appeal to the UK government not to allow any of its aid to be diverted to prop up the Mugabe regime and, in particular, we call on it to exercise vigilance to stop aid being denied to opponents of the Mugabe regime . . Vigil supporters joined mourners outside the nearby South African High Commission. We recall how when Mandela visited London in 2008 we confronted him with a banner saying: ‘Mandela ignores Mugabe’s terror. Shame / Mandela speak out. Support a free Zimbabwe’. That very evening he spoke of a failure of leadership in Zimbabwe.
Saturday 14th December: The man hired by South Africa to interpret the Mandela memorial proceedings to the deaf turns out to be a schizophrenic fraud. His gestures were apparently as meaningless as those of President Zuma, whom the Vigil remembers as a man who betrayed his promise to deliver free and fair elections to Zimbabweans.
Saturday 21st December: The Vigil welcomes signs that the MDC is emerging from its catatonic state following the stolen elections. Five months after we at the Vigil demanded new elections the MDC has now come on board and demanded a rerun. In an end of year statement Tsvangirai said: ‘The lesson from the July 31 poll is that all reforms, including security sector and media reforms, that were agreed to under the GPA are mandatory’. Hallelujah!
Saturday 28th December: We appeal to western embassies in Harare to urgently investigate new reports that food aid is being refused to opposition supporters. This comes despite the announcement that the UK is pouring more money into feeding Zimbabwe.
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: 32 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Chatham House demo against visiting Zimbabwe businessmen: from 4-5 pm on Tuesday 28th January outside Chatham House, 10 St James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4LE. Nearest underground: Piccadilly Circus. Directions: walk south down Regent Street then almost immediately right into Jermyn Street. Take the second road on the left, Duke of York Street which leads into St James’s Square. Chatham House is on the corner of Duke of York Street and St James’s Square. If you can’t find the venue meet outside Lillywhites, the big sports shop at Piccadilly Circus between 3.30 and 3.50 pm. There will be someone there to direct you to Chatham House.
- ROHR Central London meeting. Saturday 1st February 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 1st February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
- Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 8th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- 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 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.
- 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.