President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are reportedly
embroiled in a fight over a suitable candidate to replace Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) chair person Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe who is believed
to be considering quitting the post to remain on the Namibian bench.
Impeccable sources told NewsDay yesterday that Tsvangirai and Mugabe had a
heated debate over the issue late last year with the Premier pushing for
retired Supreme Court judge Justice Wilson Sandura.
However, the sources said Mugabe shot down Sandura’s name but proffered no
Sources said Mugabe was uneasy with Justice Sandura leading the electoral
commission because of the latter’s alleged refusal to toe the Zanu PF line.
Justice Sandura headed the “Sandura Commission” set up by Mugabe in the late
1980s to probe corruption in government where five senior Zanu PF
politicians later resigned in shame after they were exposed in the Willovale
Sources said Tsvangirai was now considering roping in a top University of
Zimbabwe law professor (name supplied) as a possible replacement for
“Mutambanengwe as you know, is in Namibia on a full time job and indications
are that he will be resigning any time and the Prime Minister is in the
process of negotiating with someone to take up the post,” said a source.
“It’s too early to give the name of the person because it will muddy the
waters and will collapse everything,” the source added.
But chief-of-staff in the Prime Minister’s office Alex Magaisa said he was
yet to be briefed by his boss who is currently on holiday while Presidential
spokesperson George Charamba could not be reached for comment yesterday as
his mobile number was not reachable.
Zec is responsible for the management of all elections and referendums
including the election of Senate president, Speaker of the House of Assembly
and local authorities.
The commission is also responsible for the delimitation of wards,
constituencies, directing, controlling, supervising the registration of
voters, designing, printing and distribution of ballot papers. - NewsDay
Staff Reporter 22 hours 19 minutes ago
MDC-T yesterday claimed it had unearthed what it termed a dirty Zanu PF
campaign gimmick involving sponsorship of more than 10 bogus residents’
associations to decampaign sitting MDC-T public officials in Harare
The party also claimed that there was a plot by Zanu PF to coerce residents,
particularly in Mbare and Epworth, to attend their meetings, failure of
which they would face unspecified action.
MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa confirmed the alleged plot and
accused Zanu PF of intensifying its intimidation tactics ahead of harmonised
elections expected this year.
“They will be targeting MDC officials and there are plots to assassinate
some of them but they are forgetting that politics is not a game of
wrestling and is not even synonymous with murder,” said Chamisa.
“They want to form bogus residents’ associations meant to destabilise and
intimidate any MDC official, in particular MPs and councillors.
“It’s more or less the Chipangano type of intimidation to unleash a reign of
terror. In Epworth they want to put paint on people’s houses to easily
recognise MDC supporters whose house will have a red mark while the Zanu PF
houses will have a green mark to unleash almost the Nazi type of
MDC-T claimed that Zanu PF’s “dirty campaign” tactics were likely to
increase as the country gears for elections.
Investigations by NewsDay have shown the mushrooming of residents’
associations purporting to represent the interests of residents against the
MDC-T dominated councils.
In Mbare, a Zanu PF-aligned association has been established to run
alongside similar organisations in Kuwadzana, Epworth, Kambuzuma,
Mabvuku-Tafara and other areas.
However, Zanu PF provincial youth chairperson Jim Kunaka rubbished the
claims and accused MDC-T of running scared and seeing non-existent shadows.
Kunaka singled out Chamisa and Mbare MP Piniel Denga as having failed to
bring meaningful development to their constituencies.
“If you go to Chamisa’s constituency in Kuwadzana and ask him what he has
done for the people, there is nothing.
“If you go to Mbare ask Piniel Denga the same. There is nothing to show for
the five years they have been in public office,” said Kunaka.
“We are mobilising and selling our party policies to the people and we will
not engage in violence.
“We call for unity, peace and development and we don’t tolerate violence at
“The President was very clear in Gweru that elections will go ahead this
year and we have a mandate as young people to mobilise and persuade people
to vote for Zanu PF,” he said. - NewsDay
SUNDAY, 06 JANUARY 2013 00:20 EUGENE MAJURU
Zimbabweans in the diaspora are breaking the law by acquiring dual birth
certificates for their children and the government says it will come down
hard on them.
“We do not allow dual citizenship in this country, when someone gives birth
in a foreign land they are supposed to be given what is called a birth
acknowledgement note which informs us of a birth of a Zimbabwean outside.
This is then used to acquire a birth certificate in Zimbabwe,” said Home
Affairs co-Minister Kembo Mohadi.
Investigations by Sunday News revealed that many Zimbabweans especially
those based in South Africa were using fraudulent ways to acquire birth
certificates for their children born in that country.
According to a source that is close to the happenings at the Registrar
General’s office in Bulawayo, it is alleged that birth certificates being
issued at sub offices around the region were issued in a fraudulent manner
with some parents acquiring the certificates for children born outside the
country without following the right procedures.
It is said some children are born in neighbouring countries such as South
Africa and Botswana where they are issued with birth certificates from that
end; the same parent then comes to Zimbabwe to register the same child and
obtains a Zimbabwean birth certificate but does not renounce the foreign
The child then enjoys privileges from the countries they were born at the
same time having Zimbabwean particulars. Parents intending to obtain a birth
certificate for children born outside are allegedly asked to pay $50.
“The parent produced South African documents when they wanted to get a
Zimbabwean birth certificate only to be told that the fee is slightly more
than a locally born child then they decided to just register the child as a
Zimbabwean born child,” said the source.
The officials then questioned the parents and revealed that she registered
the child in the neighbouring country and wanted to register in Zimbabwe
again so that the child can access documentation easily. These parents were
not willing to renounce foreign citizenship.
According to an official at the registry, if a child is issued with an
external birth certificate which indicates that they were born outside the
country but are Zimbabwean, there are certain challenges that follow when
they want to secure other documents.
This had made parents bribe processing officers various amounts of money to
acquire the Zimbabwean birth certificates without birth records some paying
as much as $100.
However, Bulawayo provincial registrar Mrs Jane Peters professed ignorance
over the issue when she was contacted for comment.
“I do not know anything about it, as far as I am concerned we are still
issuing birth certificates at sub offices,” she said before hanging up the
The practice has been happening at sub offices mainly as they are not strict
on birth confirmation record as most children are from the rural areas or
out skirts of the region and are born at home.
Parents from the diaspora however provide false information to officers so
that they are not asked to produce birth records and pretend the child was
born at home.
Birth records are a pre-requisite for the acquisition of birth certificates.
Birth records give proof of the place where the child was born; detailing
the hospital and the ward where the child was born, the identity of the
delivery nurse, as well as the name of the mother, and the name given to the
child upon birth.
This requirement is very important as it guards against the theft of
children and illegal adoptions. This has made the sub offices issue hundreds
of birth certificates to people coming from outside the country taking
advantage of the loophole and parents who fail to pay required maternity
This situation has prompted the RG’s office to centralise the issuing of
birth certificates for the mean time.
“The issuing of birth certificates has now been centralised due to this
anomaly and will commence as soon as the situation is normalised hopefully.
Our superiors just gave us the directive to stop issuing birth
certificates,” said the source.
Minister Mohadi said it was an administrative issue that the issuing of
birth certificates at sub offices had been stopped.
“It is an administrative issue that they have stopped issuing birth
certificates at sub offices that I cannot talk about but we will institute
investigations and ensure that perpetrators of this crime are brought to
book,” he said.
The source said people from sub offices have been sending their documents to
the district offices (Bulawayo and Umguza) for vetting but for the past
three months no documents have been approved and people still have to come
to the district office.
This they say has created many challenges as people have to travel from far
areas such as Lupane, Tsholotsho, Hwange, Umguza and other areas to access
birth certificates as the sub offices have become defunct to a great extent.
The source further said this situation had created a lot of pressure at the
district offices as many people are flocking to the offices. This manner of
acquiring documents fraudulently is reportedly occurring in various centres
around the country too. - News Dze Zimbabwe
Sunday, 06 January 2013 13:06
HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) this week reportedly quizzed a top
official from Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube’s MDC party on
allegations of recruiting army personnel into his party.
Goodrich Chimbaira, Ncube’s national chairperson told the Daily News on
Sunday, yesterday he met with three army personnel from the military police
at his shopping complex in Chitungwiza last Wednesday who accused him of
creating a secret army to unleash violence ahead of elections.
“Three soldiers from the military police called me for a meeting at my
complex. They said they were investigating allegations that I had created an
army to harass Zanu PF supporters,” said Chimbaira.
“I think they are acting on Zanu PF’s instructions and have a sinister
motive behind because having no military back ground, where would I get the
capacity to recruit soldiers for my party. I think they are up to no good
and it does not make me comfortable,” said Chimbaira.
This follows allegations by Zanu PF members that a ZNA member Mabasa Mutanga
was working with the MDC formation to destabilise party structures in the
Party youths demanded that Mutanga write a report to their district
chairperson Funny Katewa explaining his association with Chimbaira which he
In the report to Katewa dated December 27, 2012, a copy of which is in our
possession, Mutanga whose rank and station was not given declared his
unwavering support for Zanu PF. Mutanga said he was employed to serve Zanu
PF interests and that he would not forsake the party that feeds him for any
“While I take cognisance of the fact that as a soldier, I was employed to
serve the government and the people and the government and the people are
Zanu PF (sic). I have never turned my back to bite the hand that feeds me
for any opposition party, more-so opposition in the form of MDC which is the
only enemy we are fighting,” wrote Mutanga.
Ncube’s MDC national spokesperson Nhlahla Dube however, dismissed the
allegations as cheap propaganda by Zanu PF to portray itself as victims of
violence when they are the perpetrators.
“Such allegations are cheap propaganda by Zanu PF to play victim and must be
dismissed with the contempt that they deserve. The only army we have is the
Zimbabwe national army and the only quasi-military we know is the one used
by Zanu PF to unleash violence against the people.
“We are a democratic party that believes in democratic change. We are
however, aware that the ascendancy of Ncube up the political ladder has
unsettled many hence the intimidation but that cannot be halted,” he said.
Contacted by the Daily News on Sunday, Mutanga confirmed he authored the
“I am Zanu PF because the party gave me my job way before the advent of the
MDC. It is true I wrote the letter and my intention was to reaffirm my
allegiance to the party (Zanu PF),” Mutanga said over the phone.
In the correspondence also copied to ZNA, Mutanga cautioned that Zanu PF
risked falling to the MDC propaganda material as the case had been blown out
of proportion by party members allegedly jealous of his wealth.
From the 2002 presidential election “straight jacket” pronouncements by then
army chief Vitalis Zvinavashe and other military generals and the then
brigadier-general Douglas Nyikayaramba’s characterisation of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai as a national security threat.
Zimbabwe’s belligerent military has declared its undying love for President
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
The security sector commanders have said theywould not salute anyone without
liberation war credentials, statements analysts say are aimed at Tsvangirai.
Zanu PF politburo member and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa last year
added to the anxiety in an interview with the BBC when he warned that
Tsvangirai was headed for trouble with the country’s military and veterans
of the liberation struggle in the event he wins next year’s presidential
Tsvangirai and his lieutenants have reacted angrily to the threats calling
them a pre-emptive coup.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold fresh elections this year to replace a
fractious coalition administration which has been in office over the past
four years following violent and inconclusive elections in 2008.
But questions remain over the prospects of a peaceful transition in the
event Tsvangirai wins the presidential vote after senior military generals
warned that he would not be allowed to take over power.
Zanu PF has long accused Tsvangirai of being a front for the interests of
Western countries as well as white former commercial farmers still nursing
grief over the takeover of their farms for re-distribution to landless
blacks. - Mugove Tafirenyika
Sunday, 06 January 2013 13:06
HARARE - Police have nabbed over 100 police officers in Harare alone for
corruption, a top commander has said.
Addressing hundreds of people gathered for the re-launch of the police
service charter in Highfield yesterday, officer commanding Harare province
Clemence Munoriyarwa, said dishonesty by some police officers had
contributed to mistrust by member of the public.
Senior police officers said they are receiving numerous complaints of
corruption against their members especially those assigned to the traffic
“For the period January to December 2012 a total of 103 members were
arrested for being involved in corrupt activities.
Of these, 32 were tried at criminal courts and 60 under the Police Act and a
total 11 members have so far been discharged from the force for being
unsuitable for police duties,” said the Harare police boss.
The service charter is a social contract between the police and members of
the public which was initially launched in 1995 and seeks to build public
“We are cognisant of the fact that corruption has been the fundamental
factor contributing to the undermining of our service charter.
“We are aware that there are some of our members who disregard these values
by engaging in corruption and other acts of misconduct.
“ As a province, we have adopted an aggressive and ruthless approach against
corrupt members,” he said.
Turning to elections to be held most likely in June, the police boss said
the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe should be respected.
Non-governmental organisations and some religious organisations have in the
past accused police of selective application of the law, particularly during
Yesterday, Munoriyarwa called for peace, saying politicians should respect
the people’s wishes.
“We are aware that previous elections were characterised by violence and we
will soon be having the exercise again. Zimbabwe should be peaceful,
Zimbabwe should develop and Zimbabwe should prosper. The peoples’
aspirations should come first,” he said.
Sunday, 06 January 2013 13:06
MUTARE - Divisions within Zanu PF in Manicaland showcased yesterday when the
party’s youths boycotted a provincial executive meeting in the city chaired
by the former ruling party’s provincial chairperson, Mike Madiro.
The youths snubbed the meeting citing the attendance of ousted youth
chairperson Tendai Mukodza as one of the reasons.
The youths have vowed not to work with Madiro if he disregards the
vote-of-no-confidence on Mukodza who they accuse of misappropriating youths
funds meant for projects.
The vote-of-no-confidence was passed last month at a meeting at Forestry
Industries Training College, FITC just outside Mutare near Penhalonga.
Sources within the party told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that among
those that absconded the meeting were incumbent Manicaland provincial youth
chairperson Kelvin Manyengavana, his deputy Felistas Dumba, Mubuso Chinguno
who is the secretary for administration, Chaita Mhlanga the secretary for
finance and Lovemore Chibvura, who is the secretary for commissariat.
Insiders said the provincial executive meeting is supposed to be attended by
the top five executive members from the youth wing, five representatives
from the women’s league and 34 members of the main wing in the province.
A Zanu PF youth who spoke on condition of anonymity said Madiro failed to
act constitutionally by trying to deliberate on the issue to do with the
“Madiro’s mandate and that of the provincial executive is not to discuss
youth issues but to organise public meetings for the party, organise rallies
and implementing party policies,” he said.
The youth said they had been annoyed by Madiro’s attitude to disregard their
Incumbent youth chairperson, Kelvin Manyengavana confirmed the youths had
boycotted the Madiro meeting.
“The youth league is not going to reverse what was done constitutionally in
order to please any elements outside the youth league. Corruption and
nepotism must be condemned with the contempt they deserve. We want to tell
everyone that ‘hands off the youth league’,” said Manyengavana, who was in
the company of his executive members.
When contacted for comment, Mukodza was unwilling to speak about the matter
and only said: “I am not allowed to comment on that.”
Madiro refused to comment as well when contacted for a comment yesterday.
Zanu PF youths in Manicaland province accuse Mukodza of misappropriating an
undisclosed amount of funds meant to benefit them under the “Upfumi
On December 20, last year soon after the party’s Gweru conference, the
youths staged a bloodless coup and passed a vote of no confidence in
Mukodza, who in turn has refused to step down and insists he has done
nothing wrong. - Sydney Saize
Staff Reporter 18 hours 16 minutes ago
HARARE - Controversial Harare businessman Philip Chiyangwa has won a
provisional High Court order compelling the Harare City Council to transfer
properties to his company, Kilima Investments, or to pay him US$2 million
for the land swap deals the two parties entered into in 2007.
The order, which Justice November Mtshiya granted last Friday after
Chiyangwa made an urgent chamber application through his lawyers, Kantor
and Immerman, is the latest twist in the long-running dispute involving
thousands of hectares of land in Harare.
The properties include five pieces of land in different suburbs.
Justice Mtshiya said the Harare City Council breached its land exchange
agreement with the maverick businessman and barred the local authority
from selling or disposing of any of the properties at the centre of the
He said council made an unlawful resolution to settle the deal by paying
US$17 000 and repossessing properties in Ballantyne Park at a meeting last
“The respondent (the city council) is directed to do all such things and
sign all such papers as may be necessary to effect transfer of the
following properties or, alternatively, to pay to the applicant the sum of
one million nine hundred and ten thousand three hundred and thirty-five
dollars (US$1 910 335) as determined by the respondent’s city valuer and
estates manager on March 7 2012,” reads part of the order.
“Resolution No. 3 of the respondent’s council meeting of September 27 2012
under Item 24 of its Finance and Development Committee minutes of September
18 2012 relating to the land exchange agreement between the applicant and
respondent be and is hereby declared to be a breach of the land exchange
agreement between the parties, unlawful and is set aside.
“. . . That the respondent be and is hereby interdicted and prohibited from
selling, ceding, transferring or in any manner whatsoever disposing of the
immovable properties identified in the inventory of Stands in the City of
Harare-Kilima Land Exchange Transaction . . .”
In his founding affidavit, Chiyangwa argued the Harare City Council has
since 2007 been agreeable to the deal in terms of which he swapped an
industrial property for residential stands.
He said the council only made an about-turn at one of its meetings held on
September 12 2012.
Chiyangwa says Town House should give him 8, 971 hectares of land to
conclude an arrangement that saw him parcel out his 16 000-hectare
Derbyshire industrial stand in exchange for properties in several suburbs.
“Such action is not only unlawful and high-handed but is clearly done in bad
faith considering the lengthy negotiations that preceded the agreement as
to the values to be used to finalise the land exchange transaction,” he
“The respondent’s actions are also a clear breach of the rules of natural
justice and fairness and may indeed amount to an abuse of power.”
He added that the matter was urgent as council had terminated all
correspondence on the issue in flagrant breach of the land swap agreement.
“The urgency arises from the fact that the respondent has decidedly
terminated all correspondence on the issue and has as of last week
suspended the members of its Valuation and Estates Department with whom the
Applicant was negotiating to resolve this dispute.
“This means that unless the relief sought is granted, the Respondent will
proceed with its unlawful Resolution and the properties that have been
identified and agreed to by the City to compensate the Applicant may be
sold or otherwise disposed of to the Applicant’s prejudice.
“After these transfers of land to Applicant, there was still a balance of
some 8,971 hectares in respect of which Respondent was still to identify
more pieces of land with which to offset this balance.
“The above sequence of events was confirmed by two of the most senior
executives of the Respondent, namely the Town Clerk, Dr T Mahachi and the
Director of Urban Planning Services, Mr T Chiwanga, in sworn affidavits to
which they each deposed in April 2010 following a certain Special
Investigation Committee Report which suggested that the transactions were
Zimbabwean diamond company Mbada has committed to find funding for job
training for dozens of families who were displaced by the firm's mining
activities in the Marange region, All Africa reports. According to the terms
of the deal, Mbada will ensure an annual payout of $100,000, while the
Zimbabwe Farmers Union will provide training in sustainable agriculture so
that the families can once again become self-sufficient.
The families had to leave their homes three years ago after alluvial
diamonds were found in their immediate vicinity. They were resettled at a
transit camp, but without any means of sustenance, they have been relying on
charity for their survival. Mbada corporate services executive George
Manyaya said that the retraining program is preferable to maintaining the
dependency of the affected families.
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union said that it is also in talks with other major
diamond companies in Zimbabwe to convince them that retraining programs are
the best way to resolve the unfortunate situation, according to All Africa.
The first Vigil of the new year was auspicious if only because it didn’t rain! We have just dried out after last week which ended the wettest year since English records began. That was a long time ago.
But cold water was thrown over our hopes for a better year at home with a report in the Zimbabwe Independent that Tsvangirai had agreed with Mugabe that whoever loses the Presidential election will accept defeat (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/jan5a_2013.html#Z1 – Mugabe, Tsvangirai strike poll pact). If Tsvangirai thinks Mugabe is serious we are in big trouble.
With Mugabe taking a month’s holiday at this supposedly critical time, it seems clear to us that Zanu PF has no intention of implementing the reforms agreed for free and fair elections. The general expectation here in the cold is a repetition of 2008 and another GNU to enable the looting to continue.
The exiled writer Chenjerai Hove also sees no improvement on the election situation of 2008. ‘Mugabe’s party has not changed its approach one inch’ he says. ‘As the country faints under heavy economic and political burdens, the politicians would rather punch the air with empty slogans and worthless promises that are so unrealistic that even illiterate villagers wonder how a politician can be so dumb as to promise a bridge where there is not even a river’ (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/jan5_2013.html#Z18 – Zimbabwe's war of empty slogans).
· We hope the Vigil’s gloomy view of the prospects for 2013 is wrong. But it may be better than the prophecy of church leader Makandiwa who says great things are on their way and people will be so empowered that many would import cars. ‘You think you have seen congestion. No you have not; keep your eyes open and see what will be happening. Because of the grace coming upon people, driving shall be difficult in Harare.’ We thought it was bad enough already. (see: Makandiwa sees gold rush – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/jan4_2013.html#Z11).
· Today we begin a review of Vigil highlights of 2012, covering the first half of the year (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/463-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-january--june-2012-). It shows our concerns have hardly changed: getting action from South Africa and putting pressure on SADC members. Last year we had the easy targets of Mswati III of Swaziland and Sata of Zambia, Mugabe’s other praise singer in SADC. We are also helping the Zimbabwean global diaspora’s monthly protests and have launched the Zimbabwe Action Forum to plan ways forward to achieve democracy in Zimbabwe. (The second half of the Vigil’s 2012 highlights will be included in next week’s diary.)
· Thanks to everyone who sent new year greetings. We particularly liked this one from Zimbabwe: ‘May ur happiness increase like fuel prices in Ghana. Your troubles fall like Zimbabwean dollar. May your love and joy increase like corruption in Nigeria. May your enemies struggle like they need American visa. Have a blessed prosperous New Year.’
· A Nigerian man came and signed our petitions and said how Africa was full of leaders who clung to power until they were carried away in a coffin.
· 2013 promises a busy time for the Vigil and ROHR. The Central London branch of ROHR is to hold a meeting after the Vigil on Saturday 12th January at 6.30 pm. It was felt that this branch should play a central role in the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). The first ZAF meeting in 2013 would be held after the Vigil on Saturday 19th January at 6.30. ROHR Birmingham is to meet on Saturday 26th January and ROHR Coventry branch is to be launched on Saturday 2nd February. See: Events and Notices for details.
· Vigil management team members Ephraim Tapa, Rose Benton and Fungayi Mabhunu thanked supporters for their committed activism in 2012 and spoke about the need for continued activism in a year when elections were likely. After the shock of Bernard Hukwa’s suicide in 2012 they stressed that supporters should share their anxieties with others at the Vigil who might be able to help and that asylum seekers should read the flyer available at the Vigil with information on asylum matters supplied by the Zimbabwe Association.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.
FOR THE RECORD: 51 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Leeds protest against deportation of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers. Monday 7th January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: UKBA, Waterside Court, Leeds LS4 2QB. Contact: Kevin Ngwenya 07717206366.
· ROHR Central London Branch meeting. Saturday 12th January from 6.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The meeting will take place straight after the Vigil. Directions: 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. Contact: Fungayi Mabhunu 07746 552 597.
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 12th January from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
· Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 19th January from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see entry for ROHR Central London branch above.
· ROHR Birmingham Branch Meeting. Saturday 26th January. Further details as they become available.
· Launch of the ROHR Coventry Branch. Saturday 2nd February. Further details as they become available.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 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.
· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani). To download the band’s theme song Vigil Yedu visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
· Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights: January – June 2012
Saturday 21st January: Zimbabweans from all over the UK gathered outside the South African High Commission calling on President Zuma to force Zanu PF to implement the Global Political Agreement. The demonstration marked the beginning of a campagn of monthly demonstrations by Zimbabweans in the diaspora, including those in South Africa and the United States. Over 300 people attended the Vigil at which a petition to President Zuma was launched.
Saturday 4th February: As London was blanketed in the first snow of the winter, Zimbabweans from several different groups met after the Vigil to launch the Zimbabwe Action Forum to discuss ways to help achieve democracy at home. Our sister organization, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) earlier held a general meeting and expressed confidence in Ephraim Tapa as leader and elected a new UK Executive.
Saturday 18th February: There was a special birthday party at the Vigil for Mugabe as he celebrated the easing of sanctions by the European Union. Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing our Mugabe mask, was given a birthday present labeled ‘looted diamonds’.
Tuesday 21st February: For the second month, the Free Zimbabwe Diaspora Campaign targeted South Africa over its lack of action on Zimbabwe. Vigil supporters joined MDC members outside the South African High Commission.
Saturday 25th February: The Vigil expressed to the European Parliament our puzzlement at remarks by the EU Foreign Affairs representative, Baroness Ashton, about the easing of sanctions on Mugabe’s cronies. We said that, contrary to her statement, there had been little progress in implementing the GPA. In fact the situation had deteriorated in the past year.
Saturday 3rd March: After the Vigil the Zimbabwe Action Forum held its second meeting, tasking a team with bringing forward proposals to achieve change at home.
Thursday 8th March: Women from the Vigil took part in a programme to mark International Women’s Day. Led by management team member Josephine Zhuga, they danced, sang and drummed at a well-attended event at City and Islington College, one of England’s largest further education colleges. Josephine told how rape was used as a form of political control in Zimbabwe.
Saturday 17th March: Following the lifting of the moratorium on sending back failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers, the Vigil noted more and more reports of people being given orders to leave. Some Vigil supporters have been detained when they reported to sign in at police stations.
Wednesday 21st March
Fungayi Mabhunu wore the Vigil’s Mugabe mask again outside the South African High Commission during the
third monthly Free Zimbabwe Global Protest attended by about 60 people. Mugabe carried posters reading ‘Vote MDC and DIE’ and ‘Vote for me or DIE’
Saturday 31st March: The Vigil sent a letter to the British Prime Minister David Cameron thanking him for the commitment he gave during talks with Morgan Tsvagirai to help achieve free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The Vigil asked for an opportunity to present Mr Cameron with the Vigil’s petition to the UN for passing on to the Security Council. The petition, signed by more than 12,000 people who had stopped by the Vigil, called on the UN to ensure the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair.
Saturday 7th April: Sister Beverley led prayers for David Moyo who has been served with a third deportation order. His mother and aunt were with us at the Vigil.
Saturday 21st April: The MDC in the UK joined the Vigil to mark Independence Day. After gathering at the Vigil, about 200 people moved on to the nearby South African High Commission to continue the Global Diaspora Campaign to get President Zuma to call Mugabe to account. People then moved on to Whitehall to present the Vigil’s petition to the British Prime Minister to pass on to the UN calling on it to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. Five delegates from the Vigil were allowed into Downing Street to hand over the petition. We were sorry to report that, despite our campaign for him, David Moyo was sent back to Zimbabwe.
Saturday 28th April 2012: We were glad to welcome Vincent Dlamini, National Organising Secretary of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland and Secretary General of Swaziland’s National Public Services Union. He expressed gratitude for our support for the Swazi Vigil which has been campaigning for democracy outside the Swazi High Commission in London.
Wednesday 9th May: About a dozen people from the Vigil attended the Globe Theatre for a performance in Shona of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. It was part of a festival to mark the Queen’s jubilee during which Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays were performed in thirty-seven languages. We were given free tickets for the play and were invited to join the two stars Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu in the staff bar after the show. They had both been to the Vigil.
Saturday 12th May: The Vigil had its annual visit by the Westminster Morris Men, traditional English male dancers who perform around the Borough of Westminster every year on the second Saturday in May. They grabbed hold of Vigil supporter Francesca Toft, danced round her and at the end of their performance lifted her aloft and then announced that they had just performed a fertility dance . . . The predominantly elderly dancers kissed her on the cheek in turn at the end.
Wednesday 16th May: Vigil supporters joined the Swaziland Vigil in a demonstration outside a leading London hotel against the visit of King Mswati III of Swaziland – Africa’s last absolute ruler – who was in the UK to attend a diamond jubilee banquet for the world’s monarchs hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle on Friday 18th May. Amid drumming, singing and chants of ‘Mswati must go’, the demonstrators carried banners reading: ‘King Mswati buys £30m plane while his people eat cow dung’, ‘Mswati and his 30 strong entourage stay in £400 a night Savoy Hotel while his people starve’, ‘End human rights abuses in Swaziland’, and ‘Democracy now for Swaziland’.
Saturday 19th May: After the Vigil we processed from the Zimbabwe Embassy to the Savoy Hotel about 200 yards down the Strand to join the Swazi Vigil as guests arrived for a dinner hosted by King Mswati. We heckled them with cries of ‘Shame on you, Shame on you’.
Saturday 26th May: The Vigil broke the news to the world of the arrest in Zimbabwe of the BBC classical music presenter Petroc Trelawny. We were informed by relatives in Bulawayo that he had been taken into custody for taking part in the city’s music festival without permission to work in Zimbabwe, even though he was not being paid.
Saturday 2nd June: The British government has assured the Vigil that it is ready to help SADC in its efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The assurance came in a letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to our petition submitted on 21st April calling for UN intervention in Zimbabwe. Here is part of their reply: ‘We share your concerns over the potential for violence in the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe and that the international community, particularly SADC, have a critical role to play in ensuring that this does not happen.’ People from the Vigil went on to a lively and well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) to discuss what we could do to keep up pressure on SADC.
Wednesday 6th June: The Vigil
staged two demonstrations against the visit to London of President Michael Sata of Zambia who was a guest at the Jubilee celebrations for the Queen. Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani said ‘Sata is an unashamed supporter of Mugabe. His parroting “Pamberi ne Zanu PF (Forward with Zanu PF)” at last week’s SADC meeting was disgraceful.’ The first demonstration took place at Marlborough House where the Queen attended a lunch for Commonwealth leaders. The demonstrators then went on the Zambian High Commission to deliver a letter deploring President Sata’s interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe. President Sata, a former platform sweeper at London’s Victoria station, was offered a new broom by the Vigil ‘so that you can resume a profession for which you seem better equipped than your current one’. Zambian diplomats refused to accept the letter and broom so we posted the letter in a letterbox across the road.
Saturday 9th June: A Zambian website which carried a report about our demonstrations against President Sata soon had more than 80 comments – mainly supportive of our action. Someone even suggested regular Friday ‘broom’ days.
Thursday 21st June: The Vigil’s Mugabe mask made an appearance outside the Zambian High Commission for the sixth round of the monthly Free Zimbabwe Global Campaign aimed at pressuring SADC leaders into ensuring democratic reforms in Zimbabwe. Fungayi Mabhunu, wearing the mask, made another attempt to deliver a new broom for President Sata but once again Zambian diplomats spurned the gift.
30th June 2012: The monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) met after the Vigil and adopted a cartoon as a symbol. It has the caption ‘The people don’t know their true power . . .’ showing a dictator pontificating at the end of a plank suspended over a precipice – only kept from falling by subservient people standing on the other end of the plank and listening to him.
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.