After two months of record heat in the UK, exiled Zimbabweans gathered outside Zimbabwe House in London on the final day of campaigning before Monday’s elections.
Rain at Chamisa’s last rally at Masvingo was interpreted by the MDC as a good omen. In London, after a prolonged dry spell, thunder and lightning was followed by rain during the night.
The Vigil would like to take this as a good omen too – but, despite Chamisa’s optimism, we have serious doubts he will win in the face of the practiced Zanu PF election rigging.
We are glad so many untainted election observers are on the ground. They will no doubt make it more difficult for Zanu PF to steal the elections. But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is a branch of Zanu PF and the best the MDC can hope for is a presidential runoff. In this case, it’s back to the 2008 scenario, with the army probably intervening to keep Mnangagwa in power.
We agree with the assessment of political analyst Simukai Tinhu in his article ‘Boycott presidential poll, Chamisa!’ in the Zimbabwe Independent on Friday (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/boycott-presidential-poll-chamisa/). The Vigil expects that next year Chamisa will be repeating what he said of Mugabe as a member of the Government of National Unity back in 2012: ‘The President has provided leadership from the cockpit and we are prepared to be the passengers . . .’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/390-wrong-despot–zimbabwe-vigil-diary-7th-april-2012).
The Vigil will be outside the Embassy from early on polling day to hold a mock ballot to test opinion here. We confidently expect Mnangagwa to appear but warn him it’s too hot here to wear a scarf. Chamisa is also expected along with his new supporters Robert and Grace Mugabe.
- The Vigil faced many hassles today. Some roads were closed because of ‘Ride London’ given over to cyclists. Then we found our usual patch double occupied. An ambulance was stationed where we normally put up our front table. We put up our banners and posters down one side while an Ndebele group stage a separate protest on another.
- The Ndebeles are understandably unhappy at Mnangagwa’s disingenuous suggestion that we should forget what happened in the past and now look to the future. For them the wounds of Gukurahundi continue to fester (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/07/27/gukurahundi-skeletons-tumble-out-of-the-closet/).
- Trevor Grundy, a journalist who follows closely the situation in Zimbabwe wrote an article on a BBC programme covering an open forum in Harare last Sunday: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/zimbabwe-the-view-from-the-uk
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up by putting up the banners, set up the front table and looked after it throughout the Vigil and packed up at the end: Stanley Gava, Alice Majola, Esther Munyira, Bigboy Sibanda, Ephraim Tapa and Sharon Zimuto.
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: 10 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Zimbabwe Vigil’s Mock Election. Monday 30th July from early outside the Embassy.
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 18th August from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
- ROHR beach barbecue. Monday, 27th August. Venue: Frinton Beach CO13 9DN. Food and transport provided. Bring your own drinks. For more information, contact: Daizy 07708653640, Max 07397809056 and Esther 07492058107.
- 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 us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
Facebook pages:ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/