With the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’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’.
Ki-moon’s congratulations may just be a diplomatic courtesy but former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan twisted the dagger further in an interview with the British Guardian newspaper, saying that Mugabe probably could have won the elections even without rigging. The Ghanaian, notorious for sleeping on the job during the Rwandan genocide, said the world must work with Mugabe. ‘Holding on to the past and who was right and who was wrong and all this doesn’t help’ he said. Annan would have made more sense if he’d argued for UN assistance to solve the ‘technical’ problem claimed to be responsible for the failure to publish the voters’ roll even a month and a half after the elections (see: Mugabe won with or without games: Annan – https://www.newsday.co.zw/
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 Thursday 24th October. The purpose of the meeting is to agree a common platform and strategy for diaspora action on the Zimbabwe crisis.
Ephraim spoke of the Vigil’s long struggle and promised it would continue until there were free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. He said that during his covert visit home before the elections he had been assured by the MDC that there was no possibility of rigging and asked what his plans were for returning home. All was going well he was told: there was a new constitution, a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, observers were in place. Celebrations were underway; why was he spoiling the party?
Ephraim said that the focus of the conference would not be on the past but on ‘what now?’ He said the Mugabe regime was scared of the diaspora which must now come up with a concrete strategy to bring freedom to Zimbabwe.
- · In the light of Ephraim’s remarks we were interested to see an admission by the MDC T Policy Advisor Eddie Cross that his party had let down the people and ignored warning signs (see: What the MDC got wrong – http://www.politicsweb.co.za/
politicsweb/view/politicsweb/ en/page71639?oid=418830&sn= Detail&pid=71639). The warning signs were clear enough. The week before the elections the Vigil confidently predicted the outcome (see:http://zimvigil.co.uk/the- vigil-diary/515-credible- elections-zimbabwe-vigil- diary-27th-july-2013).
- · As 2. 2 million Zimbabweans (according to the UN) face starvation, the Vigil is glad to see a well-argued rebuttal by Zimbabwean economist Dale Dore of the controversial commentaries on land reform by various dodgy UK academics (see: Remaking History: Citizenship, Power and the recasting of heroes and villains – http://www.sokwanele.com/
remaking-history-citizenship- power-and-recasting-heroes- and-villains/02102013).
- · The Vigil lends its heartfelt support to Desmond Tutu’s petition calling on African leaders not to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, which adjudicates crimes against humanity. He said ‘leaders of Sudan and Kenya, who have inflicted terror and fear across their countries, are trying to drag Africa out of the ICC, allowing them the freedom to kill, rape, and inspire hatred without consequences’ (to sign the petition visit: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/
- · Thanks to Fannuel Wallah who left Stoke at 4 am to attend a ROHR meeting and to help set up the Vigil. Thanks also to Tecla Bandawe for providing cakes for the Vigil’s anniversary.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- · Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- · ‘Restore Zimbabwe’: Zimbabwe Diaspora All-Stakeholders’ Conference. Thursday 24th October from 9 am – 4.30 pm. Venue: the Theatre, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG. Nearest station: Bethnal Green (Central line).
- · Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 2nd November from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. 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 We Can Meeting. Saturday 16th November from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
- · Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-
vigil-diary/467-vigil- highlights-2012. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 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 ishttp://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:
- · Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.
- · ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/
- · ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/
pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe- Restoration-of-Human-Rights/ 301811392835
- · Useful website: www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.
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.