‘Incredible’ elections – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd August 2013

After the predictable failure of the MDC in the elections, Morgan Tsvangirai must consider his position. The custom in most countries is that a losing candidate stands aside – particularly if he has lost several elections.

The Vigil believes that Tsvangirai must take responsibility for a succession of decisions which have been fatal to the opposition in Zimbabwe.  We don’t want to rub salt into wounds, but here are a few of the MDC decisions which have puzzled us, as we have clearly recorded in our diaries:

1.     The mad split over the Senate.

2.     Pulling out of the Presidential run-off in 2008.

3.     Joining in the flawed GNU (‘we demand an end to sanctions and foreign broadcasts’) when there was an opportunity to form a government in exile in Botswana at a time when Mugabe was on his knees.

4.     Failure to pull out of government when Mugabe immediately disregarded the GPA and showed that the MDC had no power whatsoever.

5.     Being distracted by the ludicrous 4-year-long constitution-making exercise, which produced an abortion of a document that has proved completely useless, especially as a new constitution can be expected within a year. The MDC should have spent the time concentrating on getting a level playing field  for elections.

6.     Allowing vital roadmap issues to be delayed until they were impossible to implement.

7.     Agreeing to take part in the latest elections when none of the MDC or SADC requirements had been met.

Tsvangirai has issued a statement after an MDC National Council meeting in Harare saying ‘Given the illegality of this election, the MDC National Council resolved that it will not legitimize institutions created by an illegal election and therefore will not engage in institutions of government’.

The Vigil applauds this decision and hopes that MDC MPs will refuse to take their seats in this rigged Parliament. We would hope that they would stand outside when parliament is convened with banners saying ‘we object’. Sadly we do not believe that this will happen. We can’t see them giving up perks for principles.

It gives the Vigil no satisfaction that our prediction of a rigged election turned out to be true. As we began our last diary: ‘with only 4 days to go before the election the Vigil ‘commends’ President Mugabe on his ‘credible’ re-election’. (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/515-credible-elections-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-27th-july-2013 – ‘Credible’ elections? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th July 2013). We also forecast that the observers would judge the elections ‘credible’ and they would get the nod from President Zuma and SADC.

Gloomy Vigil supporters gathered after the Vigil for our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum.  Although we had known the result would be fixed , there was shock at the audacious scale of the rigging. Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa said he expected Tsvangirai to throw in his lot with Mugabe. ‘There have been so many opportunities along the road when the MDC could have left the bus.’ The MDC had totally lost credibility and it was now up to the diaspora which had been denied the vote by agreement between Tsvangirai and Mugabe. Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu asked ‘Has any dictator been removed by the ballot box?’

We can’t end the diary without lamenting the retirement of our tireless friend Barbara Goss who has for years produced the daily compendium of news, the Zimbabwe Situation. It has been an invaluable resource and we owe her deep gratitude for her hard work. We are relieved to hear that someone else has taken over the baton.

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: 50 signed the register.


  • ·         ROHR Reading general meeting. Saturday 10 August from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London St ,Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS.
  • ·         ROHR Coventry general meeting. Saturday 10th August from 1.30 – 4.30 pm. Venue: Hillfields Baptist Church, Waterloo Road, Coventry CV1 5JS.
  • ·         Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 17th August from 12 – 3 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
  • ·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th August 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.
  • ·         ROHR Executive meeting. Saturday 7th September at 11 am. 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.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts

–         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

–         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835


Vigil co-ordinators

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.