Source: The megabus arrives? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th May 2016 08 May 2016
There is a saying in the UK that you can wait ages for a bus and then several will come along together. It seems the same thing happens with news about Zimbabwe reported in the foreign press. There was a drought in stories about Zimbabwe for years but now the buses are coming regularly.
Not long ago we had Cecil the lion capturing world attention. Then everyone was fascinated by the extravagant parties given for nonagenarian Mugabe as if he were Louis XVI, with Grace his Marie-Antoinette advising the hungry to eat cake (shortly before the royal couple were downsized by a head).
The buses have continued coming, with widespread interest in Zimbabwe selling off wild life. As Fox News headlined: ‘Zimbabwe’s drought cash crunch forcing the nation to sell its animals’. (Thinking of Zimbabwe selling off its wild life, its nurses, its graduates, its women to Kuwait, suggest there may be room for a sell off of politicians from among its dozens of parties.)
Among journalists there is a saying ‘a nose for news’. You would think that Zimbabwe is now positively stinking because they have jumped in force on the latest bus with the announcement that Zimbabwe is to print money again. BBC: ‘Zimbabwe to print its own version of US dollar’, Bloomberg: ‘Zimbabwe introduces new currency angering everyone’, Nigerian Bulletin: ‘Zimbabwe to start printing US dollar notes’, International Business Times: ‘Zimbabwe to print its own US dollars amidst severe cash shortage and deepening economic woes’.
The world thinks that this smells – its the megabus – and it expects to see, as the Vigil put it last week, déjà vu again, with the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank sending out runners onto the streets to buy up US dollars with worthless bits of paper as inflation rises again into the billions. And perhaps King Mugabe and Co being downsized . . .
Here’s a whatsApp message which amused the Vigil: Kana wakaisa US$1,000 mu bank nezuro, now mava ne SAR5,000 ne ZW$600. Mucha confusika kusvika mataura kwakabva zvihuta.
· As we marked the 14th month since the abduction by intelligence agents of human rights activist Itai Dzamara, the Vigil paid tribute to Pastor Mawarire for his brave protest wrapped in the Zimbabwe flag (see: This Flag – A Lament of Zimbabwe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LubMilbHiPg and ZviHuta Govt Of Zimbabwe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT6-wgqPxR0).
· A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil discussed arrangements to picket a conference in London on Tuesday 5th July to be addressed by senior Zanu PF ministers Obert Mpofu, Patrick Chinamasa and Mike Bimha and the Governor of the Reserve Bank John Mangudya. They are trying to persuade the world that Zanu PF is reforming and should be bailed out with more Western loans. We will be there to explain why the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank should wait until there are internationally-monitored free and fair elections. If Zanu PF wants money from the West they must allow in Western observers to limit vote rigging. Anyone thinking of attending the conference could save their ticket price of £425 – £625 by reading instead this article from the state propaganda organ the Herald (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/zimbabwe-is-no-hell-hole-analysts/).
- The Forum discussed our next protest in Nottingham against the farm looter Dr Nyatsuro on Friday 13th May. It is part of our campaign to have his British passport revoked. There has been an encouraging response from local people. Thanks to Sally Mutseyami who is to be interviewed on a local radio station. For details see ‘Events and Notices’.
- The Forum was informed that we have contacted the Botswana High Commission in London asking for a date in late May or early June to present our petition to pass on to President Khama as Chair of the Southern African Development Community calling on the organisation to prepare to intervene to stop a meltdown in Zimbabwe.
- We were joined at the Forum by Chris Foxon of Papatango Theatre Company. He is the producer of the Zimbabwean-based play ‘After Independence’ by May Sumbwanyambe. We discussed a collaborative event with Vigil supporters after a performance of the play on Africa Day 25th May. There was enthusiastic support for this venture. The play runs from 4th – 28th May at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston. For more information see ‘Events and Notices’.
- Some months ago the Vigil was contacted by Kennedy Madhombiro who generously offered to publish a book of poetry by Vigil supporters. We were pleased to see the fruits of this today in a small book entitled ‘The Revolution will be Televised’. The contributors are: Aivet Phiri, Handsen Chikowore, Sharon Moyo, Salani (Sally) Mutseyami, Esther Nyambi, Esther Munyira and Talent Madhombiro. 23 copies have been sold already mostly due to the energetic salesmanship of Chipo Parirenyatwa. Mr Madhombiro has offered to publish a history of the Vigil which we hope will be ready by our 14th anniversary in October.
- The Forum concluded with a discussion about asylum issues and advice on how best to present asylum claims. This will form a regular part of the Forum.
- During the Vigil we were joined by MDC supporters who asked whether we minded if they staged a monthly demonstration outside the Embassy from 1 – 2 pm on Saturdays and then joined in our activities from 2 pm. We assured them we were happy to work with anyone supporting our mission statement calling for an end to human rights abuses and free and fair elections.
- On a lovely sunny Spring day, thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Benjamin Chigamba, Audrey Chihoho, Kevin Gondo, Isabell Gwatidzo, Deborah Harry, Barbara Kachidza, Etines Kapiya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Joanne McAndrew, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Sally Mutseyami and Elector Zvorwadza. Thanks to Roseline, Isabell and Etines for looking after the front table.
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: 56 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Play: ‘After Independence’. 4th – 28th May at the Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL. The play is by May Sumbwanyambe and tackles the issues of independence and government in Zimbabwe. Tickets are available from the Box Office: 020 7503 1646 or online from: http://www.arcolatheatre.com/event/after-independence/2016-05-04/.
- Nottingham demonstration against farm looting Zimbabwean doctor. Friday 13th May from 12 noon – 3 pm. Venue: outside The Willows Medical Centre, Church Street, Carlton, Nottingham NG4 1RJ. The Vigil and ROHR are continuing the campaign to have Dr Nyatsuro’s British citizenship revoked. Contacts for the Nottingham protest: Chamunorwa Chisuko 07832927609, Enniah Dube 07403439707, Sally Mutseyami 07448730581, Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Rose Benton 07970996003.
- MDC Slough branch demonstration. Saturday 14th May from 11 am. The ‘Mugabe must go to free Zimbabwe’ protest starts in Slough High Street and ends at the Labour offices, 52 Chaveley High Street where the demonstrators will meet Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart. For more information contact: Sipiwe 07775943514, Iline Manhunzi 07824886092 and Deborah Harry 07578 894896.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 14th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st May 2016 from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Mavis Chisvo 07944612944 and Esther Nyambi 07446210391.
- ROHR Reading branch community outreach and general meeting. Saturday 21st May 2016. Community outreach from 11.45 am – 1.30 pm: Venue: Broad Street. Awareness campaign on ‘Mugabe must go’. General meeting from 2,30 – 5 pm: Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Charles Mararirakwenda 07964731721, Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Shylette Chipangura 07828929806, Deborah Harrry 07578894896, Sihle Sibanda 07985712749.
- 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.
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 4th June from 11 am to 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 4th June from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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 sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and a shop. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 11th June from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark fifteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- Protest at Zimbabwe Conference 2016 ‘Rebooting and Rebuilding’. Tuesday 5th July from 8 am onwards. Venue: outside DLA Piper UK LLP, 3 Noble Street, London EC2V 7EE. More information as our plans firm up.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
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