Zanu-PF dapper in London – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st September 2013
While we sang ‘Ishe Komberera Africa / Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica’ outside the Embassy at the end of the Vigil, Zanu-PF supporters in the UK were attending ‘official victory Celebrations’ elsewhere in London.
A leaflet from Zanu-PF UK said ‘special guests are to include filmmaker (sic) Roy Agyemang, Professor George Shire, Dr David Matsanga and Pailine Long’ and entertainment would be provided by ‘Pro ZANU-PF DJs’. It advised guests: ‘Dress Code: Adorn yourself dapperly’.
The Vigil knows there are many Zanu-PF supporters in the UK. Some of us live cheek by jowl with them. Having laid waste to Zimbabwe these rapacious locusts seek to do the same in the UK and elsewhere. Indeed, we have tangled with ‘Professor’ George Shire many times over the years as he spouts Zanu-PF propaganda while pretending to be an objective academic.
The Zanu-PF celebratory party in London coincided with the predictable distorted story in the Herald, which said: ‘The British Government has given Zanu-PF UK branch the green light to operate freely in that country after years of acrimonious relations that saw many cadres being threatened with deportation and loss of jobs as London pursued the illegal regime change agenda here’.
The Herald said that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Under Secretary of State Mark Simmonds MP ‘announced’ in a statement that Zanu-PF ‘were now free to operate in the UK without hindrances’ – as if this was a new development. In fact Simmonds was simply restating the obvious in a democratic country – that there was ‘no bar on your activities here in the UK, provided you do not contravene UK law, as is the case for any political party.’ (see: Zanu-PF gets green light to operate freely in UK – http://www.herald.co.zw/zanu-
What certainly hasn’t changed is that Zanu-PF supporters continue to claim asylum in the UK on the fraudulent basis of political persecution in Zimbabwe. The Vigil will continue to expose those who do this. We believe they should be sent home to pressure NoPresident Mugabe to clear up the mess there which has made it unpleasant for even Zanu-PF people to live in.
Unsurprisingly, Vigil supporters did not go on to the Zanu-PF celebrations but if you want to know how the party went you could phone the Zanu-PF organisers listed on their leaflet: Nick 07894578061, Glorianne 07961092044, Marshall 07828068585, Davison 079608108793. Tell them we’ve passed their numbers on to the Home Office.
Instead we gathered for our bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum down the road from the Vigil to discuss the planned All-Stakeholders’ Conference for the Zimbabwe Diaspora on the way forward following the stolen elections. It was agreed that it would be held on Thursday 24th October at the Theatre in Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG. We will be starting work on inviting delegates.
There was considerable disquiet expressed at the resurgence of Zanu-PF confidence in the UK following the easing of sanctions on the Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Corporation. We were dismayed that the UK government seemed to have no understanding of the effect on morale this would have, coming on top of the bogus elections.
- · Zambia is under scrutiny in the latest of our occasional SADC Watch news stories. The Zambian Watchdog has fingered Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba and Chinese diplomats in a scandal involving elephant tusks(see: GBM linked to elephant tusks confiscated at airport – http://www.zambianwatchdog.
com/gbm-linked-to-elephant- tusks-confiscated-at-airport/ comment-page-1/).
- · Several of our supporters took part in a mock ballot on Friday outside the Swaziland High Commission in London to protest against the phony elections taking place. The demonstration was organized by the Swaziland Vigil which has mounting protests outside the High Commission since January 2010. Our supporters said there was a good turnout with Swazis coming from all over the UK to take part and a sympathetic response by the passing public. They were amused by the ballot papers offering a choice of candidates: 1) King Mswati III, 2) King Mswati III, 3) King Mswati III.
- · Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Joseph Chivayo, Patricia Masamba, Shylette Chipagura, Deborah Harry and Taylor Madondo.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
FOR THE RECORD: 38 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- · Harare with Kudaushe Matimba. Saturday 28th September from 9.30 pm – 4 am. Venue: The Brixton Jamm, 261 Brixton Road, London SW9 6LH. Vigil supporter and musician Kudaushe Matimba, formerly of the Bundhu Boys, is performing with his band Harare at the official SOAS Freshers’ Fayre after- party. All proceeds in support of asylum seekers in immigration detention – http://soasdetaineesupport.
files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ release14post1.pdf for ticket information
- · Zimbabwe Vigil’s 11th Anniversary. Saturday 12th October.
- · ROHR Central London Branch Meeting. Saturday 12th October from 12 noon. 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 the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge and Somerset House. The entrance is marked by a big sign 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 Action Forum (ZAF) / Vigil Anniversary Social. Saturday 12th October from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.
- · ‘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.
- · 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 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.
- · Facebook pages:
- · 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