A protest vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London every Saturday from 14.00 – 18.00 since October 2002. The Vigil will continue until internationally – monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
Caption: MDC T demonstrate in Bulawayo and at the Vigil
Fresh from his ‘million man’ charade in Harare, Mugabe flew off on Air Mugabe to enjoy being the only President from the 79 members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States to attend a meeting in Papua New Guinea. Apparently not even the Papua New Guinea President was attending.
Papua New Guinea? If you consult the atlas you will find it is part of an island east of Indonesia and north of Australia. A spokesman for PNG (as it is known to those who have consulted the atlas) said his country was keen to raise its international profile because not many people knew where it was. ‘They think it is part of Africa’. He said (see: http://www.zimeye.net/mugabe-humiliated-in-paupa-new-guinea/).
Well, Air Mugabe knows where PNG is: conveniently close to Mugabe’s doctors in Singapore. It’s been more than a week since he last saw them so surely more injections are due – apart from changing the nappy of his grandson.
Mugabe was accompanied by the usual large delegation which included Grace of course, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi. Permanent secretaries Ambassador Joey (yet another) Bimha and George Charamba, among the usual flunkies, helped fill the Air Mugabe plane.
The PNG is popular for its diving and other leisure facilities. But the Vigil is worried that Mugabe’s insatiable trips abroad are believed to have cost the country $80 million this year. How come he is squandering this money when thousands of hungry, deluded Zanu PF youth were left to make their own way home from the ‘million man’ march?
MDC T spokesman Obert Gutu said Mugabe never passed an opportunity to escape from the country. ‘Mugabe is wasting this money at a time half the country is facing starvation due to a severe drought’. He said.
Jacob Mafume, spokesman for Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party, added: ‘Mugabe suffers from an excessive attention seeking sickness. He is like a man who messes up his own house with his waste and keeps leaving the house because the house smells’ (see: http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-29405-Bob+alone+at+Papua+New+Guinea+summit/news.aspx).
This struck a chord with us because an article has appeared in the London Times on this theme, even mentioning Mugabe. The article about dictators talked of the overpowering stench at the French King Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles. The palace had 700 rooms but no functioning lavatories for nearly 200 years. Even then the soon to be executed Queen Marie Antoinette was said to have been drenched by the contents of a chamber pot emptied from an upper window. The place apparently stank more than Chitingwiza. The writer of the article noted ‘eventually people cease to be awed by dictator display and start to laugh at it . . . beneath every showy dictatorship lies a secret cesspool. When the smell becomes overpowering the revolution starts’. Mugabe must be aware of the big stink at home.
- While thousands of MDC T supporters in their red T-shirts protested in Bulawayo at Mugabe’s looting of Zimbabwe, we were joined by a large contingent of MDC members including many familiar faces. There was agreement that we need to work together for change in Zimbabwe.
- At the same time, Dr Grace, in a message from Papua New Guinea to a ZimAsset Bulawayo conference, said ‘Bulawayo is on a path to robust re-industrialisation, having survived the devastating effects of economic sanctions that led to the collapse of many companies and loss of jobs’ (see: Zimbabwe: Bulawayo to Regain Super Industrial Status, Says First Lady – http://allafrica.com/stories/201605280111.html). Fantasy sanctions and fantasy re-industrialisation!
- On Wednesday 25th May – Africa Day – 17 people from the Vigil (Alfredy Mukuvare, Cephas Maswoswa, Chipo Kamhunga, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Dennis Benton, Eletha Mpofu, Fungayi Mabhunu, Fungisai Mupandira, John Burke, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Michelle Makoni, Nancy Makurira, Patricia Masamba, Rashiwe Bayisayi, Rose Benton, Rosemary Maponga and Sally Mutseyami) went to a performance of a play about Zimbabwe ‘After Independence’ at the Arcola Theatre in London. The play examined the land question in Zimbabwe and the theatre was packed. Our group danced, sang and drummed afterwards to an appreciative audience in the theatre bar including members of the cast. The producer Chris Foxon sent us this email afterwards: ‘Just a quick note to express an enormous thanks for joining us last night. It was a fabulous event and I hope it helped raise awareness of your work. Certainly the audience loved it, and our cast were blown away. We plan to come down and visit the Vigil in a week or two, once the show is closed and settled.’
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Isabell Gwatidzo, Deborah Harry, Etines Kapiya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla. Mary Mandizha, Rosemary Maponga, Cephas Maswoswa, Nomsa Mpofu, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Casper Nyamakura, Chipo Parirenyatwa and Eva Sanyahokwe. Special thanks to: Roseline, Isabell and Etines for looking after the front table, Chipo for selling the wristbands and Alfredy, Cephas, Casper and Deborah for putting up the banners and posters.
- ROHR Central London branch brought delicious food cooked by Fungayi, Rashiwe Bayisayi, Chipo and Rosemary and served by Rosemary, Sharon Moyo, Rashiwe, Nancy Makurira and Eletha Mpofu. Thanks to Etines for her £10 contribution to the food costs.
- For videos of last week’s dancing at the Vigil check: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos/10154153865577836/ and https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos/10154153412097836/.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.
FOR THE RECORD: 75 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 11th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- 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 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.
- Facebook pages: