With senior US officials due to visit Zimbabwe for talks in the coming week, the Vigil calls on them to remain focused on human rights issues, in particular the abduction of Itai Dzamara by CIO agents in Harare exactly two months ago today.
Despite a court order to investigate his disappearance, the police appear to have done nothing to look for him and it is feared that he has met the fate of so many awkward opponents of the regime: tortured and killed.
Bankrupt Zanu PF is desperate for money. Mugabe has taken to the streets of Moscow, begging bowl in hand, selling copies of his Big Issue: Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation. He is unlikely to sell many Zimassets.
Before considering giving yet more money to Mugabe, the American officials, Shannon Smith and Steven Feldstein, should enquire about the welfare of Richard and Molleen Dennis who have just been chased out of their home on Caledonia farm in the peri-urban area around Harare on the Arcturus road.
The Vigil is informed by the Mike Campbell Foundation that: ‘On Tuesday afternoon a large group of people arrived in expensive cars. Many of them were drunk or high on drugs. Approximately 30 of them forced their way into the Dennis’s home and began manhandling and assaulting them. Richard was attacked with a golf club and his daughter was hit in the face but fortunately they did not need to be hospitalised. However, they were forced to leave their house with only the clothes they were wearing. They were not even allowed to take their phones, passports, spare clothes or their much-loved dogs, about whom they are extremely concerned. Their daughter is due to be married shortly and her wedding dress is also still in the house. Personnel from the Mabvuku Police Station refused to assist or even take a report. This modus operandi is typical of wealthy ZANU PF ministers and party elite who wish to take over valuable peri-urban land and divide it into plots for resale’.
Of course, millions of Zimbabweans are suffering – not only the high profile victims but also the poor and vulnerable in Harare’s high density Mbare area. MDC T legislator Eddie Cross exposes in an article today the scams used by the Mugabe mafia to exploit the poor and at the same time to undermine the rule of law and democracy itself. You can read his article here: http://nehandaradio.com/2015/05/09/exploiting-poverty-and-desperation/.
The Vigil hopes that Ms Smith and Mr Feldstein read this article before their meeting with Vice President Crocodile on Tuesday. The Vigil is not convinced that the way forward is to prop up Mugabe’s regime. We are also unhappy at pressure by donor countries for democratic forces in Zimbabwe to find common cause with expelled Zanu PF elements now suddenly bleating about human rights.
· We were saddened to hear of the sudden death by heart attack of Catherine Muchabayiwa our friend from ROHR Birmingham Branch who died earlier this week. Thanks to Danny Kadiki for his heartfelt prayer for Catherine. There will be a memorial service for her at 1 pm on Saturday 16th May. We are postponing the Zimbabwe Action Forum schedule for that day until 23rd May to allow people to attend. For details of the service and ZAF see Events and Notices.
· The Zimbabwe Association’s exhibition in London shows fascinating glimpses of the Vigil’s 13-year history. The exhibition continues until 15th May at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG and then tours round the country. For opening times check: http://zimbabweassociation.org.uk/2015/04/27/12-years-exhibition/.
· Thanks to Henrietta Mlambo, Esther Nyambi. Edward Mukuze, Fungayi Mabhunu and Mavis Chisvo for being at the start of the Vigil to help set up. Thanks to Mavis, Esther and Henrietta 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: 38 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Memorial for Catherine Muchabayiwa. Saturday 16th May at 1 pm. Venue: Emmanuel Community Church, 31 Kettlehouse Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham B44 9JH. ‘Come and let’s celebrate a life that gave so much to others’.
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 16th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
· ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 16th May from 1 – 3.45 pm. Venue: Eastleigh Library, 1st Floor, Swan Centre, Eastleigh, SO50 5SF. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Faith Shimongola (Vice Chairperson) 07500960117, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.
· ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 23rd May from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Chair: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Secretary: Brenda Chavhundura 07428227530, Organising Secretary: Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.
· 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 23rd May 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 an optician. 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.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 30th May at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.
· Facebook pages:
· SW Radio Africa’s website and sound archive is being hosted on www.archive.org. Go to the site and type in swradioafrica which will link you to snapshots of their site over the years and at the top of that page a link to their website where, under podcasts, you will find the audio.