As activists at the Vigil commemorated the fifteenth month since the abduction by state security agents in Harare of the human rights campaigner Itai Dzamara, we displayed a new poster – this one condemning the arrest on Wednesday of his brother Patson.
Last week Patson released a photograph of what looked like his brother with his hands tied behind his back and a bandage around his head. He told a news conference that he had been given inside information ‘from within the evil establishment’.
Patson was arrested along with four other activists while taking part in a revived protest in Africa Unity Square originally started by Itai against Mugabe’s misrule. Their lawyer, Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said they had been charged with robbery and obstructing the course of justice. ‘These are trumped up charges to instil fear and discourage people from occupying Africa Unity Square,’ Shava said.
Ten more protestors were detained later in a clear move to close down the protest, which has been gathering increased support as the economy slips towards the cliff edge. They have all now been released on bail.
The Facebook page of Occupy Africa Unity Square was defiant, saying the protest would continue: ‘We have been attacked, robbed, beaten, detained without charges, arrested on trumped-up charges, denied bail by charging outrageous amounts, smeared in the Herald. All of this for 10 days of activism. All this for demanding the Freedom hard-earned at Independence, and subsequently sold down the river’. Meanwhile, youths in Bulawayo have started their own occupation outside City Hall.
The protest has aroused international interest. This week the Times of London ran stories about Zimbabwe on three consecutive days. On Monday the headline was ‘Cash runs dry after Mugabe plunders banks’ (http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/78-cash-runs-dry-after-mugabe-plunders-banks).
For details of how Mugabe has plundered the banks see an article by Eddie Cross MP (http://nehandaradio.com/2016/06/11/they-have-done-it-again/).
– Some newcomers to the Vigil were startled when a procession of naked cyclists rode past. We told them it was an annual event and assured them it had nothing to do with the Queen’s 90th birthday marked today by a fly-past after the ceremonial Trooping the Colour.
– Our friends at the Swaziland Vigil confronted the Swaziland High Commissioner, Mrs Dumsile T Sukata, when she was driven away to attend Trooping the Colour. They pushed a poster against a rear window of her car showing a picture of King Mswati III with the wording ‘Wanted for Human Rights Abuses’. She desperately tried to close the window blinds.
– On Tuesday 14th June the Vigil is presenting a petition to the Botswana High Commission in London calling on SADC to take action to avert meltdown in Zimbabwe. See ‘events and notices’ for details.
– On Friday we were alarmed to hear that Vigil supporter Emmaculate Tshuma was to be deported that day. She was in a Home Office van outside Heathrow airport. Kenya Airways’ telephone lines were overloaded with calls telling them not to take Emmaculate back to Zimbabwe. We are relieved to say that she was not sent home.
– Thanks to the big group that arrived early to help set up: Alfredy Mukuvare, Benjamin Chigamba, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Ethel Siduna, Eletha Mpofu, Esther Munyira, Etines Kapiya, Euliter Mutami, Eva Sanyahokwe, Flemming Diza, Fungayi Mabhunu, Isabell Gwatidzo, Jean Kawara, John Burke, Jonas Makombera, Kevin Gondo, Kidi Gotsi, Mandifusa Mushambadope, Mavis Chisvo, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Michael Sirewu, Michelle Makoni, Nancy Makurira, Nomcebo Ngwenya, Percy Dube, Phillip Mahlahla, Praisego Moyo, Rashiwe Bayisayi, Roseline Mukucha, Rosemary Maponga, Sihle Sibanda, Vusumuzi Ncube and Zenzo Siziba. Thanks to Roseline, Esthere and Etines for looking after the front table and to Phillip, Benjamin, Alfredy, Kevin and Mduduzi for putting up the high banners and the tarpaulin in the rain. Thanks to Chipo and Isabell for looking after the lucky dip to fundraise for ROHR Central London branch. Chipo made a beautiful cake to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday which was enjoyed by all.
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: 44 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Presentation of Vigil petition to Botswana High Commission. Tuesday 14th June at 11 am. Venue: Botswana High Commission, 6 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AY. Nearest station: Bond Street. The petition asks President Ian Khama as Chair of SADC to ask the region to intervene in Zimbabwe. We are gathering outside the High Commission at 10.30 am.
- ROHR Reading branch general meeting. Saturday 18th June from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below. Contact: Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Charles Mararirakwenda 07964731721, Shylette Chipangura 07828929806.
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 18th June from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.
- ROHR Leicester branch meeting. Saturday 18th June from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: the Salvation Army, Kildare Street, Leicester LE1 3FY. Directions: Opposite Peking Chinese Restaurant, City Centre. Contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
- 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.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 25th June from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- MDC Youth Family Fun Day. Saturday 25th June from 2 pm until late. Venue: Billing Aquadrome, Crow Lane, Northampton NN3 9DA. For more information contact: Sharon Moyo (07877224113) Organising Secretary and Vusumuzi Ncube (07758937280) Youth Chair.
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 2nd July 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 2nd July 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.
- 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. For more information: http://africa-confidential-meetings.com/.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 9th July from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark sixteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- 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.
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