via Quoting Bible a crime – The Zimbabwean 21/12/2015
The hypocrisy of the Zanu PF regime and the complicity of the outside world have been exposed by the solitary pilgrimage of Pastor Patrick Mugadza who took the road to Calvary from Kariba to protest against Mugabe at the Victoria Falls conference.
Despite our lauded and expensive yet-to-be-implemented 2013 constitution which enshrined human rights, Pastor Patrick was thrown into prison for displaying a poster reminding people of a Biblical prophecy. Theposter simply read ‘Mr President, the people are suffering. Proverbs 21, 13’. The text he referred to was obviously taken as a seditious attack on Mugabe: ‘Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard’.
His lawyer protested unavailingly ‘Everyone has the right to demonstrate . . . He was merely holding a placard with no violence and didn’t even try to force members of the public to join him’. Pastor Patrick could not raise the $500 bail as he had spent all his money getting to the Falls. Since a recent survey shows that per capita income in rural areas is apparently down to less than 50 cents a day, this lack of resources is not surprising. He was, in effect, asked to put up three years’ income in bail.
The Vigil is particularly disappointed at the failure of the UK and the West to promote the new constitution for which they provided so much money in a time-consuming process which succeeded only in distracting attention from Zanu PF’s successful machinations to steal the last elections. In our view this money was totally wasted.
The pusillanimity of the ‘enlightened’ West has been starkly displayed in the craven failure of Oxford University to stand up to bigoted students demanding the removal of memorials to Cecil John Rhodes at Oriel College where he was a student.
We can all agree Rhodes was guilty of many things. He was an imperialist. He was white. He was a man. He was probably gay. But one of his sins was to endow Commonwealth scholarships to Oxford which continue to this day. The University should now repent of receiving this tainted benefaction and give all the money to Mugabe and Zuma. They’ll know what to do with it.
We await the day when Oxford admits that the University has over the centuries been funded by tyrants and corrupt clergy and hand the whole place over to Isis Demolitions and Bros. As the Oxford poet John Betjeman might have said:
Come Isis bombs and land on Oriel
That’ll end their Rhodes Memorial.
(Ironically, Betjeman was published in the Oxford University magazine Isis.)
Vigil demonstrators displayed the following posters: ‘Oxford University: Return Rhodes’s blood money’, ’Pastor arrested for quoting Bible’, ‘Mugabe: free Pastor Patrick’, ‘Quoting Bible outlawed in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Banned: Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard’.
- At the suggestion of Danny Kadiki people brought festive foodto mark the last Vigil before Christmas. A tribute to Fungayi Mabhunu who cooked sadza, cowsfeet and beans which were very popular. Sally Mutseyami brought a magnificent cake to celebrate her son Kyle’s second birthday. Food left over was donated to the homeless. The Vigil will convene again on Boxing Day (26th December) as normal.
- Two Zimbabweanstudents, Brian Marijena and Tennyson Gonorishe from the University of Wales in Swansea joined us today. They were filming a documentary to show the struggles of asylum seekers in the UK. They are following a young single mother (Sally Mutseyami) as she tells her story and her activism with ROHR Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Vigil.
- Thanks to those who were there at the start to help set up: Barbara Kachidza, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Jenniffer Marita, Esther Munyira, Caherine Musa, Elector Zvorwadza, Danny Kadiki, Innocent Maya, Rashiwe Bayisayi and Humphrey Dube.Thanks to Barbara and Esther for looking after the front table and to Humphrey, Danny and Innocent for putting up the banners.
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: 40 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 26th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ROHR Executive Meeting: Saturday 9th January at 12 noon. 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.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 9th January from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark ten months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 9th January from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a ten 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 Circlelines) and Holborn.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe tofight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- 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.
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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.