via United for human rights – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th December 2015 13 December 2015
Zimbabweans supported our friends of the Swaziland Vigil when they presented a petition to the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street calling for the suspension of Swaziland from the Commonwealth.
The petition read: ‘Exiled Swazis and supporters urge you to suspend Swaziland from the Commonwealth until there is democracy and an end to human rights abuses in Swaziland’.
The petition was signed by more than 10,000 people from all over the world who have passed by the Swaziland Vigil which has been held outside the Swaziland High Commission in London for the past six years.
The singing and drumming protestors gathered at the Zimbabwe Vigil before parading the short distance to Downing Street where they displayed the following banners: ‘No to dictatorship in Swaziland’, ‘King Mswati release political prisoners’, ‘Free Maxwell Dlamini, Dulani Bheki and Masuku’ and ‘David Ngcamphalala murderer, torturer and rapist’.
The group of more than 30 also carried other posters such as ‘No to hunger and starvation in Swaziland’ and ‘Stop police killings’.
Our protest outside Downing Street followed hard on a demonstration by thousands of the Stop Bombing Syria campaign, protesting at the UK joining the United States, France and other countries in attacking the bases in Syria of the Islamist terrorist group the so-called Islamic State.
One of the ban the bombing protesters, who were rather surprised by our arrival, kindly lent us her megaphone which enabled the Swaziland Vigil to amplify its protest while five representatives took the petition into Downing Street. They were: Thandekhile Dlamini, Zanele Nsibande, Sifiso Dlamini, Nomcebo Ngwenya and Philile Dlamini.
On our way back to the Zimbabwe Vigil we were confronted by a procession of hundreds of charity cyclists all dressed as Father Christmas and chanting ‘What do we want? Christmas. When do we want it? Now. Ho, ho, ho.‘ We wish that Christmas could be celebrated with such light hearts in Zimbabwe and Swaziland as well.
· It’s now nine months since the Zimbabwean human rights activist Itai Dzamara was abducted by intelligence agents in Harare. He hasn’t been seen since. Once again the Vigil held its monthly protest to ensure he is not forgotten.
· ROHR in Zimbabwe held a national meeting in Harare on 5th December. In Bulawayo ROHR held a well-attended gender workshop. Mashonaland East held a successful clean up and awareness campaign on Thursday 10th December while Harare Province was in a planning meeting which is scheduled to continue on Tuesday 15th December. All provinces are organising feedback meetings with a view to agreeing their programmes. ROHR has indeed come of age.
· Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Barbara Kachidza, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Sharon Moyo, Benjamin Chigamba, Mavis Chisvo, Esther Munyira, Isbell Gwatidzo and Euliter Muami. Thanks to Sharon and Ennial Dube for looking after the front table.
· At the end of the Vigil a big group went off the ROHR Central London dinner and dance fundraiser. A good time was had by all. For photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/90023465@N03/albums/72157662110527765.
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: 42 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.
· 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.
· 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 Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
· 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 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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