via ‘What have we to lose?’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary, 5th September 2015 06 September 2015
This week the Vigil’s sister organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe took to the streets of Harare and Bulawayo. They staged a demonstration in the capital against the Mugabe regime and joined in a protest march in Bulawayo against pre-paid water meters which it is argued will worsen the situation of the poor.
Here is an account of what happened drawn from messages on What’s App.
Tuesday 1st September
· 14.30 from Harare: ‘Police refused permission to march for no apparent reason’ (for demo planned for 2nd).
12.23 photos of demo start appearing.
12.45 from Harare: ‘To all our brave cadres today thank you for defying the regime’.
12.47: ‘Lest some may think it was a stroll in the park – no … the police were armed to the teeth at our proposed starting and ending points. Like the wise man from the East we changed routes.’
13.14 message from ROHR President Ephraim Tapa in London: ‘Well done comrades. The race begins now. Together we can.’
Other messages of congratulation come in.
17.36 from Harare: ‘Thanks for your encouragement. The battle line is set. No turning back now.’
19.08 from Harare: ‘What developments in place for Bulawayo . . ?’
Thursday 3rd – discussions about upcoming Bulawayo demo.
09.03 Ephraim Tapa: ‘For now we have Bulawayo as our focus. Is everything ok over there?’
11.22 from Bulawayo: ‘Things shaping up. Stay close. Bulawayo residents demonstrating against pre-paid water meters and poor service delivery’.
11.26 first picture and message from Bulawayo ‘ People of all ages streaming in’.
13.27 picture identifying Stanley Square with a message ‘I was asked to give a solidarity speech on behalf of ROHR Zimbabwe International, and good people I nailed it before an estimated 3,000 at Stanley Square.’
13.47 from same person: ‘Pray for us. After this the regime will not love it. Security.’
More photos come in.
18.35: Ephraim Tapa: ‘Congratulations guys. We can continue to go from strength to strength. And yes, together we can.’
20.07 from Bulawayo: ‘Good people I wish you were all in Bulawayo today. We had a wonderful day and now people know about ROHR and we had our flyers and everyone wanted to be part of us. We thank God for this day coz it was the birth of ROHR in Bulawayo.’
20.43 onwards messages from Bulawayo: ‘Our dream and vision will never die’, ‘Together as one’ and ‘What have we to lose’.
08.49 from Bulawayo: ‘Bulawayo has set a precedent. An estimated crowd of 3000 took to the streets demonstrating against the proposed installation of pre-paid water meters. Like a true giant ROHR’s banners led the procession from Town House to Stanley Square where speeches were delivered’.
Vigil co-ordinator Fungayi Mabhunu said he’d received a message from Harare about the demo there. It said people were very supportive. They identified with demands for human rights.
Ephraim Tapa said he had advised ROHR in Harare that it was their constitutional right to demonstrate regardless of what the police said. Ephraim, who was speaking at the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) held after the Vigil, disclosed he had just made an undercover visit to Zimbabwe. He said plans were underway for demonstrations in other areas. ‘Very soon you will see a lot of things happening in Zimbabwe at our instigation’, he said. ‘People are looking to us in the diaspora to take the lead.’ Ephraim said he had seen at first hand that Zimbabwe’s economy was grinding to a halt. The opposition was quiet and the voice of civil society muted. The talk was of ‘dead hope’. The only thriving business was the charismatic church.
· ZAF also discussed plans for a demonstration on Tuesday 22nd September against the visit to London by a Zanu PF delegation trying to drum up money. The delegation includes three ministers: Mike Bimha, S K Moyo and Obert Mpofu. There was overwhelming support at the meeting for a protest against the visit by representatives of an illegitimate regime trying to tell the world that all is well in Zimbabwe.
· Thanks to Humphrey Dube, Similenkosi Matiwaza, Edson Mulero and Thulani Chagwiza for arriving early to help set up. Thanks to Thulani, Humphrey and Caroline Witts for looking after the front table. Special thanks to Patricia Masamba for mending and washing our long cloth banners: ‘End murder, rape and torture in Zimbabwe’ and ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’. Thanks also to Tinashe Chapata for his help at the end of the Vigil.
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:
· Vigil’s monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 12th September from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark 6 months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
· ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 12th September from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Esther Nyambi 07446210391, Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.
· ROHR Slough branch general meeting. Saturday 12th September from 11 am – 1 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Hall, Wexham Road, Slough SL2 5JW. Contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803.
ROHR Reading branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 19th September 2015 from 1130 am – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu (Chair) – 07877386792, Shylette Chipangura(Secretary) – 07828929806 and Deborah Harry (Treasurer) – 07748723974.
· 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 19th September 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 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.
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th September from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 26th September 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.
· 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.