No joke – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th August 2014

via No joke – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th August 2014 17 August 2014

Supporters at the Vigil beamed broadly in response to Mugabe’s appeal to Zimbabweans to pretend that all is well to the SADC Summit at the Victoria Falls. Our smiles were so big we couldn‘t help laughing at Mugabe’s request: ‘We are asking you to smile and show the region that we are a hospitable people, that we can welcome visitors. Let us all smile and for just a moment forget our problems . . . albeit under the burden of sanctions.’


To underline our joy at our desperate situation we held up smiley pictures with the posters: “Mugabe: ‘Smile for the SADC Summit’” and “Mugabe: ‘Smile, though your heart is breaking’”.


We are sure that our South African friends, in particular, will appreciate a smiley welcome at the Summit – after all they are connoisseurs in hypocrisy, as shown by their clutching at legal straws to continue preventing the publication of an explosive report said to expose the rigging of the 2002 Zimbabwe elections.


We welcome Zimbabwe’s return to a path of stability and prosperity and remain committed to cooperation and partnership with our valued neighbour’, joked South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, announcing a three-year extension of residents’ permits for Zimbabwean refugees. His joke was spoiled by the Daily News on Sunday quoting a highly-placed source in Pretoria: ‘It is not a secret that Zimbabwe is currently economically stressed and that things may get significantly worse soon. The growing fear is that this economic crisis will trigger ever larger volumes of economic refugees.’


The joke was further exposed by ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. “Zimbabwe was a food basket of Africa but is a disaster today,” he said as he reassured South African farmers that their land would not be seized forcibly and without compensation.  


The Daily News source will not be surprised by a report by Newsday that an undertaker has again been named as businessman of the year by one of Zimbabwe’s leading business associations (see: or that a leading Chinese insurance company is refusing to guarantee loans to Zimbabwean companies because of Mugabe’s failure to meet repayments (see:


For our part, the VigiI is not surprised that Zanu PF is now turning to the EU for investment. Newsday quotes a no-doubt smiling Foreign Affairs deputy minister Christopher Mutsvangwa as saying that Zanu PF is now prepared to generously allow the West to rescue the economy. ‘They should not fear anything. Not at all. The Head of State is seized with the matter of revising laws which may be an impediment to foreign direct investment,’ said Mutsvangwa (see:


The Vigil has bad news for Mr Mutsvangwa: there is no real prospect of the EU seriously engaging in a country where Mugabe is seizing anything.


The Vigil was joined by members of ZAPU wearing their yellow tshirts and carrying posters such as ‘ZAPU for free and just land distribution’ and ‘ZAPU respects property rights’. They condemned the invasion of their leader Dumiso Dambengwa’s farm by Zanu PF elements.


Among the ZAPU representatives was ZAPU Secretary-General  Dr Ralph Mguni, who said sadly that Zimbabweans used to be respected around the world but they are now regarded as trash. The Chairman of ZUPA UK, Christopher Maphosa, whose story as a disillusioned war veteran is shown in the play ‘The Rain that Washes’ still being shown at theatres in the UK, said ‘We must all stand together as Zimbabweans. Our country does not belong to Zanu’. Another ZAPU speaker was Themba Mthethwa, who said exiled Zimbabweans had been failed by the leadership back home and must work to achieve a new independence in Zimbabwe.


Other points

  • The Vigil supported a petition protesting to SADC leaders about the seizure of a white-owned farm by Mugabe’s deputy chief secretary in contravention of a high court order. Sign the petition here:

  • SW Radio Africa has now closed but is leaving a few key archive programmes on the main page of their website: for the interest of their listeners. The site will remain in place for a few more months. Their 13 year sound archive will be hosted by and as soon as that becomes accessible we will post the weblink on our ‘Events and Notices’ section.

  • Thanks to Brenda Chavundura, Mary Muteyerwa, Mavis Chisvo, Siphelo Moswa, Helen Rukambiro, Benjamin Semwayo and Fungayi Mabhunu who were there at the start to help set up.


    For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.


    FOR THE RECORD: 31 signed the register.



  • ROHR Southampton Branch general meeting. Saturday 23rd August from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Age Concern Building, 20 Romsey Road, Eastleigh S050 9AL. Special guest speakers. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Wellington Mukucha (Vice Chairperson), 07450264733, Sekayi Mwenye (Secretary) 07428570134, Chipo Mtetwa (Organising Secretary) 07403341214.

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 23rd August from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 30th August at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th September 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 Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • ROHR Executive Committee meeting. Saturday 13th September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA.

  • ROHR Central London Branch general meeting. Saturday 20th September from 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

  • 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 Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • The Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets twice a month after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy