Vigil group set for All Stakeholders Conference on Zim future

via Vigil group set for All Stakeholders Conference on Zim future | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda September 30, 2013

An all-stakeholders’ conference on the future of Zimbabwe has been organized by the London-based Zimbabwe Vigil group, in an effort to bring together members of the Zimbabwe Diaspora and discuss ideas and hopes for the country’s future.

Rose Benton from the Vigil told SW Radio Africa that they were contacted by many people after the disputed July 31st elections, saying they were shocked and had no idea how to move forward in the wake of another stolen election.

“People feel it was a massively rigged election and they wondered just how we were going to move ahead. These calls for the lifting of targeted sanctions are a disappointment, especially after the rigged election,” Benton explained.

She added: “So we are sending out invitations asking people to submit ideas in advance so we can get some key themes to discuss on how to move forward. We are very much asking people what they think they can do and how to move on.”

Among the invited guests are the Labour MP Kate Hoey, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe. A statement from the Vigil said she felt “there was general despair at the situation following the stolen elections. She said nothing seems to be happening.” Dewa Mavhinga of Amnesty International is also due to attend.

Benton said the elections are just part of the agenda for this conference, which aims to look at what the Diaspora can do to help resolve the ongoing political and economic crisis. She said: “This is not an exercise in solving people’s visa and immigration problems, but it’s about how we can help those suffering back home under the current crisis.”

Several other topics have already been suggested and the Vigil said they welcome more contributions from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.

A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) on Saturday came up with several suggested topics for discussion. Their list included scrapping indigenisation and encouraging foreign direct investment, nationalising the diamond mines, privatising parastatals and granting bankable title to farmers to enable them to finance their operations.

It was also suggested that government should now tackle corruption and require senior government officials to disclose their assets, replace the judiciary and reform the police and armed forces.

There has also been some strong criticism of the MDC-T and how the party handled this last election, with some saying they had become too comfortable within the coalition government and forgot about the people.

The MDC-T went into the elections despite ZANU PF’s refusal to implement many of the reforms agreed to in the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which all the parties signed under the SADC mediation. This has led to some calling for new leadership for the MDC-T.

The event, to be held on October 24th, comes almost two months after the disputed July 31st elections, yet many Zimbabweans say they are still reeling from the shock of another rigged election and are struggling to see five more years under a ZANU PF government.