Zimbabweans in the diaspora have appealed to South Africa to ensure that international observers are sent to Zimbabwe for the upcoming elections. The appeal came in a letter and petition delivered to the South African High Commission in London, which also called on President Zuma to get tough with Mugabe.
The letter from the Vigil read:
‘Zimbabweans in the diaspora wish South Africans a peaceful and prosperous new year. As we begin the run up to elections due by October, we fear 2013 will not be peaceful and prosperous for Zimbabweans.
President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party continues to obstruct the Global Political Agreement and shows no sign of allowing free and fair elections. Indeed, it has recently stepped up its harassment of human rights organisations.
We urge you as the SADC facilitator to call President Mugabe to account. We are particularly worried by reports that Zimbabwean diamonds are being bartered for Chinese weapons when our country faces no external threat.
We beg you to press for international observers to be sent to Zimbabwe as soon as possible to deter election violence.
This appeal has been delivered to the South African High Commission in London by the Zimbabwe Vigil and MDC members in the UK. It is part of the monthly 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest. We enclose a petition from the Global Protest.’
The petition was drawn up by our friends in the United States and the text is available on our campaigns page (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/468-pertition-to-president-zuma-).
On a bitterly cold day when snow disrupted travel, the Vigil was glad to have some 20 people outside South Africa House with posters reading: ‘Election observers for Zimbabwe now’, ‘Zuma kickstart Global Political Agreement’, ‘Zuma end Mugabe foot-dragging’, ’ Zanu PF readies for election violence’, etc.
Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa said international observers must be in place six months before the elections and six months after them. He went on to say people in the diaspora were the victims of South Africa’s failure to broker peace.
South Africa must live up to its principles and deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe. He added that all those who had done wrong must be brought to book.
• A dozen or so people went on to the first Zimbabwe Action Forum of 2013. Among the subjects discussed was a possible demonstration outside the Chatham House think tank in London on Thursday 31st January when they will be launching a new book on the Zimbabwe land issue ‘Zimbabwe takes back its land’. The book claims to counter ‘the dominant media narratives of oppression and economic stagnation in Zimbabwe’.
The Vigil wishes to make the point that, more than a decade after the seizure of commercial farms, 1.7 million Zimbabweans are in need of food assistance from international donors. The proposed new constitution was also discussed. Ephraim Tapa said the three principals had hi-jacked the process leaving Zanu PF in control.
Ephraim and David Kadzutu of our partner organisation ‘Zimbabwe We Can’ outlined the aims of the movement, which they said was envisaged as an umbrella group like the Anti-apartheid Movement embracing all Zimbabweans working for freedom and democracy. It was agreed to hold the next meeting of ZAF on 2nd February – see events and notices for full details.
• The Vigil was refreshed to read the straight talking by the MDC’s exiled Treasurer General Roy Bennett, who disagreed with the hypocritical tributes to the late Vice President John Nkomo. He said: “How can anyone with any sense say that John Nkomo dedicated his life to Zimbabwe’s prosperity? Since the 1980s, he has sat at the heart of the beast that has destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy.
He has held the hand of the dictator that has obliterated our hopes and freedoms. He must now be remembered by the choices he made. He chose to oppose the people, rather than serve them. He walked around in tailor-made suits while Zimbabweans walked in rags. He received private medical treatment in South Africa, while Zimbabweans in South Africa were dying in the townships’.
• A pom pom for the valiant supporters who managed to make the difficult journey to the Vigil today: Lindiwe Bare, Dennis Benton, Rose Benton, Vimbai Bhanhire, Makaza Chizinga, Simbarashe Dziruni, Thandiwe Gwarumba, David Kadzutu, Christopher Kamuzonde, Jonathan Kariwoh, Rosemary Khumalo, Juliah Magidivani, Ishmael Makina, Cephas Maswoswa, Victoria Matewere, Febbie Mpofu, Allen Msoko, Chigwedere Muchineripi, Lucia Mudzimu, Grace Munyanyi, Tafadzwa Mushakwe, Beverly Mutandiro, Wish Mutasa, Mary Muteyerwa, George Ncube, Allan Njanji, Xoliso Sithole, Ephraim Tapa, Dumi Tutani, Tendayi Vheremu.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.
FOR THE RECORD: 30 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
• ROHR Birmingham Branch Meeting. Saturday 26th January from 1 – 4 pm. Venue: All Saints Centre, Vicarage Road, King’s Heath, Birmingham B14 7RA. Contact: Anne Chikumba 07857528546, Lorraine Manenji 07854801250, Petronella Mapara 07903644612, Jane Mary Mapfumo 07412310429.
• Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 2nd February from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The meeting will take place straight after the Vigil. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. 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 big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It’s next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
• Launch of the ROHR Coventry Branch. Saturday 2nd February. Further details as they become available.
• Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 2nd February from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
• ROHR Leicester Branch meeting. Saturday 9th February from 12.30 – 3.30 pm. Venue: The Brite Centre, Braunstone Ave, Braunstone, Leicester LE3 1LE. Contact: Christopher Kamuzonde 07449150041, Enniah Dube 07403439707
• Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
• ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
• Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
• Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
• Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.
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.
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