Supporters from the Zimbabwe Vigil’s earliest days, now scattered far and wide, were invited to join us to be photographed for the back cover of a book to be published soon about our protest.
The book’s introduction begins: ‘In the fifteenth year of the weekly Vigil under the windows of Zimbabwe House in London, we produce this journal in the hope that real change is in sight and the country can embrace a future free of the malignant Mugabe influence.’
The book, titled ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’, is based on the Vigil’s diaries which over the years have recorded how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. The diaries chronicle the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved.
The introduction cautions people of the dangers of further co-operation with Zanu PF’s divisive legacy. It says: ‘They say the leopard never changes its spots. Our fear is that, with the departure of Mugabe, the people of Zimbabwe may again have the Zanu PF leopard foisted on them in some form or other. For the likely results be warned by these pages.‘
All proceeds from the book will go to help the Vigil finance its work in Zimbabwe, which ranges from humanitarian aid to voter education. Much of this is carried out by the sister organisation the Vigil set up at home, the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe.
ROHR’s latest project is to help the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP) which aims to train 100,000 civilian peacekeepers to overcome fear and intimidation, particularly in the rural areas, during next year’s elections.
On Friday about 150 ROHR supporters staged a peace march in the centre of Chitungwiza in defiance of an unconstitutional police attempt to stop them. ROHR President Ephraim Tapa told us that the police later raided the homes of several of the organisers and ordered them to report to the police on Monday. Legal representation is being obtained.
Ephraim said the police had earlier refused to allow a peace march planned in Harare at the end of May. He said ‘this is against the constitution which stipulates that people only have to notify the police about a demonstration, not get permission. It is the police who are being lawless and we must challenge this.’
- Ephraim encouraged people to help raise sponsorship for a walk on Saturday 1st July organised by Daizy Fabian to raise funds for ZimPAP. The walkers will cover 15 miles from Ilford planning to reach the Vigil by 2 pm.
- A proof copy of the book was passed around at the the Vigil and aroused much interest – though not perhaps as much as the annual parade of more than a hundred naked and semi-naked cyclists down the Strand past the Embassy. Fortunately for them the weather was bright and sunny this year.
- We managed to catch a picture of Mugabe next to the Ambassador’s car. He looked horrified at the cyclists.
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Mavis Chisvo, Enock Dzonga, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Netsayi Makarichi, Rosemary Maponga, Margaret Munenge, Charles Mupawose, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Edmore Pedzisai, Rumbidzayi Sambana and Michael Sirewu. Thanks to Mavis, Catherine Musa and Netsayi for looking after the front table, to Rosemary, Enock and Rumbidzayi for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Mduduzi, Rumbidzayi, Fungayi, Jonathan, Edmore, Charles and Netsayi for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Nyarai Masvosva for the extra photos and to Fungayi for wearing our Mugabe mask.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.
FOR THE RECORD: 29 signed the register.