The European Union’s new friend Robert Mugabe popped up at the Vigil on Olympic ‘Super Saturday’ to display his array of gold medals. Zimbabwe’s other great hope Kirsty Coventry may be feeling the passing years, but Mugabe – more than three times her age – appears unstoppable. ‘On to Rio 2016’ he croaked, waving his COPAC medal.
Mugabe was given a wild card entry to the Games following the EU’s announcement that sanctions were being eased. But he was still not satisfied with his haul: gold medals for Men’s Skulls, Rowing (backwards), Shooting, Torture, Genocide and Looting – as well, of course, as the COPAC marathon, which involves 3.5 years going nowhere.
‘The London Olympics are full of discrimination’, he complained. ‘I was not allowed to go for the women’s skulls or white water rafting. They wanted me to do the hurdles or high jump – or even the dressage! They know I have been illegally sanctioned from Harrods and other dressage places.’
Thanks to Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu for sporting our Mugabe mask and Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani who awarded the medals. Thanks also to Sokwenele for ‘If Zimbabwe hosted the Olympics’ (see: http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/7956), which gave us a lot of laughs.
- We were interrogated by someone from an international investment fund asking us about economic prospects in Zimbabwe. We were able to show him the recent damning analysis by Zimbabwean economist John Robertson (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/aug3_2012.html#Z30 – Tragic truth behind Indigenisation policy).
- We draw attention to SW Radio’s Behind the Headlines of 30/7/2012 in which Lance Guma speaks to the Vigil Press Officer about the proposed EU easing of targeted sanctions (http://www.swradioafrica.com/podcasts/wordpress/?p=16735).
- During the week we received the following email from Harare: ‘It is with great concern that we hear the self confessed CIO agent in London has been granted asylum by the British Government even after confessing to rape, torture, murder etc. Is the Zimbabwe Vigil doing anything about getting this murderer sent back to Zimbabwe? Please let us know.’ Our response was ‘The Vigil is equally horrified but the courts here are subject to the European human rights laws and these often seem to produce ridiculous decisions. When the story broke in May 2011 it got loads of coverage both on Zimbabwean websites and in the UK press. Members of the MDC in the UK targeted Philip Machemedze’s house (see: Activists protest at UK home of CIO who was granted asylum http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/human-rights/40038/activists-protest-at-uk-home-of-cio-who-was-granted-asylum.html). The Vigil also covered this (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/308-malawi-cuts-off-its-own-nose-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-21st-may-2011). It’s good to hear from you – we haven’t forgotten this rogue and if there is any opportunity to call him to book we will jump at it.’
- We are grateful to an anonymous benefactor who gave us a generous donation today.
- We continued our collection for the family of our late supporter Bernard Hukwa whose body was found in the Thames last month. We have trawled through our photo archive and put a set of photos of him on a flickr website (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/sets/72157630843117644/). We will continue to mine our archive and add photos as we find them. Further tributes from today follow:
– Rest in peace Bernard, in God’s loving arms – Memory Dzepazi
– May your soul rest in peace – Isabbela Chirimuuta
– You will be remembered for your faithfulness and unwavering support for a free Zimbabwe – Ben Semwayo
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: 42 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Olympics Here; Oppression There features Zimbabwe musicians and writers and is hosted by Vigil supporters Hasani Hasani and Handsen Chikowore. Monday 6th August at 7.30 pm. Venue: Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX. For more information, check: http://www.exiledwriters.co.uk/cafe.shtml.
- Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 11th August 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 North East Fundraising Event. Saturday 18th August from 2 – 7 pm. Venue: Longbenton Methodist Church Hall, Chesters Avenue, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 8QP. Directions: from Four Lane Ends Metro Station, start out on Benton Road. At roundabout take the first exit onto West Farm Avenue. Turn left onto Chesters Avenue. For more information contact Tapiwa Merrymore Semwayo on 07412236229, Catherine Tshezi on 07428189705 and Susan Ndhlovu on 07767024586.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st September from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. 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. Future special ZAF meetings: Saturday 13th October when we mark the 10th anniversary of the Vigil and Saturday 10th November when our special guest will be Ben Freeth. These two meetings will take the place of the regular ZAF meetings in October and November. Both events at 6.30 pm at Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see entry above.
- The Rain that Washes showing at The Lounge, Leicester Square Theatre, from Monday 17th September – Saturday 6th October at 7 pm. Check: http://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/126523428/events or phone the booking line: 08448733433 for specific dates and to book tickets. ‘Instantly plunged into a young man’s compelling story of growing up in turbulent Zimbabwe, we live and breathe his extraordinary journey from innocence to escape, finally returning to his homeland to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . . Inspired by a series of interviews between Zimbabwean Christopher Maphosa and writer Dave Carey, The Rain That Washes is a true story that is poignant, political and, most of all, personal’.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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.
- The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.
- 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.