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Zimbabwe’s ‘quaternary’ stage? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

At the Vigil we said a prayer for all those fleeing Africa. Our thoughts were of the hundreds of hopeful migrants who drowned when their vessel sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa, ending their dream of a better life in Europe. 

A Zimbabwean woman with a baby strapped round her back crosses the border into South Africa
A Zimbabwean woman with a baby strapped round her back crosses the border into South Africa

Italy declared a day of national mourning and there were widespread cries that ‘something must be done’ to end the carnage in the Mediterranean caused by people-smugglers cramming desperate migrants into unseaworthy boats.

Short of Europe throwing open its borders (unlikely to say the least) the unpalatable truth is that sadly nothing will stop this trade until there is good governance in Africa, an end to institutional corruption there and an improvement in conditions for ordinary people.

There is little prospect of this, despite economic growth in some African countries.

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These are the reasons why up to a quarter of Zimbabwe’s people have fled the country – among them the best educated. Reading the Herald one can see the disastrous result of this exodus.

‘Elementary studies of economics inform us that production occurs in three levels which are primary, secondary and tertiary and of the late, the fourth level which is quaternary’, goes one article.  The writer says a ‘paradigm shift’ in Zimbabwe is ‘the panacea that will lift our nation from the doldrums of quagmire that the economic forces of this age have relegated us to’.

The Vigil thinks that if the writer meant Zanu-PF instead of ‘economic forces’ his ravings might make a glimmer of sense. But it’s clear he doesn’t. The reality is that the flight from Zimbabwe looks, if anything, like increasing as NoPresident Mugabe reneges on his election promises of pay rises, investment in industry etc and the economy moves from primary to secondary and tertiary then ‘quaternary’.

The Vigil was told by a Zimbabwean who teaches at a London college that he was shocked on a recent visit home to rural Matabeleland to see how thin, gaunt and small people are. Their physical condition was in sharp contrast to that of people just across the border in South Africa.

(Another thing he remarked on was that although they were cowed by Zimbabwe police they felt free to let off steam with the South African police. ‘What’s the matter with these people?’ one policeman asked him.)

Other points

• Saturday 12th October marks the 11th anniversary of our Vigil. We are marking the occasion at a meeting after the Vigil of the Zimbabwe Action Forum. We will also discuss our forthcoming all-stakeholders’ conference ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ to which we have been sending out the following invitation: ‘The Zimbabwe Vigil has been contacted by a number of groups and individuals about the need for the Zimbabwean diaspora to meet together to discuss how we can help resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

To this end we are holding a one day all-stakeholders’ conference in London for the Zimbabwean diaspora on Thursday 24th October. The purpose of the meeting is to agree a common platform and strategy for diaspora action on the Zimbabwe crisis following the fraudulent July elections. To book a place: Please email co-ordinato[email protected] with your ideas about what should be discussed.

Date: Thursday, 24th October 2013

Starts: 9 am registration for 10 am start. Ends 4.30 pm

Venue: Theatre, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG

Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (Central line)’

• Thanks to Tendai Chadehumbe, Deborah Harry, Cathrine Muchabayiwa and Munyaradzo Katsonga who came early to help set up.

• We are glad to report that the Vigil outside the Swaziland High Commission in London which we helped to start is attracting more and more supporters, some from far afield. It is drawing lots of attention with its vibrant singing and dancing.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 42 signed the register.

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.