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Culture of denial – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Where is Mugabe? The government’s mouthpiece the Herald says he has gone to a cultural festival in India (accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister and a planeload of overpaid lackeys}. The fact that the obscure festival was not even attended by the Indian President didn’t matter: Action Man Mugabe must be seen to be doing something and he only feels at home on a plane. 

President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport yesterday. The President is in Paris to attend the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Picture by Presidential photographer Joseph Nyadzayo)
President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport yesterday. The President is in Paris to attend the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Picture by Presidential photographer Joseph Nyadzayo)

The Vigil knows that this is probably all a cover for another trip to his doctors in Singapore. Why should this be kept a secret? Zimbabweans have a right to know who is in charge, who is taking the decisions – and, more importantly, why decisions are not being taken. 

The International Monetary Fund has concluded its latest consultations in Harare leaving the door ajar to new loans to bankrupt Zanu PF.

The IMF seems to think that promises of reform by the regime are bankable. The Vigil has a message for the IMF: read the report by the International Crisis Group in last week’s diary which expresses doubts that Zanu PF can ‘walk the talk’ of reform. 

Zimbabwean ministers like Chinamasa can promise the moon but no one can deliver except Mugabe. And, as he has shown over civil servants bonuses, he will not make any decision which will imperil his hold on power. 

So Chinamasa’s promise of massive cuts in the government payroll is simply undeliverable. So are promises of reform of the indigenisation policy or action against parastatal corruption. So are all the other Chinamasa promises, including the fantasy offer to compensate dispossessed farmers. 

The culture of denial in Mugabe’s Zanu PF is shown by the party’s brazen hypocrisy over the abduction of human rights activist Itai Dzamara. We welcome the statement by the US Embassy in Harare on the anniversary of this outrage demanding justice.

We urge the United States to take the advice of Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who called on President Obama to prevent new lending to Zimbabwe unless there is meaningful progress to restore the rule of law and improve human rights.

The Vigil believes that any financial help to prop up Mugabe’s odious regime will simply prolong the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. 

It was good to see old friends from the MDC UK who joined us to mark the Dzamara anniversary which was attended by around 100 people.

For Vigil supporters it was the second Dzamara demonstration in a week following a protest outside the Embassy on 9th March.

Other points

The Vigil has received an acknowledgement from the PrimeMinister’s Office following the delivery of our petition to 10 Downing Street calling for the revocation of the citizenship acquired by the Nottingham doctor Sylvester Nyatsuro who has illegally seized a white-owned farm in Zimbabwe. The letter from No 10 says the letter has been handed to the Home Office which deals with citizenship issues.

We grieve with our Vigil friend Fungisai Mupandira’s whose 26-year-old sister died in childbirth in Zimbabwe. The baby also died. A collection was made for the family.

Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton was interviewed by two Kenyans from Diaspora Voice. They were very interested in our protest.

A number of people from the Vigil attended a meeting in London during the week addressed by Mary-Jane Ncube of Transparency International Zimbabwe. We were surprised that she had never heard of the Vigil.

The United Nations says it has only raised $78 million so far in its appeal to help feed Zimbabwe. Mugabe had asked for $1.6 billion. The UN said it had been reduced to asking Zimbabwe’s all-weather friends to contribute for the first time to such an appeal.

Thanks to the big group who were there to help at the start of the Vigil. Thanks to Cathrine Musa, Sharon Moyo and Esther Munyira for looking after the front table. Thanks also to ROHR Central London branch for the food cooked by Fungayi Mabhunu and Benjamin Chigamba and served by Rashiwe Bayisayi, Mavis Chisvo and Barbara Kachidza to raise funds for ROHR. Central London’s fundraising Lucky Dip was managed by Chipo Parirenyatwa and Isabell Gwatidzo. Thanks to those putting up the high banners: Cephas Maswoswa, BenChigamba, Nelson Dauramanzi and Piyo Choga.        

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: 87 signed the register. 

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