With Zimbabwe now in the dangerous pre-election stage, the Vigil is submitting a petition to the UN Secretary General calling for action to avert violence and ensure a level playing field.
The petition reads: ’With mounting unrest in Zimbabwe, we urge you to appoint a Special Representative to prepare the ground for a UN Transitional Authority to take over from the failed Mugabe regime. We look to the Special Representative to initiate comprehensive negotiations so that the UN Transitional Authority can assume control of Zimbabwe’s administrative structures – foreign affairs, defence, security, finance and communications – to ensure a level playing field conducive for credible national elections.’
The petition was based on suggestions by Vigil supporter Clifford Mashiri, an academic and former Zimbabwean diplomat, who sadly died last year. The petition has been signed by thousands of people who have passed by our protest outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturdays.
From next week, the Vigil will be running a new petition urging the Southern African Development Community to engage more closely with the Zimbabwe problem and ensure free and fair elections in 2018. The success of the West African Economic Community in peacefully removing the reluctant loser of the recent Gambian presidential election showed how lacking our own regional organisation has been in dealing with Mugabe.
Why do we want outside intervention when we are told that discussions about a coalition to oppose Mugabe in the elections are still on course despite the split in Mujuru’s party? To us the key issue is the election modalities and we are not convinced by the progress claimed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The old order is going. Even the Angolan kleptocrat dos Santos has said he is now stepping down. Kabila of the DRC is on his last legs and Zuma himself appears doomed. But if we wait until Mugabe is the last man standing, what will be left of Zimbabwe?
- Vigil supporters demonstrated outside the Embassy on Wednesday when Pastor Evan Mawarire appeared in court to appeal for bail. A report can be seen on our campaigns page (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/849-report-on-demonstration-on-wednesdays-8th-february). We are having another demonstration outside the Embassy on Friday when Pastor Evan again appears in court.
- The Vigil marked the 23rd month since the abduction of human rights activist Itai Dzamara.
- Alice Hill has asked us to draw attention to her novel ‘When the Tree is Dry’ which raises awareness of the Zimbabwe crisis. For details see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/848-when-the-tree-is-dry.
- It was good that so many came on a freezing day. With the severe cold weather, our detractors were nowhere to be seen. Vigil co-ordinators warned supporters to guard against people using the Vigil and ROHR brands to promote their own interests. It was felt that these detractors were exploiting the painful human rights situation in Zimbabwe for personal gain.
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Mavis Chisvo, Daizy Fabian, Sibongile Gumbo, Isabell Gwatidzo, Etines Kapiya, Phillip Mahlahla, Heather Makawa, Lucia Mudzimu, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Virginia Mutyambizi, Patience Muyeye, Nontokozo Ncube, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Sibusiso Ngwenya, Tawanda Rusape, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Maxmus Savanhu and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine Musa, Gladys, Nontokozo and Patience for looking after the front table, to Abigail and Nomusa Dube for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Maxmus, Tawanda and Portiah for putting up the banners and tarpaulin.
FOR THE RECORD: 43 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ‘We demand Justice’ demonstration. Friday 17th February from 12 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The demo, organised by ROHR Central London branch, will mark a court appearance by Pastor Evan Mawarire and is in solidarity with all human rights and political activists who have been abused and incarcerated for their fight for freedom, equality and justice. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640 (ROHR), Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899 (Vigil), Rose Benton 07970996003 (Vigil), Sharon Moyo 07877224113 (MDC) and Portiah Tobaiwa 07926196851 (ROHR).
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 18th February from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. For exact location phone: Rose Benton 07970996003, Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 18th February. Community outreach from 11.30 am -1.30 pm. Venue: Broad Street. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. Contact: Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792 (Chair), Joshua Kahari 07877246251 (Publicity and Advocacy) and Alice Shimika 07450323439 (Secretary).
- 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 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 us.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 11th March from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark two years since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
- Facebook pages:
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. .