Vigil Diary – 28th January 2006

LONDON - The depths of winter, with an icy wind from Siberia. One simply had to sing and dance to survive last week's Vigil. Those of us used to the weather can only salute those fresh from home, all too many of them without really warm clothes or even full stomachs. This at least was addressed b

y our English sympathiser Hugh, who bought large pizzas for us to share. He was triumphant today because he had done a deal and is now getting every second pizza half price!

Today we had two asylum seekers wearing tags, an electronic monitoring system offered to asylum seekers in place of detention. In addition to Richard who came last week, we also had Tsitsi. It may interest people to know how difficult her life is. This is the weekly schedule of times she has to be at home: Monday, 9 – 11 am and 9 – 10 pm; Tuesday, 1 – 2 am; Wednesday, 10 – 11 am and 3 – 4 pm; Thursday, 12 – 1 pm (report to police at 2 pm); Friday, 10 – 11 am and 9 – 10 pm; Saturday, 12 – 1 pm and 9 – 10 pm; Sunday, 5 – 6 am. Both Richard and Tsitsi were pleased that, despite being tagged, they could still come to the Vigil.

It was great to have three carloads of supporters from Leicester, including the Vigil child, Tinotenda Vigil Muzuwa, wrapped like an Eskimo. Despite the weather there were loads of new faces including someone who came from Zimbabwe today – we are always encouraged by new supporters. Once people come they realise they are among friends who can help and advise them.

The Vigil spokesperson, Julius Mutyambezi-Dewa reported that he had received a reply this week to a letter he had written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on behalf of the Vigil. He had asked for a meeting to discuss the Zimbabwean situation and they have given a positive response. Their letter also said, “We share your views about Zimbabwe. The situation is appalling, as Mugabe continues with his disastrous policies. We will keep international pressure on the Government of Zimbabwe until reform takes place.” Julius has taken the pulse of the Vigil and will reply with a detailed agenda so that hopefully the Vigil will be able to discuss in depth with the FCO issues of close concern to our supporters.

The Africa Centre bookshop in Covent Garden is closing for refurbishment at the end of this month. This was our stockist for The Zimbabwean newspaper. However the paper will still be available from the Vigil through our new stockist, African Enterprises, Unit 3 The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NG.

FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register today.

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