Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 18th March 2006

- Big, bold and brassy was the UK response to Zanu (PF)’s attempt to und

ermine the MDC Congress. The MDC in the UK joined the Vigil to protest against Mugabe’s inept efforts to taint the opposition with trumped-up treason charges. The UK diaspora gathered outside Zimbabwe House buzzing with anger at the threat to the last vestiges of democratic space. Ephraim Tapa, Chair of MDC Central London Branch, said the MDC Congress was the only way to deliver Zimbabwe from Mugabe’s tyranny. The MDC-UK’s Publicity and Information Secretary, Mathew Nyashanu, said that every gathering we have in Britain was an embarrassment for a terrorist government and gave the diaspora an opportunity to articulate its case to the international community. The Chair of the MDC-UK Women’s Branch, Suzeet Kwenda-Ruwona, and others from branches throughout the country were there to express their outrage at what is going on in Zimbabwe.

We can’t let this diary go by without recording that Francesca, our 15 year old supporter from Kent, has written to Mrs Blair in her capacity as a human rights lawyer, and also Tesco and Sainsbury’s questioning their involvement in Zimbabwe. The replies were not satisfactory but she is setting an example of lobbying which should inspire others.

A popular innovation was a poster “Take a shot at Mugabe” which showed a picture of Mugabe with his mouth agape superimposed on a dartboard. It was extraordinary how warlike the anti-war protesters were who came past us on their way from a big protest in Trafalgar Square. Many of them demanded darts.

Best wishes to our friends in Bristol who mount their first Vigil next Saturday, March 25. We are sending representatives from our Vigil to support them. The Bristol Vigil will be held from 11 am – 3 pm at the corner of Cheltenham Road and Claremont Road. We understand from the organisers that they will be supported by the local Zimbabwe Women’s Refugee Group. They are also expecting Tabitha Khumalo, the prominent Zimbabwean trade unionist. They have good music lined up as well. Directions: from Temple Meads Station, catch the 73 bus to Cheltenham Road and get out at Colston Girls School. Continue walking up Cheltenham Road and at the cross roads you will see the Vigil as the top of Cheltenham Road leads onto Claremont Road. FOR THE RECORD: 115 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY: Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub). Monday, 27th March, 7.30 pm – Yvonne Marimo of the Zimbabwe Women’s Network will talk about social issues affecting women of the Zimbabwean Diaspora.

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