Vigil calls SADC to account

francesca_zizi_tutaniLONDON - As the military junta in Zimbabwe intensifies its onslaught against the MDC and civil liberties, the Vigil has relaunched our petition calling for penalties against SADC countries for failing to honour their undertaking to protect Zimbabweans, millions of whom are suffering at the hands of the rampaging regime.

SADC agreed to guarantee the coalition deal it foisted on the MDC two years ago but has repeatedly failed to hold Zanu (PF) to account for its refusal to implement the agreement. The military junta has now decided to bludgeon its way to another election victory before Mugabe dies no time obviously can be wasted in the confident expectation that Africa will once again rubber stamp a bogus election.

The Vigil believes that there is no point in appealing to the African Union; it is rapidly backtracking on its vote for democracy in Libya. We also have little confidence in the United Nations, which we believe will have no interest in Zimbabwe until there are tanks firing in Harare.

So who are we to look to? The European Union gives billions of pounds a year to the SADC circus. The UK alone, for instance, gives some 80 million a year to support the government of Mugabes friend President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi. We want this money suspended until SADC governments meet their obligations.

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(Pictured: Zimbabwe Association at the Vigil with their new banner)

Here is what we are demanding: A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.

As we met outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, some quarter of a million of people demonstrated in London against austerity cuts in the national budget. We believe that the UK government can avoid some of these cuts by withholding funds from Mugabes derelict SADC allies.

The Times newspaper has been promoting a forum on African development. We noted particularly the following figures: Zimbabwean GDP 4.64 billion and population 12 million against South Africas GDP of 507 billion with a population of 49 million. To spell it out, the GDP per person in South Africa is 25 times as big as the GDP per person in Zimbabwe. When Mugabe came to power Zimbabwe was an economic power in Africa…

It was good to have with us Sarah Harland of the Zimbabwe Association. She spoke to supporters about the new ruling on sending back to Zimbabwe failed asylum seekers.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/. FOR THE RECORD: 164 signed the register.

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