Zambia gives us new hope: Vigil

From where the Vigil gathers each week outside the Zimbabwe Embassy it is not far to Victoria Station where the new Zambian President Michael Sata used to sweep the platforms. To mention this implies no disrespect to sharp-tongued ‘King Cobra’ who told an interviewer ‘I want to sweep my country even cleaner than I swept the station’.

Zambia – so long scorned as backward by Zimbabweans – gives the Vigil new hope by the civilized handover of power by President Rupiah Banda after a narrow election defeat. ‘The people of Zambia have spoken’, he said. ‘We will listen’.

Whatever the failings of the new broom – and he has shown alarming ignorance on Zimbabwe – Sata has pledged to make the rule of law and justice the cornerstone of his government and to tackle the scourge of corruption, which he linked with poverty. If he doesn’t he might end up back at Victoria Station . . .

Vigil supporters think Zimbabwe might have been better off if Mugabe had spent time cleaning Victoria Station instead of sneering at Zambia, Malawi, Botswana etc. When Mugabe came to power these neighbours were economic pygmies compared to Zimbabwe. Latest figures show they are now all better off despite our country’s abundant resources.

We at the Vigil were amused by the self-serving and hypocritical rant by Mugabe at the UN explaining why the Libyan government he is about to recognize shouldn’t be recognized because of the ‘blatant, illegal, brutal and callous NATO’s murderous bombings’ in response to ‘unfounded allegations of destruction of civilian lives by Gaddafi’. North Korea, Burma, Syria, Russia, Iran etc must have applauded madly.

We don’t know the hotel costs for Mugabe’s hundred-strong entourage in New York but were appalled to learn that Ruanda’s President Kagame spent $18,000 a night on his hotel suite for the UN meeting. Donor countries please note.

Vigil supporters will be aware that there has been an attempt to undermine our sister organisation ROHR. To counter this, ROHR President Ephraim Tapa and ROHR account administrator Rose Benton attended a meeting on the sidelines of the Vigil to share details of ROHR’s finances with representatives of the ROHR UK executive. Save for two small errors, which were to be clarified with ROHR Head Office, there were no financial irregularities in the accounts.

Vigil supporters were happy to be joined by ‘the shortcut’, Japhet Mparutsa, who was goalkeeper of the Zimbabwe Dynamos. Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu recounted how he used to stand behind the goal and cheer Japhet on – Japhet laughed when someone suggested that Fungayi’s cheers might have caused missed goals.

Shamiso Kofi, one of our regular supporters, is in detention and threatened with deportation. We are working to prevent this but are alarmed at news from the Zimbabwe Association that several people have been detained in the past week. ZA advises everyone to get their papers in order and make sure they have good legal representation.

FOR THE RECORD: 70 signed the register.

Post published in: Africa News

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