No sign of Zanu "sanctions" demo in UK

To our disappointment there was no sign of the promised Zanu PF demonstrators when a Vigil supporter went to check outside the Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street, just around the corner from the Zimbabwe Embassy.

A young Vigil attendee drums his support.
A young Vigil attendee drums his support.

Mugabe fans in the UK, led by George Shire, Lloyd Msipa and Laurence C Muzembi (brother of Zanu (PF) Minister Walter), said they were going to present a petition today to Mr Cameron calling for an end to the vicious neo-colonialist, racist, destructive and ineffective illegal sanctions which have deprived Zimbabweans of electricity and water, destroyed agriculture, caused potholes, prevented drugs reaching the sick and the supply of spares for ambulances and caused the drought and floods.

At the last count the petition had amassed 51 signatures so perhaps the weight of it delayed the planned march from Lancaster House. In any case, the place near 10 Downing Street set aside for demonstrations was occupied by Yemenis celebrating the ousting of the despised President Ali Abdullah Saleh – yet another of Mugabe’s despot friends to bite the dust.

The Vigil was surprised at how few people appear to have signed the Zanu (PF) petition given the number of long-serving Mugabe (PF) supporters who have been forced by the illegal sanctions to come to the UK. Perhaps they are keeping low so they don’t join the failed asylum seekers now being sent back to Zimbabwe. On the other hand, since they are here at all, they could have friends working in the UK Border Agency like the ex-Nigerian jailed this week for fraudulently allowing his former countrymen into the UK.

Vigil supporters found much food for thought in a speech delivered in London this week by Roy Bennett, exiled MDC Treasurer General. He noted that western countries had given hundreds of millions in humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe and that thousands owed their lives to this generosity. But he argued that a sizable portion of this aid should have been directly targeted at political change.

“It is a false economy to pour billions into aid over an extended period when a fraction of those resources could be used to deliver change in a fraction of the time”, he said. “Zanu (PF) and its supporters will shriek and wail about imperialism and regime change . . . but the groups capable of confronting authoritarian regimes must be directly funded and resourced”.

At a time when Mugabe says it is satanic of the British Prime Minister to link aid to the question of human rights (if gays are to have human rights!) Mr Cameron might usefully rethink how Britain spends its annual $100 million official aid to Zimbabwe.

After all, it appears to us at the Vigil that nothing is changing in Zimbabwe. There is no sign of Zanu (PF) implementing the GPA, no sign that Zuma will put real muscle into his mission and little enthusiasm for any elections in the foreseeable future . . . The Vigil wants aid for change.

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 87 signed the register.

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