He could, of course, do some housekeeping work for the MDC, but he must be tired of his meetings being disrupted by Zanu PF and cancelled by the police. And party business is not as much fun as slapping the well-suited back of a real Prime Minister.
After his talks with David Cameron in London, the Vigil began to wonder who exactly Tsvangirai is working for. His message explained in Parliament on Wednesday by Tsvangirai himself was: remove sanctions and give us lots of money. Never mind that there have been no reforms and that Zimbabweans are now world-renowned for never paying their debts. Ask Mugabe why he has not paid his electricity bill of $350,000….
What we at the Vigil want from Tsvangirai is a strategy to secure free and fair elections in the face of total obstruction from Mugabe’s cronies – the people he wants to legitimize. We have heard of no such strategy and time is fast running out. Unfortunately there are still a few countries he hasn’t visited and some backs he hasn’t slapped. After all he is now Premier Class.
So the Vigil is stepping into the vacuum by sending the following letter to the British Prime Minister:
Dear Mr Cameron
The Zimbabwe Vigil is pleased to hear that you gave the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, your commitment to help achieve free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
The Vigil has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for ten years in support of this cause.
President Mugabe has insisted on elections this year even though a new constitution has not yet been adopted or reforms made as required by the Global Political Agreement he signed after the violent elections of 2008.
President Mugabe’s supporters have made it clear that they will again employ the methods that sabotaged those elections, including violence and ballot rigging.
The Vigil believes the international community has a duty of care to Zimbabweans to prevent bloodshed and ensure a fair poll. The contribution of regional observers during previous elections has been questionable and the Vigil calls for UN involvement this time.
We are grateful for the UK government’s financial assistance for suffering Zimbabweans and ask that you go further and, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, transmit the Vigil’s petition for UN help: ‘We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.’
As you will see the petition has been signed by more than 10,000 people from all over the world who have stopped by the Vigil.
We ask for an opportunity to present this petition to you or your representative in the near future as time for Zimbabwe is running short.
• A reminder that the Zimbabwe Action Forum is to meet after the Vigil next week. See ‘Events and Notices’ below for details. The Forum provides an opportunity for people to offer suggestions for the way forward to free Zimbabwe.
• Vigil supporters may be interested in the observations of former student leader, Freeman Chari, who writes of the need for an international peacekeeping force to monitor elections (http://nehandaradio.com/2012/03/27/only-force-can-remove-mugabe-and-zanu-pf/ – Only force can remove Mugabe and Zanu PF).
• We were pleased to see an article about the Vigil written by a Zimbabwean writer Hasani Hasani (The vigil eye on Mugabe’s abuses – http://www.thenewlondoners.co.uk/news-a-features/106-feature-immigration/413-the-vigil-eye-on-mugabes-abuses). The Vigil diary last year published a poem he read out at the service in support of Zimbabwean victims of torture – 26th June 2011 (http://zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/316-service-in-support-of-zimbabwean-victims-of-torture-26th-june-2011).
• The plight of Zimbabwe moves many generous spirits. One gentleman who regularly makes a donation to our work stopped by today and gave us £60. We are very grateful.
• Another gentleman asked us whether we had read Ben Freeth’s book. Josie on the front desk told him we had just received an email from Ben supporting our plans for our petition to the UN. The passer-by promptly signed the petition.
• Thanks to Thabani Nyathi who brought soft drinks and Lorrein Gumise who brought biscuits for Vigil supporters. Thanks also to Georgina Makaza who has been coming at the start to help set up.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. 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: 67 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
• Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 7th April from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
• Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 7th April from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
• ROHR North East general meeting. Saturday 14th April from 3 – 6 pm. Venue: Windmill Centre, Chester Place, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1QB. For directions please contact Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Tapiwa Merrymore Semwayo 07722060246 or Colin Matongo 07865691347.
• Fourth 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest organized by the MDC diaspora. Saturday 21st April. On this day the Vigil will also mark Zimbabwe’s 32nd Independence anniversary.
• Two Gentlemen of Verona Shona Production at the Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT. Dates / Times: Wednesday 9 May, 2.30pm. Thursday 10 May, 7.30pm. Tickets £5 – £35 (700 £5 tickets available) from 020 7401 9919 and www.shakespearesglobe.com. A two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. In a triumphantly energetic ‘township’ style, Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu slip into all of the play’s fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog – in this new, specially commissioned translation.
• Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.
• The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
• ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
• The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.
• Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&amp;ref=ts.
• Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk. – – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st March 2012Post published in: News