Challenge Mugabe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

With senior US officials due to visit Zimbabwe for talks in the coming week, the Vigil calls on them to remain focused on human rights issues, in particular the abduction of Itai Dzamara by CIO agents in Harare exactly two months ago today.


Despite a court order to investigate his disappearance, the police appear to have done nothing to look for him and it is feared that he has met the fate of so many awkward opponents of the regime: tortured and killed.

Bankrupt Zanu PF is desperate for money. Mugabe has taken to the streets of Moscow, begging bowl in hand, selling copies of his Big Issue: Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation. He is unlikely to sell many Zimassets.

Before considering giving yet more money to Mugabe, the American officials, Shannon Smith and Steven Feldstein, should enquire about the welfare of Richard and Molleen Dennis who have just been chased out of their home on Caledonia farm in the peri-urban area around Harare on the Arcturus road.

The Vigil is informed by the Mike Campbell Foundation that: ‘On Tuesday afternoon a large group of people arrived in expensive cars. Many of them were drunk or high on drugs. Approximately 30 of them forced their way into the Dennis’s home and began manhandling and assaulting them. Richard was attacked with a golf club and his daughter was hit in the face but fortunately they did not need to be hospitalised. However, they were forced to leave their house with only the clothes they were wearing. They were not even allowed to take their phones, passports, spare clothes or their much-loved dogs, about whom they are extremely concerned. Their daughter is due to be married shortly and her wedding dress is also still in the house. Personnel from the Mabvuku Police Station refused to assist or even take a report. This modus operandi is typical of wealthy ZANU PF ministers and party elite who wish to take over valuable peri-urban land and divide it into plots for resale’.

Of course, millions of Zimbabweans are suffering – not only the high profile victims but also the poor and vulnerable in Harare’s high density Mbare area. MDC T legislator Eddie Cross exposes in an article today the scams used by the Mugabe mafia to exploit the poor and at the same time to undermine the rule of law and democracy itself. You can read his article here:

The Vigil hopes that Ms Smith and Mr Feldstein read this article before their meeting with Vice President Crocodile on Tuesday. The Vigil is not convinced that the way forward is to prop up Mugabe’s regime. We are also unhappy at pressure by donor countries for democratic forces in Zimbabwe to find common cause with expelled Zanu PF elements now suddenly bleating about human rights.

Other points

· We were saddened to hear of the sudden death by heart attack of Catherine Muchabayiwa our friend from ROHR Birmingham Branch who died earlier this week. Thanks to Danny Kadiki for his heartfelt prayer for Catherine. There will be a memorial service for her at 1 pm on Saturday 16th May. We are postponing the Zimbabwe Action Forum schedule for that day until 23rd May to allow people to attend. For details of the service and ZAF see Events and Notices.

· The Zimbabwe Association’s exhibition in London shows fascinating glimpses of the Vigil’s 13-year history. The exhibition continues until 15th May at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG and then tours round the country. For opening times check:

· Thanks to Henrietta Mlambo, Esther Nyambi. Edward Mukuze, Fungayi Mabhunu and Mavis Chisvo for being at the start of the Vigil to help set up. Thanks to Mavis, Esther and Henrietta for looking after the front table.

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 38 signed the register.

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