That the party is being held at the Zimbabwe Ruins is entirely appropriate. What may seem less appropriate to donors is spending so much feeding Mugabe at a time when Zimbabwe is appealing for $1.5 billion to help the starving.
The birthday boy â€“ played by Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask â€“ turned up sleepily at the Vigil holding upside down one of our posters â€˜Where is Itai Dzamara?â€™ He was presented with several cakes and a colourful birthday painting showing the name Mugabe drowning in a tide of blood. Pinned to the painting were Zimbabwean hundred trillion dollar notes worth two quadrillion, five hundred trillion Zimbabwe dollars. Surely enough for anyoneâ€™s party.
Mugabe was surrounded by Vigil supporters carrying posters: â€˜Pay Mugabe in his own currencyâ€™, â€˜Let Mugabe eat cakeâ€™, â€˜Emergency appeal for Mugabe’s birthday partyâ€™, â€˜While Zimbabwe starves, Mugabe feastsâ€™ and â€˜Mugabe parties while Zimbabwe starvesâ€™.
Mugabe was fresh from making a televised address in Harare to appeal for an end to factionalism in Zanu PF following clashes in Harare between war veterans and riot police. Perhaps with Grace in mind, he spoke of the need â€˜for a whip of disciplineâ€™ â€“ perhaps to be applied by Vice President Mnangagwa who was with him for the address (along with 5 star nonentity Mphoko).
The clashes prompted war vet leader Mutsvangwa to make an extraordinary attack on Grace who he suggested was under the influence of occult powers (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-moyo-now-president-grace-using-nangas/). Perhaps this was one of the things Mugabe had in mind when he spoke of â€˜contradictionsâ€™ in Zanu PF,
A more obvious contradiction came in an answer given by Agriculture Ministry Secretary Ringson Chitsiko when he was questioned about the food situation by the parliamentary committee on agriculture, which asked why Zambia had surplus maize when it was also affected by El Nino weather conditions. The difference, Chitsiko said, was due to â€˜serious farming in Zambia at commercial levelâ€™ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-legislators-roast-agriculture-ministry-official-newsday-zimbabwe/). Who would have believed it?
The contradictions between the public and private faces of the ruling party have been shown in a new light by ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru in a lengthy interview with the UK Sunday Times. â€˜I think this is pointing to the endâ€™, said Mujuru. â€˜He no longer has the energy to tell them to stop, and no one listens to him. He has no respect now â€“ from anybody. Itâ€™s painful.â€™ According to Mujuru, Mugabe often falls asleep in cabinet meetings. â€˜He would speak for 15 minutes then nod off and I would then chair the meeting, with everyone ignoring the fact he was asleep.â€™
Asked about Mugabeâ€™s accusations that she had consulted witchdoctors about his death, she said: â€˜I have never used magic. A head of state using his platform to lie and believing stories about frogs being kept in a calabash, and if one dies then he will die? I said to myself, â€œWhat a backward man.â€â€™ (See our campaigns page for full article: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/757-no-one-listens-to-him-what-a-backward-man).
- Vigil supporter Philip Mahlahla, in an article in the Zimbabwean called on Mugabe to divert his birthday money to victims of the drought (see: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/2016/02/now-is-the-time/).
- A well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil discussed the deteriorating situation at home and how we could prepare for the fall of Mugabe. Preparations were made for our latest protest on Friday outside a clinic in Nottingham run by a Zimbabwean immigrant doctor who has seized one of the last white-owned farms in Zimbabwe. We intend to invite Dr Nyatsuro to join us next Saturday when we present a petition to 10 Downing Street calling for him to be stripped of his British citizenship. For details see â€˜Events and Noticesâ€™.
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Benjamin Chigamba, Humphrey Dube, Fungayi Mabhunu, Philip Mahlahla, Julius Matera, Sharon Moyo, Eletha Mpofu, Esther Munyira and Jennipher Sabe. Thanks to Benjamin, Humphrey, Philip and Fungayi for putting up the tarpaulin in the rain. Thanks to Sharon, Roseline Mukucha and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table. Thanks also to Deborah Harry and Sihle Sibanda of the ROHR Reading branch for bringing the cakes and making tea for everyone.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
FOR THE RECORD: 43 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Nottingham demonstration against farm looting Zimbabwean doctor. Friday 26th February from 12 noon â€“ 3 pm. Venue: outside The Willows Medical Centre, Church Street, Carlton, Nottingham NG4 1RJ.
- Submission of petition on Dr Nyatsuro to 10 Downing Street. Saturday 27th February at 4 pm. Please come to the Vigil in good time as we will walk from the Vigil to Downing Street.
- ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 27th February from 12 noon â€“ 2 pm. The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL. From 2pm branch members will go on to join the Zimbabwe Vigil activities. Contact: Sally Mutseyami (Chairperson) 07448730581, Grace Rukure (Secretary) 07462103397Â and Edward Mukuze (Info & Publicity Officer) 07463975108.
- ROHR Middlesbrough branch general meeting. Saturday 27th February from 2 â€“ 5 pm. Venue: Teesside University, Student Centre, Clarendon Building, Middlesbrough TS1 3BA. New members most welcome. For more information please contact Ndumiso Ncube 07532080247, Xoliso Sithole 07455911728, Henrietta N Mlilo 079313110024 and Sharon Shoniwa 07534867127.
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 5th March from 11 am to 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigilâ€™s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigilâ€™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 us.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 5th March from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil itâ€™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 sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and an optician. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 5th March from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- Protest to mark anniversary of the disappearance of Itai Dzamara. Saturday 12th March from 2 â€“ 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark one year since Dzamaraâ€™s abduction by intelligence agents.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous yearsâ€™ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
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