They have prepared themselves â€“ made a plan as it were. But the people the Vigil worry most about are those who have been led to believe that Mugabe is semi-divine. And it is clear there are many of them. For them the loss will be cataclysmic.
Mugabe has gone to see his doctors in Singapore twice in the last few weeks so it is clear that he is about to take leave of us. We must be brave. Others have gone through similar trauma. We remember the mass hysteria in North Korea at the departure of the Great Leader Kim Jong Il, whose people had been led to believe that he could never get ill. Scenes of public grief were broadcast around the world. Zimbabweans must show we are made of sterner stuff.
We expect Harare to come to even more of a halt when the great transition occurs. So outside help will be urgently required to minimise grief-related suicides and post-traumatic stress disorders.
To do our bit, we in the diaspora are appealing to the United Nations to prepare to send teams of bereavement counsellors who could fan out across the country. Para-psychotherapists could even be air-dropped in remote areas.
The Vigilâ€™s approach is two-pronged. We have also written to the American Ambassador in London urging the US to oppose any IMF / World Bank loans to Zimbabwe until the situation is clarified. Surely no-one wants the money to end up in the wrong hands?
Here is our letter:
Dear Ambassador Barzun
With the Mugabe regime nearing its end, Zimbabwean exiles in the UK wish to convey our reservations about the apparent readiness of the International Monetary Fund to advance new loans to Zimbabwe.
We ask what purpose this financial injection will serve when there is no clear idea of who will receive the money? We draw your attention to the latest index of economic freedom which concludes that Zimbabwe remains one of the most repressed economies in the world due to rampant corruption and government mismanagement (see: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2016/03/26/zim-one-of-africa-s-poorest-economies?src=ilaw).
We urge the United States to take the advice of Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who called on President Obama to prevent new lending to Zimbabwe unless there is meaningful progress to restore the rule of law and improve human rights (see: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/corker-no-new-lending-to-zimbabwe-without-meaningful-reform).
We draw your attention to the recent report by the International Crisis Group which expresses doubts that the ruling Zanu PF party can â€˜walk the talkâ€™ of reform.
The Vigil believes that any financial help to prop up the odious Zanu PF regime will simply prolong the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.
- We were alarmed to receive a phone call from Vigil supporter Victor Gatsi. He was in detention and booked on a Kenyan Airways flight back to Zimbabwe on 2nd April. We started a phone campaign against the airline and with a timely legal intervention by his lawyer we are pleased to say that his deportation has been stayed. A special thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for his tireless work on this. Michael Sirewu led prayers for Victor at the Vigil.
- Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, has made a submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Zimbabwe 26th Session of the UPR Working Group. ACTSA calls for an independent commission of enquiry into the case of Itai Dzamara who was abducted last March. It also calls for election observers from all foreign governments and international institutions to be allowed to monitor elections and calls on the Harare authorities to enforce the rule of law (see: http://www.actsa.org/newsroom/2016/04/actsa-calls-on-un-to-tackle-human-rights-abuses-in-zimbabwe/).
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up on a sunny Vigil: Philip Mahlahla, Jacob Mandipira, Isaac Chavasarira, Michael and Lisa Sirewu, Roseline Mukucha, Audrey Chihoho, Tatonga Gutah, Tafadzwa Buka, Sharon Moyo, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Fungayi Mabhunu, Michelle Makoni, Sharon Moyo, Eletha Mpofu, Catherine Musa, Sidumiso Nyoni and Newman Richard. Thanks to Audrey, Roseline and Sharon for looking after the front table
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: Â 36 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- MDC-T London branch protest. Thursday 7th April from 11 am â€“ 1pm. Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. This is in solidarity with a demonstration being held in Zimbabwe on the same day to highlight the plight of Zimbabweans who are surviving on less than a dollar per day when the Government of Zimbabwe readily admits the misappropriation of USD15 billion.Â Contact Clemence Munyukwi 07889667686 and Sharon Moyo 07877224113.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 9th April from 2 â€“ 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark thirteen months since Dzamaraâ€™s abduction by intelligence agents.
- ROHR Coventry relaunch. Saturday 9th April from 2 â€“ 9 pm. Venue: Binley Private Membersâ€™ Club and Banqueting Suite, 50 Grange Avenue, Binley, West Midlands CV3 2ED. Â£10 a head for all you can eat buffet, children free. Contacts: Melody Magejo 07490913486, Gladys Muduve 07956 430115, Edward Murota 07979312148 and Sally Mutseyami 07448730581.
- ROHR Central London branch â€˜Mugabe must goâ€™ protestâ€™. Friday 15th April outside the Zimbabwe Embassy from 11 am to 1 pm. Please come and join Central London to make a big statement on the Friday before the 36th anniversary of Zimbabweâ€™s Independence. 36 years of Mugabe â€“ time to go!
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 16th April 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 ActionÂ Forum (ZAF). Saturday 16th April 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 16th April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ROHR Birmingham Branch Independence Ball. Saturday 30th April from 3 pm till late. Venue: Centrala, 4 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5RT. African cuisine, Â£20 a head, children free. For more information, contact: Gladys Muduve 07956 430115, JaneMary Mapfumo 07412 310429 and Tecla Bandawe 07450507650.
- Play: â€˜After Independenceâ€™. 4th â€“ 28th May at the Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL. The play is by May Sumbwanyambe and tackles the issues of independence and government in Zimbabwe. More information is available here: http://www.arcolatheatre.com/event/after-independence/2016-05-04/. The producer has contacted the Vigil for our input and plans to visit us to discuss this.
- Nottingham demonstration against farm looting Zimbabwean doctor. Date to be advised. Venue: outside The Willows Medical Centre, Church Street, Carlton, Nottingham NG4 1RJ. The Vigil and ROHR are continuing the campaign to have Dr Nyatsuroâ€™s British citizenship revoked. More information to follow.
- 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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