Pass the parcel – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Two elderly gents meet in Harare to reminisce about the good old days. It is rather sweet. They end up playing children’s party games.

President Mugabe invites Sir Nicholas Soames to sit in the chair that his father once occupied as last governor of Rhodesia. ‘No!’ came the reply. Clearly the music hasn’t stopped yet. ‘It’s now your seat’.

Mugabe obviously enjoyed the game. He’s not had much to cheer him up of late – what with the shenanigans in his family and party and the imploding economy. He wallowed in a bit of nostalgia, going on to give an enthusiastic briefing to the government-controlled press (see:

From his comments it is not clear who was more delusional – himself or the British MP and former minister who, Mugabe said, carried messages of goodwill from Prince Charles as well as former foreign secretary Lord Carrington who presided over the Lancaster House conference leading to independence.

There is a mutual readiness by Britain and Zimbabwe to open a new chapter of rapprochement, he gushed, claiming that Sir Nicholas had told him: ‘There are some good people who are still your friends in Britain’ and that Soames was part of a private initiative by friends of Zimbabwe in the British establishment to normalize relations between the two countries.

Back in London, another MP, Kate Hoey, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, expressed scepticism. ‘This meeting will only pander to the vanity of a wily and ruthless dictator’, she said. Soames was being gulled by the Zanu PF elite instead of meeting the brave campaigners for democracy and the people suffering from decades of brutal and kleptocratic misrule.

As far as the Vigil is concerned, the only parcel Mugabe should be allowed to pass on should contain the resignations of him and his government.

Other points

  • Soames would be advised to read up about Zimbabwe before he makes the apparently promised return visit. He might do worse than read the Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ published to mark our fifteenth anniversary protesting for free elections in Zimbabwe which we mark next Saturday outside the Zimbabwe Embassy.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Sikhanyisiwe Kaziboni, Fungayi Mabhunu, Junior Madzimure, Phillip Mahlahla, Heather Makawa Chitate, Audrey Marere, Sharon Moyo, Getrude Mudede, Alfredy Mukuvare, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Jenny Murefu, Patience Muyeye, Shepherd Nyamandi, Aivet Phiri, Cecilliah Phiri, Maxmus Savanhu, Elizabeth Sithole, Jaqueline Thompson and Dean Zhuwau. Thanks to Eshter, Josephine and Daizy Fabian for looking after the front table, to Junior, Patience, Elizabeth, Audrey, Nancy Makurira and Faith Ndhlovu for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Dean, Junior, Margaret, Sikhanyisiwe, Jacqueline, Getrude, Daizy, Maxmus, Shepherd, Jenny, Jonathan and Cecilliah  for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Daizy for donating 2 shakers to the Vigil.

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) ( has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 56 signed the register.


  • ROHR Leicester branch awareness campaign and general meeting. Friday 13th October 2017. Awareness campaign from 6 – 7 pm. Meet at Iceland, Narborough Road. General meeting from 6 – 8 pm: Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2 PP. Contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.

  • The Zimbabwe Vigil’s 15th Anniversary. Saturday 14th October from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking our 15th anniversary on the closest Saturday. Please come and join us to commemorate our long struggle. Our book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ will be on sale for £10.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 14th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st October 2017 from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’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 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 Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  •  Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:

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