The petition was launched soon after the overthrow of Mugabe last November and has been signed by people from all over the world passing down the Strand outside the Zimbabwe Embassy over the past 6 months.
Six Vigil activists were allowed into 10 Downing Street to present the petition, which was accompanied by the following letter:
To the UK’s Africa Minister Harriett Baldwin via 10 Downing Street
Dear Ms Baldwin
We respectfully submit a petition urging the UK government to exercise the utmost caution about the elections in Zimbabwe on 30th July.
The petition notes that the euphoria over the removal of the Mugabes last November gave way to the realisation that little else had changed.
The petition urges the UK government to wait until the elections are judged free and fair before offering support to President Mnangagwa.
We are glad that Western election observers have been allowed into Zimbabwe but disappointed that the diaspora vote, affecting millions of people, was dismissed out of hand for no reason persuasive to us.
Many electoral reforms have yet to be implemented and there is little confidence in the Zanu PF-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Indeed there are suggestions of a new attempt at ballot rigging.
In addition the broadcast media is still a tool of the Zanu PF military regime and there are reports that the military are active in the rural areas to intimidate voters.
The petition has been signed by people passing the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London for 16 years in support of free and fair elections. We want to see that the people’s will is respected and we are confident that you share this hope.
- Thanks to the six petitioners: Daizy Fabian, Rosemary Maponga, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Patience Muyeye and Sipho Ndlovu.
- Among allegations of Zanu PF vote rigging is a detailed account by (totally reliable!) former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo now in exile (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/prof-moyo-speaks-on-zanu-pf-rigging/).
- Social media is carrying an account of rigging said to be by a serving officer in the Zimbabwean army (see: https://www.facebook.com/groups/369631229870862/permalink/1020305371470108/).
- Social media has noted angrily that so-called vendors’ leader and selfie activist Stendrick Zvorwadza has been pictured with Mnangagwa. The Zimbabwe Vigil has been warning people about the nefarious activities of Stendrick Zvorwadza for years (check: https://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/839-restoration-of-human-rights-in-zimbabwe-important-message). In our diary of 6th August 2016 we said: ‘Supporters might have seen an article on the dodgy Zimeye website in which the Vigil was criticised for not allowing Stendrick Zvorwadza to address us last week (see: http://www.zimeye.net/zvorwadza-flies-to-uk-blocked-by-rose-benton/ ). Our refusal to give a hearing to this charlatan was because he still pretends to be the leader of ROHR and has yet to account for £2,000 we entrusted to him in 2008 to hand over to an orphanage we were supporting in Zimbabwe, as well as computers, phones and cameras for the ROHR office in Harare.’
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up by putting up the banners and posters: Daizy Fabian, Jonathan Kariwo, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Rosemary Maponga, Eunice Mapunde, Nyarai Masvosva, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Sipho Ndlovu and EphraimTapa. Thanks to Patience, Rosemary and Nyarai for looking after the front table and to Esther, Farai, Heather and Chido for handing out flyers. A special thanks to Jonathan Kariwo and Faith Ndlovu who stayed behind to look after the Vigil when everyone else went to Downing Street.
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: 26 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st July from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daizy 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 http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
- 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.
Facebook pages:ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/