Wave of Optimism – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

The success of Chamisa’s new Citizens Coalition for Change party in the by-elections, following his enthusiastically-supported rallies, lent an air of optimism to a meeting of exiled Zimbabweans and supporters at the Royal Geographical Society in London.


There was disappointment that Chamisa himself could not be there but we were glad to hear instead from Paramount Chief Felix Ndiweni, a passionate advocate of the rule of law. He said appeasement of wrongdoing was a dangerous game, accusing SADC of being scared to deal with what he described as Zanu PF’s dismembering of the opposition.

He said the by-elections had shown that people would still vote for the opposition in spite of everything. ‘The worm has turned. People realise they have nothing lose’, he said. They were facing ‘a terrorist government operating outside the law’. SADC had become a toothless dog but South Africa had now realised the Zimbabwe problem was becoming a domestic issue for them as well.

Chief Ndiweni said pressure from outside was essential for change in Zimbabwe. Ben Freeth of the Mike Campbell Foundation, which organised the meeting, said the outcome of the last Zambian elections has given Zimbabweans hope for democracy. Amazing things had happened in Zambia since the change of government: ‘We must emulate it’, he said, adding that church monitoring of the election there had made a difference.

The meeting welcomed the initiative of the Zimbabwean Heads of Christian Denominations to observe every polling station in next year’s national elections and collate the results to show the true outcome if the elections are disputed. The meeting suggested a parallel civil society move to tabulate the results.

Long-time Zimbabwe campaigner Kate Hoey, now in the House of Lords, said outside monitoring of the general elections must begin earlier – not just a few days before the vote. She added that there was not much confidence in SADC / African Union monitoring. She said Mnangagwa knew he had a real fight on his hands and there was a fear that there would again be violence during the elections.

Separately, an attempt is being launched to raise funds for a media campaign aimed at giving confidence to the general population of Zimbabwe that they have the right to peacefully witness the elections and ensure the results will be uncontested.

Other points


Events and Notices:

  • Next ROHR Meeting. Saturday 16th April at 11 am.
  • Next Vigil meeting outside the Zimbabwe  Embassy. Saturday 16th April from 2 – 5 pm. The 42nd anniversary of Zimbabwe’s Independence will be marked at this Vigil. We will continue meeting on the first and third Saturdays of every month.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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 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. All proceeds 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.
  • Facebook pages :

Vigil : https ://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

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