EU Finances Mugabe
The Vigil will be protesting in Brussels against the invitation to Mugabe to attend the EU / Africa Summit on 2nd / 3rd April. We will be outside the European Union Parliament whether or not he turns up – indeed whether or not African delegations boycott the meeting in protest at the EU’s refusal to grant Grace Mugabe a visa.
As Vigil supporter Wilbert Mukori put it: ‘The EU made the mistake of allowing itself to be dictated to by the likes of Mugabe. Give him an inch and he will be back demanding a mile! The EU should put its foot down once and for all. Africa needs the EU more than the EU needs Africa just as much as the ordinary Africans need good governance more than they need EU aid. Indeed, if they had good governance the continent would not be so dependent on foreign aid.’
The Vigil delegation will be a small one. Even of those who have travel documents few can afford to go to Belgium as we could not book cheap tickets in advance because of the uncertainty surrounding Mugabe’s presence. The Belgian police have been helpful and told us that there will be many African demonstrators in the Place du Luxembourg outside the parliament buildings. We were told we would be positioned next to a large group of Mauritanians.
We don’t know the details of their quarrel with their government but we are sure that we agree on a protest against the African Union and the EU. The EU’s theme for the Summit is ‘Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace’. The truth is they are investing in Dictatorship, Death and Destruction.
Why are we going to Brussels? We know things are even worse in some other African countries – Mauritania for one, as they still practise slavery. But come to think of it how would you describe the common practice in Zimbabwe of asking people to work and then not paying them? The Vigil notes that even the slaves in the Zimbabwean defence forces are beginning to realise this.
The Vigil will be in Brussels to tell the world that things are not ok in Zimbabwe. The standard of living has slipped back more than 50 years. The EU may be pouring in money but we’re in Brussels to tell them that Zimbabwe has an illegitimate and corrupt government that is destroying the country and we don’t think the EU should help them in this. Our message is that aid for Zimbabwe must not be aid for Mugabe and the military junta.
· We are very sad to report that, despite all our efforts, our supporter Try Mahachi was forcibly removed to Zimbabwe on Thursday. We are disturbed at reports of how he was treated when he was handcuffed and put on the plane. People who are in touch with him say he is preparing a full report which he will let us have.
· On a lovely sunny Spring day, thanks to David Kadzutu, Joseph Chivayo, Xoliso Simozo and Grace Goremusandu who arrived early to help set up. Thank to Grace and Tendai Chadehumbe for looking after the front table.
· Thanks to Rose Maponga for playing the role of Grace Mugabe for a photo to mark our excursion to Brussels.
· Among interesting passers-by at the Vigil today was a Jamaican who criticized Mugabe. Jamaicans for long hero-worshipped Mugabe but lost faith in him following disparaging comments he made about them.
· We were also visited by someone who had just returned from Zimbabwe. He was very depressed about the situation and the lack of hope among ordinary people.
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