ROHR SOUTHAMPTON MAIDEN VIGIL / DEMONSTRATION OF 28th April, 2012_ REPORT’
By Charles Mugwindiri – 29th April, 2012
All roads led to Guildhall Square, West Marlands Road, Southampton SO14 7LP last Saturday, 28 April 2012.
For pictures click on this link:- http://www.flickr.com/photos/rohr_zimbabwe__manchester/sets/72157629936217365/
By 1500hrs activists had started gathering for the maiden vigil by ROHR Zimbabwe Southampton branch, to demonstrate against the continued human rights abuses in Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe and all parties and countries that do not oppose or distance themselves from his tyrannical rule.
It was cold, the wind was boisterous but this did not stop Blessing Rinashe, Paradzai Mapfumo, Aron Chipeture and Loveness Gonyora from bringing their children along.
The atmosphere in the city was electric and buzzing with thousands of Southampton ‘Saints’ football supporters on the streets, on their way to attend the crucial game against Coventry City.
This became a great opportunity for ROHR Zimbabwe Southampton activists as they were able to approach as many people as possible to obtain signatures on their petitions, two of which went thus;
A Petition To The United Nations Security Council
“We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and we believe that peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.”
A Petition to European Union Governments
“We petition the UK government in particular and all governments in the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that, instead, the money be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.’
We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.
Instead of condemning the dictatorship and tyranny of Robert Mugabe, Heads of State and Governments in that region are actually in the habit of either praising him, ostensibly for standing up against the West or conveniently turning a blind eye to his tyranny.
cc Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development,
cc Rt Hon William Hague MP, Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs”
A Petition To The Government of The United Kingdom
“To: – The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA.
We call upon the Prime Minister and the Government of the United Kingdom to stop the resumption of deportations to Zimbabwe.
Persecution and abuse of ordinary citizens, led by ZANU PF, has resurfaced during the on-going constitutional outreach programme and following the announcement by Robert Mugabe of ZANU PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC that Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary and Presidential elections will be held in the year 2012 or 2013. The run up to an election is traditionally the most violent time in Zimbabwe’s post-independence history and we have no guarantee that returnees will be safe in this volatile environment.
As ROHR Zimbabwe, our position is that Zimbabwe is not yet a safe country to return human rights activists, political activists and failed asylum seekers.
Robert Mugabe is still the President of Zimbabwe and has all the state machinery at his disposal to target human rights activists and political opponents.