On 27th June 2015, Zimbabweans from the Zimbabwe Vigil, the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), Zimbabwe Yes We Can and other friends and supporters made their way from the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy to the UK Prime Minister’s home at 10 Downing Street to present a petition to David Cameron in which exiled Zimbabweans, friends and supporters disassociated themselves from the racist utterances of the illegitimate President Robert Mugabe.
The AU and SADC Chairman, Robert Mugabe when addressing the SADC summit in Botswana on the xenophobic attacks in South Africa suggested that Africans should direct their anger at whites rather than fellow blacks. The petition we presented reads: ‘Exiled Zimbabweans, supporters and friends, at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, record our disgust at the anti-white rants of Zimbabwe’s illegitimate President Mugabe. We wish to affirm our unwavering support of Zimbabwe’s constitutional requirement for non-racism.’
Protesters, holding banners demanding that Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies step down, moved from the Strand to 10 Downing Street. A walk which should have taken 15 minutes ended up taking much longer as the huge crowds watching the Gay Pride Parade blocked our way into Whitehall. The Zimbabwean exiles squeezed their way past the gaily-dressed people making it just in time for the 4 pm presentation.
Across from 10 Downing Street, the protesters broke into anti-Mugabe songs with the thrilling sound of the pounding Zimbabwean drumming stirring the emotions of the protesters as they broke into the kongonya dance on a hot London afternoon to express their feelings for a free Zimbabwe. Meanwhile the five petitioners: Mary Muteyerwa, Epiphania Phiri, Catherine Masinge, Lazarus Matiyenga and Nobukhosi Moyo were accompanied by the Downing Street police into number 10 to deliver the petition.
During breaks when the dancers, who were clad in Zimbabwean colours of green, red, yellow and black, caught their breath, various speakers denounced the utterances of the illegal Zanu PF leader President Mugabe. They reminded the people there (who included both white and black Zimbabweans and other supporters) of the reason they were gathered in Whitehall – the need for an anti-racist Zimbabwe.
The walk back to the Vigil on Strand at 4.30 also took longer than expected as the crowds watching the Gay Pride Parade had increased. This did not dampen the spirits of the Vigil protesters whose morale had been boosted and who were geared up to continue with the singing, drumming and dancing at the Zimbabwe Vigil.
Report drafted by Esther Nyambi, ROHR Central London Publicity Secretary