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Zimbabwean exiles say halt aid to Southern Africa
Zimbabwe Vigil
April 03, 2007

Zimbabwean exiles in the United Kingdom have called for aid to Southern Africa to be suspended because of the failure of the regional body to stand up for human rights in Zimbabwe.

The call comes from the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past four and a half years in protest at human rights abuses.

Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met in Tanzania last week to discuss the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe but unexpectedly failed to make any public criticism of President Mugabe’s regime. Instead they urged the lifting of the targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his cronies which prevent them visiting the European Union, the United States and some other countries.

The Vigil is to run a petition calling on all countries in the European Union to suspend government to government aid to the 14 SADC members until they observe their commitment to promote good governance in the region.

"Our supporters are very angry", said Ephraim Tapa, a founder member of the Vigil. "All we see is political immaturity from our neighbours. The last thing we want to do is to hurt our brothers and sisters in Southern Africa but we must drive home to their hypocritical governments their obligation to promote the good governance they have all signed up to. We do all we can to encourage humanitarian aid but people here question whether it is a good use of resources that Malawi pays guards to stop people defacing signs on the new highway Malawi has named after Robert Mugabe."

Mr Tapa went on to say "We know this is controversial but we are desperate. The Southern African leaders must be made to understand that they cannot support tyranny and brutality without consequences. Our gloves are off."

The text of the new petition reads: "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. We urge the UK government, and the European Union in general, to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region."

The Vigil’s main petition calling on the UN to intervene on human rights in Zimbabwe has been signed by more than 100,000 people passing by the Vigil on Saturdays (not by just a click on the email).

For more information, contact:

  • Ephraim Tapa, Founder Member of the Vigil - 07940 793 090
  • Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa, Founder Member of the Vigil - 07984 254 830
  • Dennis Benton – Press Facilitator - 07932 193 467

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