|Waitrose's Tilapia promotion. The fish is from Zimbabwe.|
They are planning to mount protests at Waitrose outlets, all of which stock the Zimbabwean tilapia fillets.
Buyers for the chain say that selling the fleshy white fish helps preserve threatened species such as cod.
It is not known whether Robert Mugabe's dictatorial regime has benefited from any share in the deal through business taxes and export levies.
Last night, Wilf Mbanga, editor of The Zimbabwean, a UK-based newspaper, said: "People are starving in Zimbabwe. There is no food in the shops, there is no fish to be had there for the ordinary people.
"It's incredibly cruel taking food out of the mouths of starving people. It is very ill-advised of Waitrose. It is morally wrong. "I find it very disturbing that they are taking fish from Zimbabwe at a time when millions are starving and surviving purely on international aid."
Professor Terence Ranger, president of the Britain Zimbabwe Society and a fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, said: "Zimbabwe has a tremendous food shortage. It seems inappropriate for food of any sort from there being exported here.
"But on the other hand, Zimbabwe is badly in need of cash for hospitals and schools and it is a question of where this money is going."
Leaders of the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition - human rights group with 16,000 members - are discussing a possible protest against Waitrose.
Dennis Benton, a spokesman, said: "We will try to arrange a vigil against Waitrose to protest against this. This is completely wrong."