He said South Africa was backing a road map for change in Zimbabwe – a road map which had also been embraced by the US, the UK and European Union and even China. The plan envisaged the immediate retirement of Mugabe to be replaced by Mnangagwa who would be tasked with managing comprehensive reforms to ensure a level playing field allowing free and fair elections in 2018. Mr Cross said Mnangagwa had the support of the military and the principal power brokers in Zimbabwe.
He said financial support for Zimbabwe would be dependent on the reforms being implemented and the diaspora of 4.7 million being allowed to vote. All voting would be on the simple basis of an identification document. He added that he was confident MDC T would get 70% of the vote.
Ten Vigil supporters were at the meeting in a parliamentary committee room overlooking the Thames. They were pleased when Mr Cross mentioned the Vigil at the meeting, saying ‘we are really proud of you guys – how you have struggled all these years’.
Mr Cross was invited to attend the Vigil, where he was presented with a Vigil cap in appreciation of his long and courageous service to Zimbabwe. But Vigil supporters expressed their reservations about trusting Mnangagwa, who was implicated in the Gukuruhundi genocide of the 1980s. Mr Cross was told the Vigil’s view is that the United Nations should be asked to help set up a transitional authority, as outlined in our current petition:
A petition to the UN Secretary-General: With mounting unrest in Zimbabwe, we urge you to appoint a Special Representative to prepare the ground for a UNTransitional Authority to take over from the failed Mugabe regime. We look to the Special Representative to initiate comprehensive negotiations so that the UN Transitional Authority can assume control of Zimbabwe’s administrative structures – foreign affairs, defence, security, finance and communications – to ensure a level playing field conducive for credible national elections.
The Vigil produced its own version of the new Mugabe statue to demonstrate how the ‘walking corpse’ was still exercising his malignant influence – off on another tour leaving the country in flames after the scrapping of Chinamasa’s latest attempt to satisfy the international financial world by reigning in government spending.
A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil voted overwhelmingly against Zanu-PF being given any controlling say in an interim authority. It invited the worldwide diaspora to send their ideas for the way forward to the Vigil so we could discuss them at our next forum on 1st October with a view to coming forward with a common diaspora initiative. We have already received some ideas from Australia. Chairman Ephraim Tapa said we must be guided by the Vigil slogan ‘Zimbabwe in our hands’.
- On Friday 16th September over 40 exiled Zimbabweans gathered at the Embassy to demand ‘Mugabe must go’ in support of protests back home. Flowers were laid at the door of the Embassy for Itai Dzamara who was abducted and disappeared 18 months ago.
- Today we demonstrated in support of the call from Zimbabweans in the USA for worldwide protest. They were targeting the United Nations in New York where Mugabe is expected to attend the UN General Assembly. Some of our messages: ‘Mugabe: Free political activists’, ‘Free Zimbabwe’, Vigil supports Zimbabwe protest’, Release Linda Masarira’, ‘Where is Itai Dzamara’ and ‘Mugabe must go’.
- We are sorry to report that our friend Humphrey Dube, a regular supporter, is in detention. We received a call on Friday night to say he reported to the Home Office and was detained and taken immediately to the airport to be deported. The call came two hours before his flight was due to leave. A special thanks to Ephraim Tapa and Fungayi Mabhunu who worked hard to stop this deportation. At the forum after the Vigil supporters were advised to talk to Vigil and ROHR personnel about difficulties with asylum matters so attempts at hasty deportation were less likely to happen.
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Muchineripi Chigwedere, Farai Chiza, Piyo Choga, Flemming Diza, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Barbara Kachidza, Etines Kapiya, Jonathan Kariwo, Prosper Karuru, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Marian Mangani, Rosemary Maponga, Cephas Maswoswa, Edna Mdoka, Gladys Meck, Gift Moyo. Sharon Moyo, Eletha Mpofu, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Garikayi Munyaradzi, Mandifusa Mushambadope, Vusumuzi Ncube, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Casper Nyamakura, Pretty Okechukwu, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Benjamin Semwayo, Michael Sirewu, Emmaculate Tshuma, Sharon Zimuto and Elector Zvorwadza. Thanks to Roseline and Sharon for looking after the front table, to Chipo P, Simbarashe and Cephas Maswoswa for selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Piyo, Casper and Honest for putting up the high banners. Thanks also to Elector who sold green vegetables from her garden to raise funds for ROHR and to Fungayi for playing the part of Mugabe.
For latest Vigil pictures check:http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.
FOR THE RECORD: 65 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 1st October from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st October from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and a shop. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 8th October. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark nineteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- Mike Campbell Foundation Fifth anniversary: Taking Effective Steps to Fight Dictatorship – Restoring Justice, Restoring People. Wednesday 26th October at 6.30 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. For tickets: https://event.bookitbee.com/8186/mike-campbell-foundation-5-year-anniversary-event/.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link:http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.