Of the abuses committed during her 34 years in the Mugabe inner circle she confessed to nothing, admitting only â€˜guilt by associationâ€™. Certainly no repentance. She had been kicked out as Vice President, she said, because she was a â€˜moderateâ€™ who favoured restoring relations with the West. (Not, as Mugabe alleged, being a â€˜witchâ€™.)
But it was nevertheless a bit magical that Mrs Mujuru arrived at Chatham House in what we were told was the Ambassadorâ€™s car â€“ an unheard of courtesy to an â€˜oppositionâ€™ figure (let alone a â€˜witchâ€™ of the West).
What was equally surprising was the small group of prosperous-looking Mujuru supporters with sparkling new banners gathered outside the front door. Surprising because other Zimbabweans â€“ perhaps less well-dressed and suspected of being less welcoming â€“ were herded behind a metal barricade on the far side of the road, watched over two police officers.
On this occasion a few Vigil supporters were allowed into Chatham House to hear what was going on. They say Mujuru made all the right noises (reading from a prepared script): â€˜We want a government responsive to the needs of the citizens . . . there is a generational disconnect . . . country ruined by mismanagement of old guard . . . we will respect the constitution , , , repeal repressive legislation , , , observe property rights . . . restore collateral value of land . . . pay compensation , , , repeal indigenisation . . . reduce corruption . . . depoliticise, privatise parastatals . . . allow dual citizenship . . . diaspora vote . . . â€˜
It could have been a party political broadcast for the Vigil. But we wouldnâ€™t choose anyone with her history in Zanu PF to deliver it. Our supporters at the Chatham House meeting didnâ€™t get a chance to ask her the question: â€˜What do you know about the election rigging?â€™ At the very least the Vigil wants the full details from the Zanu PF defectors so that the world knows that all elections in the last two decades have been cooked.
Mrs Mujuru is reported to have had a meeting in London with the owner of the farm on which she lives and is said to have offered to pay him a million dollars or so in compensation. She told the owner that she is a poor chicken farmer but we believe she is loaded. Nevertheless, Mr Watson-Smith should know that any compensation he gets is likely to be paid in bond notes.
The Vigil certainly welcomes Mujuru to the ranks of the struggle for democracy. But we remain deeply distrustful of those who have been for so long close to the heart of Zanu PF evil. â€˜Peace and reconciliation?â€™ The question remained unaddressed at the Chatham House meeting.
- A meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil took the view that the British government was being deluded by Mrs Mujuru. The meeting warned against accepting her as â€˜a reformed Zanu PFâ€™ element to provide a bridge to a new administration. The meeting discussed proposals for a transitional authority to take over from Mugabe and felt that it should not include politicians.
- We notice that, following our picture last week of the dilapidated sign over the Embassy door, it has now been fixed. Perhaps they will now take a look at their tattered flag flown above the building. We understand it is illegal to display the national flag in a way open to ridicule.
- Today we marked nineteen months since human rights activist Itai Dzamara was abducted. We will continue our monthly protests until his disappearance is accounted for.
- Our condolences go to Eunice Mucherechedzo who lost her father and Cynthia Zambe who lost her husband. Collections were made for both.
- Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Elizabeth Chakachaka, Mavis Chisvo, Kevin Gondo, Isabell Gwatidzo, Prosper Karuru, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phylis Magejo, Phillip Mahlahla, Jacob Mandipira, Bonisile Manyatsi, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Tracy Mupeti, Eva Sanyahokwe, Michael Sirewu. Douglas and Maureen Tavengwa.Â Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine Musa and Emmaculate Tshuma for looking after the front table, to Phillip, Alfredy, Honest and Jacob for putting up the banners and to Leslyn Kamba for handing out flyers. Thanks also to those who stayed to the end to help pack up: Idris Ashe, George Chinamora, Mavis Chisvo, Enniah Dube, Zondiwe Gumede, Leslyn Kamba, Lilian Kanyasa, Jonathan Kariwo, Marjory Kunaka, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Gladys Moyo, Nqobizitha Moyo, Nicodimus Muganhu, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Esther Munyira, Tracy Mupeti, Cathrine Musa, Michael Mushonga, Mduduzi Ndlovu and Ephraim Tapa.
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: 48 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Zimbabwe Vigilâ€™s Â Anniversary. On Saturday 15th October we will mark the Vigilâ€™s 14th anniversary.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 15th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 15th October from 1 â€“ 3 pm. Venue: Eastleigh Library, 1st Floor, Swan Centre, Eastleigh, SO50 5SF. Contact: Grace Rukure 07462103397, Edward Mukuze 07463975108 and Jacob Mandipira 07502 406822.
- Evan Mawarire: The Significance of Social Media for Public Protest in Zimbabwe. Wednesday 19th October from 5 – 6 pm. Venue: Chatham House, 10 St James Square, London SW1Y 4LE. To register to attend the event visit: https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/significance-social-media-public-protest-zimbabwe.
- Mike Campbell Foundation Fifth anniversary: Taking Effective Steps to Fight Dictatorship â€“ Restoring Justice, Restoring People. Â Wednesday 26th October at 6.30 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. For tickets:Â https://event.bookitbee.com/8186/mike-campbell-foundation-5-year-anniversary-event/.
- Special Prayer Vigil. Saturday 29th October from 2 â€“ 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy.
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 5th November 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 Vigilâ€™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 Vigilâ€™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 5th November from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil itâ€™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.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 12th November. From 2 â€“ 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark twenty months since Dzamaraâ€™s abduction by intelligence agents.
- 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 yearsâ€™ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
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