All roads led to Wolverhampton when the first of a series of meetings organized by the Executive Committee of ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter took place in Wolverhampton on a sunny but chilly day on Saturday 28th January, 2012. The meeting attracted members, supporters and observers from Basildon, Bradford, Coventry, Dudley, Kent, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Wakefield, West Bromwich, Woking and Wolverhampton. Also in attendance were prominent members of the legal fraternity and other observers.
The programme of the day was tailored to give a chronological perspective of the history of ROHR Zimbabwe with a view to explaining and clarifying matters in the wake of the confusion wrought by the misappropriation of the organization’s funds, the doctoring of the organization’s constitution and the abuse of the organization’s website by one Ephraim Tapa who, despite having been expelled from the organization in July, 2011 has continued to masquerade as “The President” of ROHR Zimbabwe.
Members were shocked by the revelations contained in testimonies given by credible speakers drawn from past and present Executive Committees of ROHR Zimbabwe’s UK Chapter as well as by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of ROHR Zimbabwe, Grace Mupfurutsa.
Most notable of the testimonies was that by Mr Billie Nedie, the former Chairperson of the UK Chapter who explained in detail how he was cheated into becoming a director in a fraudulently registered Private Company (limited by guarantee) called ROHR Zimbabwe, a move, he noted was tantamount to theft of intellectual property of ROHR Zimbabwe, the human rights organization and to the deception of members of the human rights organization into subscribing into a private company. Mr Nedie advised the meeting how, upon noticing the deception, he officially withdrew from the arrangement, leaving Mr Ephraim Tapa as the sole director of the Private Company (limited by guarantee).
He also explained in detail how his efforts of steering the UK Chapter was constantly frustrated by Mr Ephraim Tapa, who, despite being “The President” of ROHR Zimbabwe, persistently meddled in the affairs of the Executive Committee and insisted on chairing Executive Committee meetings and General meetings. Mr Nedie also revealed that throughout his committee’s tenure of office, they were never made aware of the existence of The Notarial Deed of Trustees as well as the original constitution of ROHR Zimbabwe. Instead, they were only shown a different constitution, doctored by Mr Ephraim Tapa to give the impression that he was the founder and “President” of ROHR Zimbabwe.
Other testimonies were given by Ms Pamela Dunduru, the former Organizing Secretary, Mr Zibgowa, former Secretary for Information and Publicity, and Mr Paradzai Mapfumo, the National Co-ordinator from inception.
Mr Mapfumo’s was the most revealing testimony as it dwelt on the emotive issue of finance and the membership process. In particular, he revealed how he stumbled upon information that eventually led to the discovery of the fraud by Mr Ephraim Tapa which involved an elaborate process whereby Mr Tapa requested for money from the organization’s Barclays account in UK for onwards transmission to ROHR Zimbabwe offices in Harare Zimbabwe only for the money to end up being sent to his niece, Lorcadia Tapa via money gram.
The meeting was also taken through the paces by Mr Panyika Karimanzira, the Secretary for Information and Publicity who dealt with the period beginning June 2011 up to now. He described how the present committee was devastated by the revelations of the fraud when it came to light in July 2011 and how the committee resolved to take the objective route of investigating the matter before making any conclusions and how they met twice with Mr Tapa and one of the signatories to the Barclays account to try and confirm or disprove the allegations of the fraud. He also described the ensuing impasse up to the first week of January, 2012 when Mr Ephraim Tapa was reported to the Police and when the active Executive Committee of the UK Chapter, through a majority of 7 to 3 resolved to publicly state the correct position regarding Mr Ephraim Tapa’s fraud and status in ROHR Zimbabwe.
Towards the end of the meeting, was a question and answer session where all in attendance were free to ask any question regarding the affairs of ROHR Zimbabwe. All questions were answered to everyone’s satisfaction.
The mood after the meeting was one of relief and solidarity and there was an unmistakable resolve not to let what Mr Tapa did to ROHR Zimbabwe ever to happen again since, as from now onwards, everyone was going to be vigilant and the constitution was going to be followed to the letter.
The Executive Committee of the UK Chapter is rolling out an outreach programme where all branches are going to be visited and told “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
Special thanks to ROHR Zimbabwe Wolverhampton branch team of Tsvakai Marambi, Phyllis Chibanguza, Florence Munemo, Flora Nyahuma and Muchaneta Chavarika for organizing the successful event and for the hospitality.