By Panyika Karimanzira – 14th January, 2013

On a chilly Saturday 12th January, 2013 over 40 human rights activists congregated at
St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, B70 0HF, West Bromwich for the first general meeting of ROHR Zimbabwe in the new year, 2013.

The proceedings of the meeting generated a vibrant atmosphere which saw everyone taking part in the interactive sessions

The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Grace Mupfurutsa, recently arrived from Zimbabwe, was at hand to address the meeting. She updated the meeting on developments in Zimbabwe, including ROHR Zimbabwe’s partnership with Female Prisoners Support Trust (FEMPRIST) and thanked UK members (Blessings Maynard , Rodah Kuhlengisa, Flora Nyahuma, Mary Chabvamuperu, Pamela Dunduru, Paradzai Mapfumo,  Panyika Karimanzira, Lorraine Mudjgiwa, Gladys Jinjika and David Ngwenya) for donating towards the funding of the participation by female prisoners at the16 Days of Activism Against Gender based Violence Fair at Africa Unity Square , 2nd Street , Harare on Friday 23rd November; Saturday 24th November and Sunday 25th November 2012.

Grace Mupfurutsa also mentioned the fact that on Saturday 8th December, 2012, in Harare, three members of the Board of Trustees of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe, namely Grace Mupfurutsa (Chairperson), Stendrick Zvorwadza (Vice Chairperson) and Ronald Mureverwi (Secretary) marched in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) to commemorate the World Human Rights Day and to protest against the harassment of human rights defenders. To view pictures of this march, click here.

She also updated the meeting on the resolutions of the recent Board meeting on 14th December, 2012 which included a change in roles at board level with Stendrick Zvorwadza opting to become a Board member while Ronald Mureverwi became the Vice Chairperson of the Board, Edgar Chikuvire became the Board Secretary whilst Justin Shaw-Gray remained Board Treasurer. Grace Mupfurutsa remained Chairperson of The Board. She also advised the meeting of ROHR Zimbabwe’s contribution to the draft constitution through representations to COPAC.

On a sad note, she announced the arrest of Stendrick Zvorwadza on 9th January, 2013 on trumped up charges of disorderly conduct as defined in Section 41b of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 arising from the alleged use of improper language at a police station with the intention of disturbing public peace. The arrest put paid to Zvorwadza’s pre-planned trip to the UK during which he was supposed to address this very meeting of ROHR Zimbabwe.

Other speakers at the lively meeting were Billie Nedie, the Chairperson of ROHR Zimbabwe – UK Chapter, Organizing Secretary, Pamela Dunduru, Deputy Secretary for Information & Publicity, Emnah Zibgowa, Paradzai Mapfumo, the national co-ordinator and a prominent solicitor and human rights defender.

Notable contributions from the floor came from the likes of feisty Lyle Mupinda, Gwendoline Homela, Panyika Karimanzira and Lorraine Mudjgiwa.
The following human rights activists signed the register;- Grace S Mupfurutsa, Paradzai Mapfumo, Billie Nedie, Artwell Pfende, Beauty Pfende, Delina Mutyambizi, Melusi Sibanda, Justice Sibanda, S Oputeri, Ronald Oputeri, Blessings Maynard, Terrence Mutongerwa, Emnah Zibgowa, Khesiwe Dube, Gwendoline Homela, Peter Jaure, Tendai Makhuyana, Panyika  Karimanzira, Tichaona Chikandamina, Daniel Nyoni, Kudzai Samukange, Lyle Mupinda, David Ngwenya, Fungai Mashezha, Tawanda Mawushe, Charity Nyamuzuwe, Rodah Kuhlengisa, Lorraine Mudjgiwa, Gladys Jinjika, Phyllis Chibanguza, Artwell Chasi, Susan Ndlovu, Mary Bekoe, Pardon Tapfumaneyi, Pamela Dunduru. A good number overlooked to sign the register.

The meeting was treated to a sumptuous meal prepared by the catering team comprising of human rights activists namely Mary Bekoe, Delina Mutyambizi, Rodah Kuhlengisa, Charity Nyamuzuwe and Evelyn Nderere, who, apart from taking part in the proceedings of the meeting took turns to attend to the catering.

Food hampers were distributed to a number of needy members.

On behalf of the National Executive – UK Chapter, Paradzai Mapfumo announced the co-option of Lorraine Mudjgiwa into the Co-ordinatng Committee of the National Executive Committee – UK Chapter as co-ordinator for the Northern region.

Mr Billie Nedie thanked everyone for braving the cold weather to attend the meeting and reminded everyone that the human rights cause is a noble and everlasting cause before declaring the meeting closed at around 7:00 pm.
To view pictures taken at the event click here.