ROHR Zimbabwe Leicester General Meeting 28th September, 2013 Report

On Saturday 28th September, 2013 Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe human rights activists from all over the UK converged at Methodist Church, 10 A Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AF for a general meeting which started at 2:00 pm and ended at 6:00 pm. The meeting opened with a prayer led by Ms Plaxedes Damiso who had travelled all the way from Crawley.

The meeting was graced by the Chairperson of The Board of Trustees of ROHR Zimbabwe, Ms Grace Mupfurutsa and Vice Chairperson of The UK Chapter of ROHR Zimbabwe, Mr Patrick Gore. Other members of the National Executive Committee of the UK Chapter who attended are Mr Paradzai Mapfumo (National Co-ordinator), Panyika Karimanzira (Secretary for Information & Publicity), Mr Vurayayi J. Mujeye (Fundraiser), Ms Rodah Kuhlengusa (Fundraiser) and Ms Priscilla Chitsinde (Organising Secretary). Mr Panyika Karimanzira chaired the meeting.

Other attendees included Ms Charity Zulu, Mrs Edith Matare Mapfumo, Mr David Ngwenya, Mr Chris Deda and two others who overlooked to sign the register

Ms Grace Mupfurutsa outlined the vision for the future, including twinning with provinces, training packages, the sustenance of existing programmes to assist the disadvantaged masses in Zimbabwe and the engagement of the Zimbabwean government and other players with a view to influencing policy. All this, she emphasises, will need funding which we would source from as far wide as we can, including through sponsored initiatives and donations. She also dwelt on the basics of human rights, their being absolute and universal and went on to show a pertinent video, “Brief History of Human Rights”. To view the video, click here.

Ms Priscilla Chitsinde gave a scintillating account of the role of human rights organizations in the drive to make the ordinary people aware of their rights and the need to make investors accountable in situations where their ventures violate the rights of local communities. The diamond mining companies in Marange were cited as a case in point. She also highlighted the need and relevance of training of local communities in human rights related issues as well as bringing the awareness of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe to the international community through such initiatives as the lobbying local members of parliament in the diaspora.

In his address, Mr Patrick Gore took the opportunity to announce the successful securing of a sponsored place for one member of ROHR Zimbabwe to study at Columbia University, New York courtesy of a scholarship under their Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP).The selection of the candidate was to commence as soon as possible and all members of ROHR Zimbabwe are eligible and are encouraged to submit their applications and detailed CVs through the Information & Publicity department of ROHR Zimbabwe – UK Chapter whose task it is to co-ordinate the selection process through an independent panel of selectors.

As has become the norm, the meeting was interactive with everyone participating in the proceedings. These included, among other things, the implications on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe of the recent elections in Zimbabwe as well as the way forward for the UK Chapter of ROHR Zimbabwe in its ever-important role of providing material and intellectual resources to the people on the ground in Zimbabwe.

There was also a lively question and answer session during which everyone presents contributed to the ensuing debate on a wide range of topics, including ROHR Zimbabwe’s ongoing involvement with and impact on the activities on the ground in Zimbabwe. A well-known solicitor was also at hand and addressed the meeting and answered questions to do with human rights and the law.

The meeting ended at a high note with delegates vowing to take part in training initiatives as well as to be more proactive in all matters to do with human rights in Zimbabwe and to be more active at branch level.

To view pictures taken at the event, click here

By: Panyika Karimanzira – Information & Publicity Secretary