15th July 2017

ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter National General Meeting Saturday 15th July 2017, Report

On Saturday 15th July 2017, Zimbabwean Human Rights activists who are members of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe, converged at 330 Aikman Avenue, Leicester, LE3 9PW for the ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter National General Meeting.

Meeting Started: 14:00hrs

Tsungirirayi Kahiya (ROHR Zimbabwe Midlands Branch Chairperson) opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to Leicester, in the Midlands, she then gave the floor to George Shambela (ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter Steering Committee Chairperson).

George Shambela greeted the activists and advised that Farai Nhakaniso (ROHR Zimbabwe Information & Publicity Officer UK Chapter) would be announcing the agenda and chairing the General Meeting. Before handing the meeting over to Farai Nhakaniso, George made an announcement reference the outstanding balance that was still requiring to be cleared for the ROHR Zimbabwe website to be in operation, he stated that those who are still willing to contribute – should do so, as the website has been disconnected until the balance is cleared. George also called upon Mary Muteyerwa (ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter Central London Branch Chairperson)  to highlight a major project they have been working on as a branch. Mary Muteyerwa explained that, Lynette Chivhizhe and George Shambela have been raising awareness by visiting schools and churches in Trafalgar, London and handing out flyers letting people know about ROHR Zimbabwe and its aims & objectives. As a branch, they are also working on their own ROHR branch banner. They also have a drum that they are trying to fill with donated books and pencils which they plan to send to Zimbabwe.

Following Mary Muteyerwa, FaraI Nhakaniso then requested for Panyika Karimanzira (ROHR Zimbabwe Board of Trustee Member) to give an introduction of ROHR Zimbabwe, explaining its Aims & Objectives to the benefit all new members and visitors in attendance. Mr Panyika Karimanzira welcomed new ROHR members and gave the history and background ROHR Zimbabwe. He also indicated that ROHR Zimbabwe networks with other organizations like Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation, Zimbabwean Citizens Initiative, MaZimbabweans Yes We Can, Women of Justice Arise amongst many others.

Farai Nhakaniso introduced the next part of the agenda on what it means to be an activist calling on Silvanos Mudzvova, Lorraine Mudjgwa and Lynette Chivhizhe to cover this topic. Silvanos Mudzvova (a prominent Tajamuka activist and also Organising Secretary for ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter Manchester Branch) indicated that he uses theatre as a way of showcasing the message of activism. He is mentioned the use of the internet using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp. Silvanos Mudzvova mentioned that he and two other activists Farai Nhakaniso and Agnes Magumbe have started posting videos (BhanditiTV) as a way of spreading the message of the atrocities committed by Zanu PF in Zimbabwe, the videos are going viral on Facebook and Whatsapp. Zimbabwean Youths in Zimbabwe and the diaspora who are aged between 18 and 35 are being reached via social media – so ROHR Zimbabwe we should be doing our part to create the awareness and encourage action from Zimbabweans to ensure 2018 the Elections bring a change of government. He indicated that doing the same thing repeatedly will get people used to seeing your message and he gave an example of how the Labour party here in the UK did very well in the elections by using social media effectively. He also highlighted that those people gifted in writing can contribute with articles. Silvanos proposed that as an organisation we should do a 2-day exhibition in London where we can put photos of people who have been captured and tortured and invite politicians, the press and amnesty international to this event.

Lorraine Mudjgwa from the Manchester-Liverpool branch spoke about the importance of attending meetings and demonstrations. Attending to meetings and demonstrations indicate that you are an activist. Lynette Chivhizhe from the Central London branch spoke about being active as an activist to the level that raises awareness of who we are (ROHR Zimbabwe) as an organisation.

Delina Mutyambizi (Organising Secretary of the ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter Steering Committee) contributed to the agenda topic by stating, “We really need to be involved in the fight for Zimbabwe because it belongs to us.” She spoke about the importance of coming out on the streets in our numbers as Zimbabweans and gave an example of the Romanians who came out on the streets in their thousands. She indicated that we can’t just use social media but we need to come out on the streets so that people see how serious we are. She also encouraged people to be involved in the new strategies that the Zimbabwe Citizens Initiative had come up with (Ziso/Ilihlo  www.zisoilihlo.com)

Farai Nhakaniso, then called upon Paradzai Mapfumo (Board of Trustee Member and National Coordinator ROHR Zimbabwe) to give an update of what has been happening on the ground in Zimbabwe. Mr Paradzai Mapfumo, thanked everyone for attending the meeting and their contribution towards our continued struggle against the Zanu PF government who constantly violate the Human Rights of its citizens. Due to the safety of ROHR Zimbabwe Members based in Zimbabwe, the report of on the ground activities cannot be presented in this report in detail. However, Mr Mapfumo advised the charitable works that ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter are doing on the ground in Zimbabwe is most cases is being hindered by transport logistics and accommodation of getting donated goods to the areas around the country of most need.

Following Paradzai Mapfumo, Farai Nhakaniso was informed by George Shambela that those in attendance had managed to raise the balance that was outstanding for the website to be re-activated. Farai Nhakaniso thanked everyone for contributing towards the website, before the meeting the branches at contributed as below:

Midlands Branch £120,

Manchester Branch £100

Central London Branch £70

Farai Nhakaniso, then requested for Karen Nhakaniso (Chairperson for ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter Manchester Branch) to give an update of what they have been working on as a branch. Karen Nhakaniso spoke about getting the youth involved. She also spoke about the different approach that they were taking in encouraging people to sit down together and engaging in discussions. She also spoke about the importance of having demonstrations to raise awareness and highlighted the #Take2Zimbabwe demonstration on the 3rd of May 2017 held in Manchester City Centre at the Wellington Statue in Piccadilly Gardens (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rohr_zimbabwe__manchester/albums/72157682520777033). Karen Nhakaniso, highlighted as a branch they are working on securing a fixed venue for the future demonstrations, also another project they are looking into involves running a youth programme for children who were born in the U.K. and those that came to the U.K. at a very young age. This Youth Programme will involve cultural lessons for these children so they grow up knowing their cultural heritage.

Tsungirayi Kahiya (Chairperson for ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter Midlands Branch) spoke about the drive to get all the members involved within her branch. She also spoke about the importance of holding demonstrations, as pointed out by Karen Nhakaniso, highlighting the successful demonstration held in Leicester on the 17th of June 2017, which coincided with Refugee Week (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rohr_zimbabwe__manchester/albums/72157685279354156).  She spoke about getting inspiration from the Central London branch to do a flyer for their Midlands Branch, this will then be marketed across the midlands – taking ROHR Zimbabwe to the community. She spoke about the branch’s desire to do projects back in Zimbabwe and also to come up with strategy to put ROHR Zimbabwe on the map.

Farai Nhakaniso then called upon Kingstone Jambawo abd John Winder of the Zimbabwean Citizen’s Initiative to provide information about ZISO/ILIHLO (www.zisoilihlo.com). It was explained as a platform were citizens observe and report any acts of violence in Zimbabwe. This is done by sending a text message, a whatsapp message or directly logging onto the website. Once the incident is reported there is a pin on the map of where the incident occurred and once it is confirmed it is available for everyone anywhere in the world to view it. Farai Nhakaniso advised he will share the ZISO/ILIHLO link on all the ROHR Zimbabwe whatsapp groups. Farai Nhakaniso also added that its very important that we share the link of this software to all our family & friends who are in Zimbabwe. As they will be the main users of this Application. Mr Panyika Karimanzira also added that before ZISO/ILIHLO people could be murdered without anyone knowing but with this application every citizen is watching and we might witness less cases of torture and violence. He also urged everyone to share this app with all their friends and relatives.

Farai Nhakaniso added that ZISO/ILIHLO is linked to Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers and it was brought to Zimbabwe by Zimbabwe Citizens Initiative working with Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum. Organisations that are linked to the United Nations and the European Union also have access to this platform as funding was sourced from these organisations.

Delina Mutyambizi also added that we should let our family and friends in Zimbabwe that reporting incidents of violence and torture on this application is anonymous.

Farai Nhakaniso then handed the floor back to George Shambela to bring the meeting to a close.

Register of attendance.

The following people entered their details in the register of attendance;-

Nicolate Gwati, Lorraine Mudjgiwa, Isheanesu Mutyambizi, Rufaro Zondesa, Artwell Pfende, Weston Mupfururirwa, Gift Gibson, Emile Mazhale, Kingston Jambawo, Farai Nhakaniso, Tabeth Mabiza Nhakaniso, Anastasia Mboneli, Shelton Mhlanga, Tsungirirayi Kahiya, Marian Mangani, Lynette Chivizhe, Silvanos Mudzvova, Panyika Karimanzira, Pythias Makonese, George Shambela, Delina Mutyambizi, Mary Muteyerwa, Chinofunga Ndoga, Sanny Goronga, Reuben Goronga, Blessing Goronga, Evelyn Chibanda, Pardon Tapfumaneyi, Karen Nhakaniso, Kelvin Besa, John Winder, Gregory Volentine, Shamiso Moyo, Lenny Banda, Zvidzai Makamure, Judith Phiri, Gamuchirai M Phiri, Thobekile Gumbo, Paradzai Mapfumo, Olivia Chamboko, Grayson Petros, Sibonile Mlotshwa, Malvern Tirivanhu

A number of others opted not to register, citing security related reasons.

The meeting ended at 16.30 hrs.

To view pictures taken at the event follow link below.


Compiled by:

Nicolate Gwati

Secretary ROHR Zimbabwe UK Chapter Midlands Branch

Cover Picture:-  https://www.flickr.com/photos/rohr_zimbabwe__manchester/35601258110/in/album-72157683917215931/