17th June 2017
On Saturday 17th June 2017, Zimbabwean and friends of Zimbabwe activists based in the United Kingdom came together, to speak in one voice against the injustice and misrule by Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF led Zimbabwean government. This was another event, amongst many that have increased over the years, as Human Right Activists gather together all over the globe creating campaigns and forums on how to get the message across to the international committee of Mugabe’s Human Right violations.
One such campaign called #Take2Zimbabwe, birthed by Zimbabwe Human Right Organisation (ZHRO) saw them partnering with Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR Zimbabwe), Zimbabwe Citizen’s Initiative (ZCI) and other such organisations in an event in Leicester on 17 June 2017. Previous events have been held in London, Birmingham (see video posted by BhanditiTV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq_0ahhDhOg) and Manchester.
The event took place in the Jubilee Square and brought Zimbabweans from all over UK. It was managed by the ROHR Midlands Branch and began with several public relations initiatives.
The first was a discussion on Nakai Media on the 15th of June, a social media channel, which saw ZHRO, ROHR Zimbabwe, ZCI, ZAPU and Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) represented in the discussion. (see Part One of the discussion video: https://www.facebook.com/www.nakaimedia.org/videos/277381246066454/)
Nakai Media is owned by the Grace Mupfurutsa, popularly known as Tete Rasta, who is also an activist in her own right and a founder member of ROHR Zimbabwe.
The panel saw big wigs within human rights and also representation from Zimbabwe political parties, all who were expressing their revolt against the unconstitutional human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
On Saturday the 17th of June 2017, Zimbabweans congregated in the Jubilee Square for a peaceful protest to express that:
- It was time for regime change in Zimbabwe
- Diasporas should be allowed to vote in the 2018 elections as it is their constitutional right to do so
- The election process, including voter registration, should involve all parties to ensure transparency
The same day also marked the beginning of refugee week and Red Cross, a major partner for refugees across the world then invited the Zimbabwean group to join in their celebration in front of the Leicester town Hall. There was song and dance and the Red Cross brought refugees from different countries in a celebration of love and life.
The event caught the attention of many support organisations and individuals, with BBC Radio Leicester inviting the organisers, represented by Olive Ruvimbo Ruzvidzo, accompanied by Shelton Mhlanga to speak on their African Caribbean segment on Sunday night the 18th June 2017.
They elaborated on why Zimbabweans in the diaspora felt the need to vote even though they were not in the country.
The highlight of the interview was that more than a third of Zimbabweans are outside Zimbabwe and they contribute to the bulk of the economy through money sent to families and relatives back home. They therefore, should be allowed a say in how their money is used, above the fact that it is every Zimbabwean’s constitutional right. Electronic voting has been on the table as an option for a while despite Justice Makarau’s (ZEC) insistence that country cannot afford it.
The event saw support from the council who cleared Jubilee Square, Leicester Members of Parliament; Keith Vaz, Liz Kendall and Jon Ashworth who have opened their doors for future dialogue on how Zimbabweans can be assisted, The Red Cross, who work closely with Zimbabwe Action in Solidarity (a drop-in centre for Zimbabwean refugees and asylum seekers) and Zimbabwe Association, a country wide refugee support organisation in the United Kingdom.