2nd March 2020
On Sunday 1st March 2020 evening, the Executive Committee of the UK Chapter and Board of Trustees of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held a teleconference meeting. The meeting was chaired by the Chairperson of the UK Chapter, Mr Kingdom Mvumi.
Register of Attendance
Nicolate Gwati, Panyika Karimanzira, Kingdom Mvumi, Delina Mutyambizi, Lilian T Nleya, Phylis Chibanguza, Olive R Ruzvidzo and Grace Makoni
1. Redefining our broader purpose/ objective and re-looking at our short term aims/ goals. Who are we and what do we do?
2. Our operational matrix – the issue of the constitution and registration as a charity in the UK. Policies and procedures.
3. Media and communication strategies. Who do we focus on in our campaigns and who do we target our communications to? We need to establish communication links with governments, SADC, AU, EU, etc so that we make sure our communication is formally received and acknowledged
4. Partnerships and alliances. For broader relevance and recognition, we should partner with other like-minded local, regional and international human rights organisations.
5. Membership reconciliation and drive. We seek more members to join and participate in our organisation
Meeting started at 19:46 hrs
Redefining our broader purpose/ objective and re-looking at our short term aims/ goals. Who are we and what do we do?
- Mr Kingdom Mvumi started by saying that as an organisation we need to have a fresh perspective of what our purpose is as an organisation.
- He indicated that we need to look at our short- term goals and we also need to ensure that our objectives are in line with our current objectives.
- Olive also added that as an organisation we need to have a framework of what activities we embark on from now on.
- Lilian also added that we need to prioritise and revisit the role of the Board of Trustees so that we know what we are supposed to do
- Mr Kingdom Mvumi asked Mr Panyika Karimanzira if he had any material on the organisation that he could share.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira indicated that he always made the aims and objectives of the organisation available to members upon joining and that everything that we did had to be in line with the main objectives as outlined in the Deed of Trust & Donation.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira also indicated that we need to adapt our actions according to the situation at hand. He also noted that in the past we had issues with registering ROHR as a charity in the UK because of the outlook of the organization based on a Notarial Deed of Trust & Trust which projects us as a quasi-political outfit whereas in reality we are a pure human rights organization with charitable objectives.
- He also indicated that we had the issue of the constitution that needed to be addressed before ROHR could be registered here in the UK.
- To this end Mr Karimanzira proposed that a committee be established which will look at every aspect of the Deed of Trust & Donation and draft a constitution that would then be presented to members for possible adoption, with amendments where necessary.
- Kingdom asked if the aims and objectives of the organisation could be distributed to everyone in leadership.
- Nicolate responded by saying that every member should at least have these documents as they are given to people upon becoming members of ROHR
Who are we and what do we do?
- Grace Makoni mentioned that we need to continue the Charity work that we had done before. She gave the example of when we painted at the Monty Hind Youth Centre in Nottingham.
- Nicolate Gwati responded by saying that the difficulty with this was that we are not registered here in the UK and this is a security risk for the organisations we would like to volunteer with unless if we are personally known to the organisation
- Kingdom Mvumi asked us to think about what could take our organisation forward apart from demonstrations and campaigns? This will be discussed at a future date.
Our operational matrix – the issue of the constitution and registration as a charity in the UK
- A committee will be established to look at the issue of the Constitution
- Mr Karimanzira indicated that the Deed of Trust would need to be amended to adequately provide for diaspora structures like the UK Chapter among other things.The amendments could be such that the diaspora structures could have their own constitutions provided they not contravene the provisions of the Deed of Trust & Donations.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira stated that at the moment we have a Deed of Trust & Donations only and not a Constitution.
- Mr Kingdom Mvumi asked if we were going to draft a Constitution for ROHR in its entirety or just a constitution that looks at the UK Chapter?
- Mr Karimanzira in answering indicated that there are some people who are in both the Board of Trustees and the UK Chapter. It therefore makes sense to look at the Constitution universally.
- Ruvimbo asked where the main body of ROHR would be considering that the organisation was registered in Zimbabwe.
- Mr Karimanzira indicated that the fact that we are registered in Zimbabwe is not going to change unless we disband as an organisation. In creating a Constitution, we are trying to align what we actually do as an organisation to what is on the Deed of Trust & Donations.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira observed that, when The Deed of Trust & Donations was registered there is reason to believe there was contemplation of the possibility of the organization turning into a Political party at some point in future. However, this is not the direction we are contemplating and as such we need to amend our governing document(s) to reflect our true character and outlook as an organization. Amendment of the Deed of Trust & Donation does not entail registering ROHR Zimbabwe. It is just the filing of the amendments that we would have made with the Registrar of Deeds.
- Kingdom asked if we still have a presence in Zimbabwe that would compel us to continue reporting to them?
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira indicated that the situation in Zimbabwe is forever changing and as such there is now only one Board member who is resident in Zimbabwe. We also now don’t have an office in Zimbabwe due to the security risk.
- He also emphasized that we need to keep our connection with Zimbabwe so that we don’t lose our relevance and that we continue to fight for human rights in Zimbabwe. That is our core business.
- The meeting agreed that a committee needed to be established to look at all the governing documents of ROHR Zimbabwe.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira and Mr Kingdom Mvumi were elected to spearhead the committee for the establishment of a Constitution. In due course more members will be added to this committee as the intention is to involve all ROHR members in the construction of this Constitution.
Policies & Procedures
The just established Constitution Coordinating Committee was tasked to look into these in consultation with the Board of Trustees. The committee would consult as broadly as possible, including ordinary members of ROHR Zimbabwe. The Committee will come up with drafts and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees which shall have the final say.
Media and communication strategies. Who do we focus on in our campaigns and who do we target our communications to?
- Kingdom asked what would make us effective as an organisation. What is our focus and who are we targeting?
- He indicated that releasing statements was good but that we are not supposed to end there. We need to establish formal contact with SADC, AU, etc and get formal communication back from them that they have seen our letter, statement of campaign.
- Let us make people aware of what is happening in Zimbabwe.
- In line with who we are targeting Mr Panyika Karimanzira indicated that we had links with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office among other strategic international entities.
- Kingdom indicated that we want to be an organisation that is serious and consistent throughout the year.
- Ms Delina Mutyambizi indicated that our campaigns will not have any meaning if they just end up on social media. We need to ensure that we get results from all our campaigns.
- Mr Kingdom Mvumi suggested the creation of a directory of organisations that we can be in touch with a view to working together from time to time.
- He also indicated that we need to have one outlet for information so that everything is done in a co-ordinated manner. Nothing should come out of the organization without the knowledge of Mr Paradzai Mapfumo in his capacity as the Co-ordinator. and as such nothing should come out of the organisation without his knowledge.
- There shouldn’t be any personal statements that are issued on behalf of the organisation.
Partnerships and alliances.
For broader relevance and recognition, we should partner with other like- minded local, regional and international human rights organisations.
We need to formally approach organisations like the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the Church of England etc and engage them with a view to establishing formal partnerships in some areas of our work.
It was suggested that we set up a delegation to go to the organisations that we engage with so that we can explore the areas that we can work together.
Mr Kingdom Mvumi indicated that human rights organisations are very approachable and that we need to find ways to engage with them so that when they do work in Zimbabwe, we can be part of that work and our logo can also appear in their publicity materials.
Mr Panyika Karimanzira indicated that having alliances with other human rights organisations is very important.He also indicated that, as an organisation, we need to have a documented profile that other organisations can look at.
Ms Delina Mutyambizi also added that any organisation that is interested in the development of human rights is our target.
Ms Olive Ruzvidzo suggested that a committee be established to spearhead and look for the organisations that we can work with.
Mr Karimanzira in response indicated that there was already an Information subcommittee in existence but that we don’t want to limit communications to people in the subcommittee.
Membership drive and records reconciliation as we seek more members to increase in our membership.
- Mr Kingdom Mvumi suggested that we go back to our register and talk to every member to see where they are now.
- We need people who are committed to see if they will take up leadership positions.
- He also indicated that as leadership we need to show some seriousness and recruit people.
- Kingdom Mvumi mentioned visitors who had come from Crowley when the Midlands Branch had their culture day but that no one had followed up with them later to see if they wanted to join the organisation.
- Delina Mutyambizi noted that the lack of written policies has been letting us down for a long time and that most people would not want to join an organisation that does not demonstrate a certain level of organization.
- Mr Kingdom Mvumi encouraged everyone to have a self-introspection and see where we can improve. He also noted that we are the people that should lead the membership drive and that progress will depend on how much effort we put.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira suggested that we give the ROHR Co-ordinator, Phyllis Chibanguza, the National Organising Secretary and Branch Organising Secretaries the task of sorting out the register and the membership.
- Kingdom indicated that the branches are the heartbeat of the organisation and as such we need to find a way of strengthening the branches to ensure that they are working properly.
- He also indicated that there is a need for those in leadership to attend meetings
- Branches should also set their own activities in line with the objectives of the organisation.
- Kingdom also indicated that we need to have a schedule of national meetings at the beginning of each year so that every member in the organisation will be aware of what is going on in the organisation.
- He also emphasized that the agenda items for each meeting need to be given to the secretary before each meeting to ensure that the meetings are conducted in an organised manner.
- He encouraged people to do things in a professional way.
- Delina indicated that as we are all in leadership of ROHR, we should expect to be held accountable.
- Grace Makoni also added that we need to have transparency as leaders and not to sponsor or allow rumour mongering. She also encouraged people to address grievance issues through the normal channels as opposed to creating cliques.
Any other business
- Grace Makoni is having problems with t-shirts. She wanted to know who would take the ordered t-shirts to Scotland and also that the prices for printing the t-shirts had increased to £9.60 before taking into account the postage of these t-shirts. Therefore, selling them for £10 would lead to a loss.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira suggested that the t-shirts could be given to the Chairperson of Scotland as she travels back and forth frequently.
- Delina suggested that we increase the price to £12 or find another place to print them which costs less
- Kingdom suggested that Grace Makoni does proper costing with the landed cost of the T-Shirts so that the Committee can make a decision on the price to charge.
- Kingdom asked if he could get the information on who does what in the organisation.
- Mr Karimanzira responded by saying that he would liaise with the secretary and provide him with the information.
- Kingdom suggested that everyone should do the job that comes under their role without delegating. Phyllis Chibanguza suggested that sometimes it is necessary to delegate to others if one’s situation is such that they are not able to complete a task in a timely manner.
- Delina Mutyambizi expressed concern with the way the matter of her bank account that had been used by the Midlands branch had been politicized and portrayed to the then Chairperson of the Board of Trustees by some member of the committee as shady thereby sparking unnecessary mistrust and upheaval in the organization.
- Kingdom noted that we would need to have further discussions about this with a view to stopping malicious rumour mongering. He also noted that we might have people who have been planted in the organisation to cause disruption, so we need to have systems in place to minimize their damage.
All agenda items having been exhausted and there being no other business, Mr Kingdom declared the meeting closed at 21:52 hrs.
By: Information & Publicity Department