On Saturday the 27th of June 2020, the Midlands Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights [ROHR] Zimbabwe held a meeting via Zoom. Due to the current situation of Pandemic Covid-19 the members were unable to hold their physical meeting at the usual venue. The Branch Acting Chairperson Nicolate Gwati [Nikki] chaired the meeting.
Register of Attendance
Blessing Goronga, Lilian T Nleya, Nicolate Gwati, Nomagugu Sibanda, Vongai Mufara, Harriet Ndlovu, Masciline Mercy Mzondiwa, Panyika Karimanzira, Thenjiwe Ndlovu, Shingirirai Kandi, Gladys Dube, Karen Nhakaniso, Linda Chenyama, Chipo Kamhunga, Eveline Kuwaza, Emma Josaya, Wellington Rupere ,Daisy Mandiyanike, Nigel Mbohwa, Laina Murape and Maruwiza Khambala.
1) Welfare Check on the members
2) Members contribution to the Organisation and ways to be effective as an Organisation
3) Other business and conclusion
The meeting started at 14:00hrs
Welfare check on the members
The chairperson greeted everyone and acknowledged members of other branches and visitors who we able to join us. Everyone confirmed to be well and keeping safe during the current lockdown due to the Pandemic -19
Members contribution to the Organisation and ways to be effective
The chair (Nikki) started the meeting by asking the following questions:
- Why are we not more effective as an organisation?
- As individuals how are members individually contributing to the fight against human rights violations?
- Lilian Nleya responded by saying suggesting that our efforts at branch level have a great impact on what happens in the organisation. If we are effective at branch level in achieving the goals that we set for ourselves then this will contribute towards making the organisation more effective
- She also highlighted that as individuals we need to be assertive as the committee is only there to steer people but that everyone had a responsibility to also play their part.
- She noted that some people were feeling burnt out because they were doing everything whilst others were doing nothing
- Lilian Nleya mentioned that she was contributing towards our fight against human rights violations by being part of the ROHR Human Rights Violations monitoring team, she is also helping to boost the Midlands campaign, she posts articles on social media as a part of awareness and she is an Organising secretary for the branch.
- Harriet Ndlovu, responding to the question of how she is contributing towards our fight against human rights violations mentioned that her activism has been limited by the lockdown but that she took part in the campaign that Scotland Branch did on standing up against the violence that is perpetrated against women ·
- Chipo Kamhunga suggested raising funds to buy masks. He wants to help in fund raising for the less fortunate in Zimbabwe. Chipo also indicated that if you are an activist your profile will be seen by your works.
- Eveline mentioned that she had not been able to take part in any activism as there was a serious illness in the family due to Covid.
- Maruwiza Khambala mentioned that she was happy to contribute funds where fundraising was been done as part of her activism
- Masciline Mercy Mzondiwa said she comments and likes human rights related posts on Facebook. She also twitted regularly. She is also the Deputy Secretary in the Executive Committee of the Scotland Branch. She said she would love to donate for the Epworth community.
- Nomagugu Sibanda is the Secretary in the Executive Committee of the Midlands branch and she writes minutes for every branch meeting. She contributes by liking and reposting human rights related material on Facebook. She also takes part in campaigns, fundraising and demos led by the organisation.
- Thenjiwe Ndlovu has been a part of the charity work that was done by Scotland Branch in raising money for the Epworth food kitchen. She would also like to continue being a voice of the voiceless through social media.
- Wellington Rupere indicated that we need to have time to reflect on the things that we are doing as an organisation. He noted that some of the petitions that people posted on the WhatsApp groups did not make sense. He also noted that petitions are a good tool of campaigning but that if they are not given enough thought they lose their meaning. He reminded us of the successful campaign that had been wedged against a Zimbabwean doctor (Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro) who ended up being forced to leave the UK because of the pressure the campaign bore on both him and the UK Government. was successful. Wellington also suggested that we need activist training in the organisation so that we become more effective in our endeavours and he also suggested that we link up with other organisations when they are doing their own campaigns so that our voice becomes more powerful.
- Lindah Chenyama has been contributing towards our fight against human rights violations by taking part in the campaign stopping violence against women and doing contributions towards the food kitchen in Epworth. She is also very active on social media including on Facebook.
- Laina Murape, Emma Josaya, Mercy and Nigel have also been contributing towards our fight against human rights violations by sharing content on Facebook and Twitter.
- Vongai Mufara has been contributing towards our fight against human rights violations by participating in campaigns in Scotland like the campaign against stopping violence against women. She has also taken part in the charity event for the Epworth Kitchen. She encouraged everyone to contribute towards the food kitchen. Vongai Mufara has also written letters to Pastors in Zimbabwe, Baba Guti and Pastor Mutendi concerning their contributions towards congregants. She has also been attending training to strengthen her activism.
- Nicolate Gwati has been contributing towards our fight against human rights violations by sharing information on twitter, by writing a blog and by being part of the ROHR Human Rights Violations Monitoring team. Nikki also takes part in the campaigns, demonstrations, fundraising and she is the Acting Chair for the branch. She is also the Secretary in the Executive Committee of the UK Chapter of ROHR Zimbabwe. Nikki suggested that members can also have blogs and Facebook, so they share information in the safety of their own home. She mentioned that there have been so many violations between March to June 2020 and that there is a lot of work to be done as an organisation. Nikki also took the time to refresh the members of the Aims and Objectives of ROHR:
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira stated that he lives for the organisation. He said that he finds himself being the central person in the administration function of the organization. For example, he plays a leading role in membership administration. This includes keeping ROHR Zimbabwe information up to date, sending information to prospective members and coordinating the whole membership process. He also originates the letters of reference that members require from time to time and is a co-signatory to those letters. He also responds to inquiries about the organisation. He is also responsible for the Information & Publicity function of the organization. In this role, he is responsible for editing and posting material on the ROHR website, ROHR blog, ROHR facebook, ROHR Flickr, ROHR YouTube, ROHR Twitter etc. He also corresponds with UK Government departments and organizes meetings with them. He also encourages members to participate on the organisation’s social media platforms. He also writes articles that get published in various media outlets and frequently appears on panels that discuss the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. Panyika said it is part of ROHR’s plan to hold workshops that will train members on how to discharge their duties in the various portfolios that they assume as well as how to become effective in their activism even though the Organisation has limited resources. Panyika mentioned that the ROHR Constitution is being amended in line with the changes in our operations over the years and that might attract donors which in turn will open doors for workshops and other activities that require substantial resources. He also encouraged everyone to contribute towards the changing of the Constitution that will govern us. He encouraged people to write down what they want to see included in the constitution.
- Wellington Rupere indicated that he had not received the email inviting members to contribute towards the amendment of the Constitution
- Mr Karimanzira responded by saying that he would send e-mails to all those who had not received the initial email about the constitutional amendment exercise.
- Vongai Mufara asked if ROHR could organise workshops on activism as people do not know how to do this effectively
- Panyika Karimanzira responded by advising that it was actually in the plans to hold workshops aimed at educating members on how to effectively man every portfolio in our organization.
Aims and Objectives
- To promote and protect justice, and human rights in Zimbabwe
- To provide a platform through which civil society engages with each other and with state institutions to debate on issues relating to human rights and justice.
- To popularize the need for justice and human rights at all times in Zimbabwe.
- To encourage and advocate for the highest standards of human rights and justice among Zimbabweans.
- To conduct conferences, workshops, seminars, study programmes, research, educational campaigns and such other publicity campaigns and activities aimed at promoting justice and human rights among Zimbabweans.
- To establish ties with the media and to ensure publicity campaigns to broaden public awareness of human rights and justice in Zimbabwe.
- To advocate against human rights abuses.
- To campaign against impunity for those who violate human rights.
- To encourage participation by members of the public in governance issues including their constitutional rights.
- To facilitate mobilization for the administration and operational activities of the project.
- To network with other civic organizations that share the same objectives and values nationally, regionally, and internationally
- To represent the interests and opinions of its members nationally, regionally, and globally.
- To do any or all such other things which are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the aims and objectives of the Restoration of Human Rights.
- Nicolate Gwati concluded by encouraging members to play their part as individuals so that they also improve at branch level.
- She also indicated that she would do a write up on how people could be involved in human rights activism from the comfort of their homes
- The Chairperson extended thanks to everyone who was able to connect and mentioned that the date for the next meeting will be announced soon.
- With all the agenda items having been exhausted, the Chairperson Nicolate Gwati declared the meeting closed at 16:30hrs
To view pictures taken at the event, click here
By: Information & Publicity Department