3rd August 2020
On Saturday the 1st of August 2020, the North Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held a meeting via Zoom. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is still imperative that the branch observes lockdown guidelines and minimise face to face gatherings where possible, hence the use of the Zoom platform. The meeting was chaired by Branch Vice Chairman Vengai Mutsawu.
Register of Attendance:
Vengai Mutsawu (Vice Chairman), Karen Nhakaniso (Secretary), Estery Dhliwayo (Treasurer), Pauline Makuwere (Organising Secretary), Nontokozo Malaba Ncube (Committee Member), Tabeth Mabiza-Nhakaniso.
Apologies: Farai Nhakaniso (Chairman), Petronella Mahachi (Information &Publicity Secretary)
- Update on Zimbabwean Situation
- ROHR UK National Campaigns
- North Branch Zimbabwe Campaign
- Fundraising and Donations
- How to help vulnerable Zimbabweans living in the UK
- Any Other Business
The meeting connected at 14:00 hrs
Update on Zimbabwe Situation
Members on the call gave their individual update on what has been happening in Zimbabwe over the last couple of weeks.
- Karen: The arrest of whistle blowing journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume. Hopewell exposed alleged government corruption involving Covid-19 supplies. The two are charged with inciting public violence from his expose and social media posts. They have been denied bail and are still in prison. These activists’ actions forced the government to charge former Minister of Health Obadiah Moyo with corruption. In contrast to the treatment that was given to Moyo whilst in prison and under court orders, Chin’ono and Ngarivhume were in chains when coming to court. This exposes the double standards in the way the government of Zimbabwe treats activists and its own allies.
- Vengai: On 31 July, the government sent police to the city centres to try block activists from going to the organised demonstrations. The three MDC Alliance girls and their lawyer had gone to court to fulfil their reporting conditions at Police Central. On their way, the car they were travelling in was stopped by police officers and army personnel. They were harassed. Joanna Mamombe streamed the encounter that shows the treatment that they were subjected to. The government has brought ‘witnesses’ forward that claim that the girls were lying.
- Vengai: In ZANU PF there have been two prominent deaths, Perence Shiri and the spokesperson for the army. Official reports claim these to be due to Covid-19. There are rumours that these are suspected poisonings due to the upheaval that is occurring in ZANU PF. Evidence cannot be gathered as Perence Shiri has already been buried. No autopsy was done.
- Nontokozo: Former ZANU PF Youth League Deputy Secretary Lewis Matutu is in hiding. Matutu quit his social media, deleted his Twitter, and went into hiding after appearing to take aim at President Emerson Mnangagwa and his family on corruption charges. Suspected state officials were unable to locate him and they have resorted to abducting Matutu’s relative to try get him to reveal where Matutu is.
- We have 4 major campaigns that are currently happening in UK Chapter.
- This campaign has been launched and spearheaded by volunteers from the UK Chapter. The campaign is looking at the human rights violations under ED government. If any member in the North wants to join, they advise the branch committee.
- Action to take: Sign the petition and share it on your social media platforms.
- This campaign was launched after the #MDCTrio was arrested, abducted, beaten, sexually assaulted and dumped by the side of the road. This campaign was launched to call for an end for the escalating violence that is being committed against women by state officials, the police, and the army of Zimbabwe.
- Actions: The members that attended said that they will take the photos by the end of the week and write a statement condemning violence against women.
- This campaign seeks to raise awareness about the situation in Zimbabwe to Members of Parliament in the UK. The campaign aims to persuade MPs to put Zimbabwe on the agenda. The updated letter concentrates on human rights violations by the Emerson Mnangagwa government.
- Actions: Provide your full name and your MP’s name to the Branch secretary so the MP letter can be written on your behalf. A letter will be sent to you to email your MP as MP clinics are currently not possible.
- This campaign highlights the various ways in which the government of Zimbabwe has destroyed or looted resources from the country and its citizens. This campaign covers such things as education, health, sports, culture, employment, industry, rule of law etc.
- Actions: The North Branch has decided to concentrate on the recent news of 7 stillborn babies at Harare Central Hospital on the night of 27 July 2020. The branch will have photos taken in their ROHR t-shirt and write a statement about it.
North Branch Zimbabwe Campaign
As a branch is there a way that we can identify a campaign or a place that we can raise money for. Just as the Scotland Branch was able to help the foodbank in Epworth during this Covid-19 crisis, can the North Branch find somewhere they can help too. Nontokozo suggested that we identify the areas that we want to do. Each one of us would want to make an impact in the places that we are from. Estery spoke of the Hurricane that affected people in Chimanimani. These people have yet to receive help. Vengai suggested that we list the places or people that need help and then say who needs the immediate. We have limited finances, but our fundraising efforts can make a difference. Nontokozo suggested that we start mobilising finances. This is next on the agenda.
|Chimanimani Hurricane Idai Survivors||This is a dire need and as a branch we can pursue this first as survivors are homeless.|
|Bulawayo Water Crisis||There are several city councils that are struggling with water.|
|HIV/AIDS Orphans||Zimbabwe has a high HIV/AIDS mortality rate, as branch we can help orphans with various items.|
|SOS Charity work in partnership with||See notes**|
- **Pauline approached SOS charity on behalf of the branch, to find out if ROHR can work with them and we start a project back home. SOS does different activities. Activities for women and young persons for skills and projects so they are able to survive. A program that helps these young adults that would be struggling to help themselves. We can also help women and widows. The point of these projects is helping them with the knowledge rather than hampers or money. The lady at SOS advised that she speak to Pauline in a few days. Pauline will update as soon as she hears anything.
- Branch decided to pursue the Bulawayo Water Crisis. We need to identify the specific area or group that we will be supporting. There are a lot of people that are struggling with water. Identify the town/area with a dire situation. The borehole costs £1500 upwards. A borehole would ensure that people receive a long-term solution. This will allow us to make a true difference. We can approach The National Executive with this so we can get other branches onboard.
Fundraising and Donations
- First, we need clarity on where to put our funds. Members are not comfortable to have the funds sent to personal accounts. If we are to pursue these projects lets, ensure that we have bank accounts with full access by the branch and can be audited. Even if we want to access funding it is difficult because we have no traceability. Pauline suggested that we join CashPlus or Tide. Pauline will find out details and advise ASAP.
- As a registered charity, we need meeting minutes, constitution. With no constitution then letter on headed paper. Minutes of the meeting will confirm that a bank will be opened. The people to be signatories and the committee and minutes will be signed by two people.
- Minutes will say that why we wanted to open accounts.
- ID and proof of address for signatories.
- Three signatories: Farai Nhakaniso, Mr Karimanzira and Pauline Makuwere need to coordinate this and get the account registered.
- The monthly contributions can be £5-10 per month from members that will kept at ROHR to keep our branch’s fundraising pot healthy.
- Pauline will be chasing these up and Estery will advise where it will be sent till the Branch has their account sorted.
- It is difficult with Covid-19 to do fundraising
How to help fellow Zimbabweans in UK
- How can we as an organisation help our fellow Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom that are struggling especially now with Covid-19.
- Can we not have food hampers such as monthly 5kg of Mealie Meal for example. The vouchers cannot buy IWISA since they are not available in the big supermarkets.
- There are people that can even buy clothes. There are charities that give clothes, but they do not get their size.
- Pauline talked about New Life and suggested if we can get in touch with charities such as New Life to get support for Zimbabweans in the UK. Even approaching Primark for example.
- We need to identify people that are not in the system at all.
- We need to pick this up with more members on the call. As an organisation we will need policies in place etc that need a bigger body to address.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
- T-Shirts for ROHR
- Pauline raised the issue about t-shirts and subscription card for ROHR.
- Membership fees will be chased up by Pauline
- The banner for the Branch. Will Nontokozo be able to have a banner that she can have so that she can use it since she lives faraway?
Need to raise these issues with the National Executive
- Membership cards are done from Zim so Pauline to speak to Mr Mapfumo of when the next batch will be
- T-Shirt are with Grace Makoni so need to speak to
All agenda items and any other business having been exhausted, Vengai Mutsawu declared the meeting closed at 15:57 hrs.
Minutes written by Branch Secretary Karen Nhakaniso
To view pictures taken at the event, follow the link below; –
By: Information & Publicity Department