20th September 2020
On Saturday the 19th Of September 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 a physical meeting at the usual venue. The Branch Acting Chairperson Nicolate Gwati [Nikki] chaired the meeting.
Register of Attendance
Nicolate Gwati (Nikki), Nomagugu Sibanda, Lillian Tinashe Nleya, Marian Mangani, Harriet Ndlovu, Maruwiza Nkhambala,Thenjiwe Ndlovu, Lorraine Zakeyo, Gladys Dube, Phyllis Melody Magejo, Masciline Mzondiwa, Olivia Chamboko, Mpho Kimberly Ndhlovu, Mavis Harrison, Grace Makoni, Daisy Mandianike and Masciline Mzondiwa
1. Welfare Check on the members
2. Definition of anactivist and contribution of each members as an activist.
3. Other business and conclusion
Meeting start 14:00hrs
Welfare check on the members
The chairperson, Nicolate Gwati (Nikki) greeted everyone and acknowledged members of other branches and visitors who we able to join us. Everyone confirmed that they were well, keeping safe and adjusting to the new normal way of living induced by the Covid-19 restrictions.
Definition of an activist and contribution of each member as an activist
The Chair [Nikki] started the meeting by asking everyone who was in attendance to define what an activist is:
Harriet described an activist as someone who speaks for the voiceless. As an activist she has attended 11 meetings, arranged a campaign in Scotland on the 22nd of August 2020 where she called a few Scottish friends and the media campaigning for #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, she has campaigned about the three abducted MDC ladies, did a campaign on rape in Zimbabwe and did a campaign on the 31st of August at George Square in Glasgow, Scotland.
Marian described an activist as someone who has passion for seeking rectification of social injustices and human rights violations. As an activist she has been reposting and liking posts on social media, she has also taken part of the campaigns such as the campaign against the Zimbabwe Government’s inadequate response to covid-19 pandemic.
Nomagugu Sibanda described an activist as someone who campaigns to bring change to an unjust human rights or political situation. As an activist she has been attending branch meetings and she is also the Secretary for ROHR UK Chapter’s Midlands Branch.
Grace Makoni described an activist as someone who stands up for human rights. As an activist she has been mobilising people to go to human rights activities and telling them how human rights have been violated.
Mavis Harrison described an activist as someone who stands up for human rights and is active to change the situation. As an activist she has been taking pictures posting on social media and taking part in demonstrations including the 31 August 2020 London demonstration. She has also written campaign placards and gone to Guilford to support members. She has also physically campaigned.
Mpho Kimberly Ndhlovu has been reposting and sharing her views and thoughts on social media and she has also took part in a campaign against abductions and rape.
Nikki went on to elaborate that activism is what you stand for, that as activists who stand up for human rights in Zimbabwe we need to know what happening on ground in Zimbabwe in order to be able to be effective in our roles as activists. Nikki is a part of the ROHR Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitoring team which monitors the fight against human rights violations in Zimbabwe. As part of the monitoring team they started a petition to stop human rights violations in Zimbabwe which has so far garnered 28000 signatures.
She said that as an Organisation we must put pressure on the Zimbabwe Government so that not only will the human rights violations come to an end but that the severe collapse of public services such as hospitals lacking adequate equipment will be fixed.
Thenjiwe Ndlovu from the Scotland branch has been a part of the charity work done by the Scotland branch to raise funds for the Epworth kitchen.
Marian Mangani suggested that we need a movement to keep pressurising the government.
Nomagugu Sibanda suggested that we need to have more demonstrations.
Grace Makoni made an impassioned plea for us as human rights activists to up the ante so that we can exert pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to alleviate the man made suffering of the people in Zimbabwe.
Thenjiwe said that she went to Wellingborough where she met the MP and highlighted everything that is happening in Zimbabwe. The MP indicated that he would bring up her concerns in the House of Commons.
It was also suggested that we continue with the #ZimbabweanLives Matter Campaign so that we can continue to highlight what is happening in Zimbabwe.
Olivia mentioned that the Scotland Branch was doing a campaign to stop the incarcerations of citizens and urged members from other branches to also join in this campaign
Human rights violations that have occurred in Zimbabwe over the last couple of months
Kimberley spoke about the fact that the soldiers have been preventing people from protesting against injustices and doing any campaigns.
Marian spoke about how the President of Zimbabwe referred to his administration’s cruel treatment of his critics collectively as “fishing out rotten apples”.
Harriet spoke about the situation in Zimbabwe saying that the country had now become lawless and that people were now abusing each other. There are many orphans in the country with some 12-year olds looking after their siblings and resorting to prostitution so that they can get money.
Nikki spoke about the deterioration in our health care to the extent that people are now resorting to crowdfunding to try and raise money for medical care. Some people have even died whilst waiting to raise enough funds to get the medical care that they need.
Mpho Kimberly Ndhlovu suggested that, as an organisation, we start by helping the hospitals with gloves and also set up funds for the poorest families.
Any Other Business
Nikki suggested that we continue to use the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter slogan since its already trending and as ROHR we can focus on spotlighting the unlawful arrests, beatings, abductions, and the deterioration of public services that has led to the death of not only unborn babies but of fellow citizens.
Mavis suggested the writing to the MP by each member would also assist in raising awareness of the Human rights violations in Zimbabwe at the House of Commons. She says it takes hard work and commitment, so we must encourage each other as activists.
The Chair read a recent statement released by the EU about the current situation in Zimbabwe:
“The situation has significantly deteriorated in Zimbabwe, with multiple reports of arbitrary detention and harassment, torture and inhuman treatment, including towards members of the opposition, restrictions on access to justice, and targeting of journalists and others investigating or speaking out against corruption. The reported detention of untried prisoners in a maximum-security prison together with convicted criminals suggests a serious violation of the principle of presumption of innocence. Public declarations inciting disrespect, hatred or violence towards various parties including churches, civil society actors and representatives of diplomatic missions have also contributed to increased tensions and risks to individual’s enjoyment of human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as an excuse to limit the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens in Zimbabwe, such as the freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of assembly. The EU reiterates our ambition to support Zimbabwe in implementing concrete political and economic reforms, but for these reforms to stand the test of time they require an environment ensuring an inclusive national dialogue, through which citizens can exercise all their human rights, including their freedoms of assembly, association and expression”
Nikki put an emphasis on activism for effective results and she also said activism must be on-going until the human rights violations end.
The Chairperson extended thanks to everyone who was able to take part and mentioned that the next meeting will soon be announced.
All Agenda items of the Zoom meeting having been exhausted, Nicolate Gwati declared the meeting closed at 16:30 hrs.
To view pictures taken at the event, follow the link below.
By: Information & Publicity Department