17th August 2020
On Sunday the 16th of August 2020, the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held an emergency National meeting via zoom. The meeting was chaired by Kingdom Mvumi.
This meeting was to discuss an urgent call for assistance by young activists on the ground in Zimbabwe who were in distress due to persecution and hounding by State agencies in Zimbabwe in the recent past. The meeting explored a number of ways to assist the activists. An ad-hoc sub-committee was set up for the specific purpose of working out a sustainable strategy and a system for mobilizing and channelling resources to the intended beneficiaries.
Nicolate Gwati, Vengai Mutsawu, Lilian Nleya, Kingdom Mvumi, Florence Mangisi, Nomagugu Sibanda, Laina Murape, Delina Mutyambizi, Mavis Harrison, Vongayi Mufara, Olive Ruzvidzo, Paradzai Mapfumo, Magadaline Moyo, Nontokozo Malaba Ncube, Thenjiwe Ndlovu, Lindah Chenyama, Mercy Tevera, Blessing Goronga, Mercy Nyamuka, Grace Makoni, Panyika Karimanzira, Karen Nhakaniso, Daisy Mandianike and Silvanos Mudzvova
1. Plea from distressed activists in Zimbabwe
2. Filling the vacancy for Secretary for Information & Publicity for the UK Chapter
Meeting start 17:00hrs
Distress call from Activists in Zimbabwe
- The Chairperson of the UK Chapter, Kingdom Mvumi started the meeting by addressing the current situation that activists are currently experiencing
- He mentioned that Board members Delina Mutyambizi and Panyika Karimanzira had been in touch with activists who highlighted their distressful plight and called for assistance.
- It was highlighted that one of the Board members would give us a background on the discussions that they have had with activists
- Young activists in Zimbabwe, NNNNN and VVVVV spoke to Delina and Mr Karimanzira
- Delina mentioned that when these activists are doing well, we clap our hands for them but when they are in trouble no one is there for them
- NNNNN has to report twice a week to the police station and she has to meet the transportation costs on her own and if she misses any reporting date, she will be detained.
- Some activists are having to move from one place to another due to security fears and some are in safe houses.
- So far there are 8 activists that we are talking to and 7 are in different safe houses.
- Kingdom spoke and told the meeting that there was a serious financial cry for help from activists and as an organisation we want to see how we can meet this need.
- He invited everyone to make contributions on how we could help these activists.
- Laina Murape suggested that we contribute financially as members of ROHR.
- Kingdom suggested that we should lead by example as an organisation and contribute financially before asking other people outside the organisation to contribute.
- Vongayi Mufara and Florence Mangisi supported what Laina had said in that the only way that we can contribute is financially in terms of the bail money that is needed by activists in Zimbabwe.
- Olive Ruzvidzo also agreed with the idea and asked about the kind of figures we were looking at in terms of amounts
- Nicolate Gwati responded by saying that as the problems are ongoing, we need to find a way to raise the money in a way that is ongoing so that our cause can be sustained in the long run.
- Kingdom suggested that a Trust be set up to help with accountability and also with the disbursement of funds. He also suggested that we approach the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to maybe help us out in setting up the Trust
- Magadaline Moyo noted that there have been instances where funds have been donated in activist’s names before, but they have not received the money. She also suggested that maybe a go-fund-me account could be set up so that other people outside the organisation could also donate
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira asked the meeting who would be responsible for handling the funds that were donated and how would these funds be disbursed?
- Vongayi Mufara suggested that the money be given to activists directly to make sure that the people who need the money got it.
- Nicolate also responded by saying that we need to make sure that there is accountability and as such it would be better to have a Trust established. A go-fund-me could be set up and that money could be poured into the trust
- Kingdom added that a Trust is regulated and is sustainable in the long run
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira explained that it would be better to deal with the activists directly as they had dealt with a leading solicitor in Zimbabwe along these lines in the past and had bad experience in the process. He also added that if we were to partner with another organisation that money might help people other than our intended beneficiaries.
- Mr Panyika Karimanzira also noted that some organisations in Zimbabwe are failing to meet the demand of the activists and some of the lawyers are being hounded by State agents themselves and as such it is up to us to provide an accountable system that every member has access to.
- Grace Makoni and Nomagugu Sibanda both reiterated that we could raise the money here in the UK and send it directly to the activists instead of sending via third parties.
- Olive Ruzvidzo added that it was better to deal with people directly as it would be unfair of us to ask another organisation to work for free in disbursing funds to activists for us.
- Kingdom warned that the work in raising and disbursing funds had to be sustainable going forward
- Delina commented that when they started communicating with the young activists, they decided to bring them together into one group whilst we are looking for a long- term solution that can benefit more people
- Mr Karimanzira also commented that we should see this as an opportunity to set up an arm of ROHR that specifically deals with mobilizing resources and supporting activists on the ground in Zimbabwe as opposed to the ad hoc manner in which we have been doing it so far. As such we need to set up a sub-committee that reports directly to the treasury.
- Kingdom noted that we need to streamline the help that we give so that this can be sustainable in the long run and the committee has to come up with proper parameters of engagement with activists
- Magadaline Moyo said that as an organisation we need to establish a system of raising money as this area is lacking.
- Silvanos Mudzvova also contributed by saying that as an organisation we can provide assistance in a practical way by providing food parcels for families as the ZLHR are already providing legal assistance as the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights are providing medical assistance
- Kingdom commented that giving cash to activists might present us with problems in the long run. He also noted that we needed to look at the emails that had come from the activists so that we could see how we can provide help as an organisation.
- He also noted that we need to look at case by case so that so that we can know how to help them.
- Olive Ruzvidzo suggested that maybe a committee be set up to work on fundraising for this new initiative
- It was suggested that there be a representative from each branch on the committee and that as the Chairperson for the UK Chapter Kingdom should also be part of that group so that he can be privy to their plans
Nominations for the Activists Welfare Fundraising Committee were made and the people voted into the committee are as follows:
The meeting gave this committee a week to come up with a framework.
Olive then suggested that perhaps each member in ROHR who was able could donate at least £10
Nicolate asked where the money that was being donated was going to be deposited. Was it going to be deposited in a separate account?
Kingdom responded by saying that all the money that was going to be donated should be deposited in the ROHR account but to be ring-fenced and accounted for separately.
It was noted that the UK Chapter Treasurer, Grace Makoni would be tracking all the money that was donated and keep a record of it.
Nomination for Secretary for Information for UK Chapter
Kingdom Mvumi brought it to attention of the meeting that a the portfoloio of Secretary for Information & Publicity in the Executive Committee of the UK Chapter was vacant and has been so for a long time. He proposed the nomination of someone to fill the vacancy.
He nominated Vongayi Mufara. The nomination was seconded by Panyika Karimanzira. The matter was put to a vote and Vongayi Mufara was elected unanimously.
As part of her duties, Vongayi Mufara will be responsible for the social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) with the assistance of the Information & Publicity sub-committee that was already in existence.
Vongayi Mufara will have the ultimate responsibility for the information and publicity function of the UK Chapter.
Meeting ended at 18:45hrs
With both agenda items having been exhausted, Kingdom Mmvumi declared the meeting closed at 18:45 hrs.
To view pictures taken at the event, follow this link.
By: Information & Publicity Department