18th October 2020
On Saturday 17th of October 2020, the North Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights(ROHR) Zimbabwe held a meeting via Zoom Platform. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that the branch observes lockdown guidelines and minimise face to face gatherings, hence the use of the Zoom platform. The meeting was chaired by Branch Vice-Chairman Vengai Mutsawu.
Register of Attendance
Vengai Mutsawu (Vice Chairperson – North Branch), Delina Mutyambizi (North Branch), Estery Dhliwayo (Treasurer – North Branch), Panyika Karimanzira (North Branch), Nontokozo Malaba Ncube(Committee Member-North Branch), Magadaline Moyo (Fundraiser – North Branch), Harriet Ndlovu (Scotland Branch), Vongayi Mufara (Scotland Branch), Alvina Chibhamu (Scotland Branch), Lindah Chenyama (Scotland Branch), Nicolate Gwati (Chairperson – UK Chapter) Blessing Goronga (Midlands Branch), Grace Makoni(Treasurer – UK Chapter), Mpho Kimberly Ndhlovu – North Branch)
Apologies: Farai Nhakaniso (Chairperson – North Branch), Karen Nhakaniso (Secretary – North Branch)
Minutes were taken by Estery Dhliwayo
- Update on Zimbabwe Situation
- ROHR UK National Campaigns
Mr Vengai Mutsawu commenced the meeting at 1400hrs with salutations and introductions. Visiting members were asked to introduce themselves and their respective branches.
- Update on Zimbabwe Situation
Panyika Karimanzira gave a rundown of current human rights violation cases in Zimbabwe.
Vengai Mutsawu started by giving an update on the current situation in Zimbabwe. The human rights situation continues to deteriorate; police brutality is on the rise. He gave an account of a recent case whereby the police in Harare stopped a bus carrying children, women and elderly passengers (it is still unclear why it was stopped) and throwing tear gas canisters into the bus with passengers onboard, resulting in the vulnerable passengers jumping out through the windows for their own safety. Seven police officers are reported to have been arrested after this incident.
Nontokozo Malaba Ncube spoke about the water situation in Bulawayo, which is a health hazard; the water is dirty and untreated. There are reports of deaths from waterborne diseases as a result. The situation is ongoing and there are fears of more people going to die as a result.
The new Health Minister who is also the Vice President of Zimbabwe is believed to be targeting human rights organisations who are protesting the appalling water and health situation.
Nicolate Gwati concurred. She went on to cite other water sanitation concerns in Harare and an increase in water borne diseases in the capital. She also mentioned the unlawful arrest ofstudent union activist Tafadzwa Ngadziore who was only released from prison after 30 days. She also mentioned the plight of children not receiving education due to teachers being on strike because of poor remuneration.
Delina Mutyambizi spoke about doctors who were humiliated by the Vice President cum Minister of Health and were made to apologise after going on strike for poor working conditions. She bemoaned the dilapidated state of the health sector. She also mentioned the students who went to protest at the Impala Car Rental following revelations that Impala Car Rental vehicles were being used in the abductions of human rights activists. The students are said to have been arrested following the demonstration. Members were tasked to look into the possibility of starting a campaign for the release of the students.
Vengai suggested that, as an organisation we need to put more effort in the ongoing mobilisation of resources to help those who cannot afford bail fees and legal representation.
There are so many violations of human rights, citizens are being deprived from freedom of even to travel. Terrence Manjengwa, a political activist was arrested, is still in prison and has been refused bail. Joana Mamombe is another example of mental health human rights violations, she was sent to maximum prison with no adequate treatment.
The North branch is to look into raising funds to drill boreholes in Zimbabwe in support of water and sanitation programmes. This fundraising initiative will also help people in the UK who are struggling to make ends meet by providing food parcels and clothing. It was suggested that we can fundraise through social media and also by appealing directly to identified potential donors.
There is an ongoing campaign (#JusticeForTapiwaMakore) recently started by the Scotland branch that all members were urged to participate in until justice is served. Vongayi Mufara mentioned another child that was has been reported missing in Murehwa for a month. DNA results of another child who was murdered for ritual purposes are still pending. It is believed that more of such rituals are happening in Zvishavane in particular in the rest of Zimbabwe in general.
The North branch has been tasked to make a follow up of this case, report any updates and find more information on the ritual killings so that we can take further action, including initiatives to bring the cases to the limelight. We need to find out what the government is doing about it and how this barbaric practice can be brought to an end.
ROHR Zimbabwe to write a letter to the Information Minister asking him to take steps to make sure the ritual killings are publicised.
Members were urged to promote the current ongoing ROHR Zimbabwe campaigns namely the #BlackHistoryMonth campaign, #MeetYourMP campaign etc., which aim to put pressure on the Zimbabwean Government to uphold human rights. Scotland branch is doing very well with the campaigns and North branch has been encouraged to follow suit.
3. Any other Business
Members were reminded to update their subscriptions.
All agenda items and any other business having been exhausted, Vengai Mutsawu concluded the meeting and declared it closed at 1550hrs.
To view pictures taken at the event, follow the link below; –https://www.flickr.com/photos/rohr_zimbabwe__manchester/albums/72157716508920422
By: Information & Publicity Department