22nd November 2020
On Saturday the 21st of November 2020 the Midlands Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held a zoom meeting. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary for the branch, Nomagugu Sibanda.
Due to the current situation of Pandemic Covid-19 induced lockdown in England, the members are unable to hold physical meetings at the usual venue.
Register of attendance
Nicolate Gwati, Nomagugu Sibanda, Lilian Nleya, Marian Mangani, Maruwiza Nkhambala, Kimberley Ndlovu, Mavis Harrison, Grace Makoni, Daisy Mandianike, Thabani Muleya Dube, Vengai Mutsawu, Laina Murape, Sheilla Mironga and Shingirayi Kandi.
Tsungirai Kahiya (Acting Information and Publicity Secretary)
Meeting start 14:00hrs
- Introductions and welfare check
- Feedback from each department on what has been achieved in 2020
- The recent Human Rights Violations in Zimbabwe
- Membership renewals
- Any other business
1. Introductions and welfare check
Nomagugu Sibanda opened the meeting at 1400hrs with a prayer. She then went on to acknowledge all those who joined this zoom meeting and ask after each’s welfare.
Everyone confirmed to be well, keeping safe and adjusting to “the new normal” way of living. She also took the chance to thank everyone who contributed to the recent funeral of one of the branch members – Edward Murota who succumbed to Covid-19.
2. Feedback from each department on what has been achieved in 2020
- Marian Mangani (Fundraiser) acknowledged not much was achieved in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she is hopeful that 2021 will be better and different in terms of opportunities to raise funds.
- Lilian Nleya (Organising Secretary) stated that, at branch level, she had tried to get a few campaigns off the ground with little success as a direct result of the Covid-19 environment. She also hopes that 2021 would be a better year.
- Tsungirayi Kahiya (Acting Information and Publicity Secretary) sent her feedback in absentia as follows; “2020 has been a challenging year due to the Corona Virus pandemic to which the Midlands branch lost two members, namely Edward Murota and Evelyn Kuwaza both of whom will be greatly missed. Demonstrations, meetings and all plans of 2020 were affected due to lock down restrictions and we resorted to holding branch meetings online”.
- Sheilla Mironga encouraged everyone to continue their activism and embrace the idea of virtual meetings since we do not know when this pandemic will end.
- Grace Makoni suggested planning for 2021 and adjust accordingly as the year goes since we are uncertain of the future.
- Thabani Muleya Dube added that we should learn to plan according to what is happening now, we should open our eyes and ears and be receptive to new methods of working, including on fundraising and planning. She also thought it good to plan ahead and have major guidelines and tweak them as we go along.
- Recent human rights violations in Zimbabwe
- Nomagugu Sibanda spoke about the release of Hopewell Chin’ono after being rearrested for breaking his bail conditions. Clearly his human rights are being violated because his bail conditions state that he is banned from using social media.
- Vengai Mutsawu mentioned that Hopewell was released on the 20th November 2020 and “no tweeting on social media* has been added to his bail conditions which is a violation of his human rights.
- Grace Makoni said Hopewell’s job entails what he is being accused of which clearly confirms that in Zimbabwe there is no rule of law. She says we should raise our voices and say no to miscarriage of justice.
- Marian Mangani pointed out that, Hopewell’s case aside, there is still a lot to campaign for. She gave the example of the crumbling education system in the country which has dramatically deteriorated after teachers refused to return to work over poor remuneration working conditions.
- Nomagugu Sibanda mentioned that government failed to adequately prepare for schools to open, as there is poor sanitation including acute water shortages and shortages of toilets.
- Grace Makoni mentioned that most students from Government schools did not go to school for most of 2020 but the Government says they should proceed to the next grade even though it is clear that they have been set back by the lockdown.
- Kimberly Ndlovu mentioned the forgotten Chimanimani victims of the residents 2019 cyclone Idai that destroyed houses and the government promised to build them. These people were placed at camps made of tents and nothing has been done since. This highlights the shortages of basic needs like shelter and the violation of human rights.
- Grace Makoni said that she is in contact with some people at the camp. She suggested that we step in and help them. She has also been in touch with the Red Cross. She will communicate with them again to get the wheels in motion.
- Nicolate Gwati suggested that the Chimanimani situation be dealt with as a matter of urgency since most of them have been in these camps for almost a year. We as an organisation should raise awareness about the situations on the ground.
- Sheilla Mironga suggested that we re-post the Chimanimani pictures on social media as a reminder of what happened. She proposed we post as many pictures as possible on Facebook and other social media platforms.
- Vengai Mutsawu suggested that we write letters to organisations like Red Cross and United Nations to highlight what is still happening in the Chimanimani area.
- Nomagugu Sibanda highlighted the effects of corruption on the Emergency services. She gave the example of the recent road traffic accident in Harare which claimed 4 lives and no ambulance or fire brigade arrived on time to assist.
- Marian Mangani said we should keep campaigning because nothing has changed in Zimbabwe.
- Membership renewal
Nomagugu Sibanda reminded members to renew their membership as the year was coming to an end.
- Other business
- Nicolate Gwati advised the meeting that The UK Chapter executive committee had recently agreed that each branch of the UK Chapter must have a project they do each year to assist people in Zimbabwe. She encouraged members to act more not just speak.
- Marian Mangani suggested that we assist the Highfield Albino community in buying sun creams. She will find out more on how we can assist.
- Vengai Mutsawu reported that the North Branch has embarked on a borehole project and it is going quite well.
- Shingirirai Kandi suggested that we use one bank account as an organisation to save towards the projects that we want to do.
- As a branch we all agreed on the project of helping the Highfield Albino community and that Marian Mangani will lead the project.
With all items on the agenda having been exhausted, Nomagugu Sibanda declared the meeting closed at 15:30.
Marian Mangani led the closing prayer.
To view pictures taken at the event, click here.
By: Information & Publicity Department