5th February 2021

On Saturday 23rd of January, 2021 the North Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held their monthly meeting on the Zoom platform from 14:00 hrs to 15:30 hrs. Vice Chairperson Vengai Mutsawu chaired the meeting.
Minutes were compiled by Karen Nhakaniso (North Branch Secretary)

Vengai Mutsawu (North Branch Vice Chairperson), Nontokozo Malaba Ncube (North Branch Committee Member), Karen Nhakaniso (North Branch Secretary), Panyika Karimanzira, Estery Dhliwayo (North Branch Treasurer), Thabani Muleya –nee- Dube, Omega Mpofu, Magadaline Moyo (North Branch Fundraiser), Petronella Mahachi (North Branch Info and Publicity Secretary), Laina Murape, Sheila Mironga.

Delina Mutyambizi (Travelling from work)
Farai Nhakaniso (North Branch Chairperson)

Meeting Agenda:
1. Update on human rights situation in Zimbabwe
2. Review of North Branch Committee
3. Opening of Branch Account
4. Campaigns

Update on human rights situation in Zimbabwe
Mr Panyika Karimanzira gave an update on activities on the ground in Zimbabwe. There have been many arrests of activists and political figures across the country; from Hopewell Chin’ono, Job Sikhala, Allan Moyo and Fadzayi Mahere just to mention a few. The victimization of activists through lawfare and the violations of human rights is ongoing. The Zimbabwe government is making unlawful arrests of human rights activists and political activists as a way of suppressing any voice of dissent.
The Covid-19 pandemic is presenting a further challenge. The government of Zimbabwe is offering no support for citizens despite receiving millions of US Dollars from international institutional donor funds for the purpose of fighting the pandemic. Most, if not all of the funds found their way into the pockets of the political elite, especially the Emmerson Mnangagwa family and close associates. The health delivery system has always been in dire straits for decades now. Due to the added pressure brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the hospitals simply cannot cope.  There are credible reports and evidence of people dying in hospital car parks whilst awaiting to be attended to. It is difficult to get medical attention.
There is one report of a man connected to the Mutsvangwa family who stole a ventilator from Parirenyatwa Hospital to use at his home. He eventually succumbed to the virus.
The political elite are not spared either. The virus is not discriminating on the basis of status.
The education system is similarly in dire straits. The infrastructure is in a state of disrepair. Teachers have not been attending class due to economic incapacitation.  Online access to lessons is limited to a minuscule proportion of the student / pupil population. Children in the rural areas are the worst affected and the form the bulk of the school going population.
Vengai Mutsawu added that the unlawful arrests are gross violations of human rights. He gave the example of Hopewell Chin’ono who is in detention despite being charged with a crime of was struck off the statutes some time back. His arrest and that of Fadzai Mahere and possibly a few others stem from their coverage of an incident in which a woman carrying a baby on her back was indiscrimately beaten up by the Police and her baby was struck on the head by a baton stick. The baby is said to have died. The government has accused Fadzayi and Hopewell of spreading “falsehoods”. This is because they used social media to make the international community aware of this sad incident which highlights the insensitivity of the government of Zimbabwe.
The regime is seeking to silence activists through arrests.
Karen will share a link to an Aljazeera report that has looked at these unlawful arrests.

Review of Committee Members
Nontokozo Malaba Ncube stressed the importance of members to communicating amongst themselves regularly.
In our branch meeting in February 2020, committee members were appointed on 6-month tenures. It was therefore necessary for a more substantive committee to be put in place.
Vengai Mutsawu went through the current committee, which is as follows;-
Chairperson – Farai Nhakaniso
Vice Chairperson- Vengai Mutsawu
Secretary- Karen Nhakaniso
Organising Secretary – Pauline Makuwere
Information and Publicity – Petronella Mahachi
Treasurer – Estery Dhliwayo
Fundraiser – Magadaline Moyo
Committee Member – Nontokozo Malaba Ncube

Nominations and voting were opened to the floor. A new Executive Committee of the branch was elected as follows;-

New Committee (w.e.f. 23.01.2021:
Chairperson – Vengai Mutsawu
Vice Chairperson – Nontokozo Malaba Ncube
Secretary – Karen Nhakaniso
Information and Publicity Seretary – Petronella Mahachi
Organising Secretary – Estery Dhliwayo
Treasurer – Omega Mpofu
Fundraiser – Magadaline Moyo
Committee Member – to be filled.

With regards to attendance, it is important that members attend meetings. Revisiting the Flickr account will show how the North branch was a vibrant branch that had large numbers. It was the flagship of the UK chapter and will aim to reach that level again.
It would be good to have the roles and responsibilities of each portfolio in the executive committee clearly spelt out so that everyone is aware what their position entails. The UK Chapter is organising workshops to train members. In the meantime, Mr Panyika Karimanzira will send this information to each portfolio holder via email.

Opening of Branch Account
Delina Mutyambizi, the Board member leading this task is not yet in the meeting as she is travelling from work. Mr Panyika Karimanzira did not have an update on this. Mr Karimanzira wants us to note that the current bank account that is being used by the UK Chapter is the North Branch (formerly Manchester Branch) account. The former Liverpool Account is also lying idle. It is an old account with a passbook that is only updated when you walk into the bank branch. This makes it difficult as it does not have online access. Mr Karimanzira advised that we wait for an update from Delina Mutyambizi. This account is to keep fundraising funds.
There are other online banks such as Monzo and CashPlus that we could consider using. It might be something to investigate.
Vengai asked Treasurer to try and open an account like this to see if we can use that in the meantime. Try opening in the organisation’s name first.

Campaigns for the Branch
Nontokozo Malaba Ncube gave a briefing on the ongoing campaigns and encouraged members to take part to raise awareness of human rights violations in Zimbabwe. For example, #MeetYourMP and
#NoToMiscarriageOfJustice are ongoing as these are issues that are affecting our country on an ongoing basis.
Karen Nhakaniso asked the branch to take a cue from the UK Chapter Chairperson, Nicolate who has started a current affairs video campaign. Members were encouraged to make their campaign videos and submit them to the UK Chapter Secretary- Alvina Chibhamu or the UK Chapter Chairperson, Nicolate Gwati for publication.

After all agenda items and other business had been exhausted, Vengai Mutsawu declared the meeting closed at 15:30hrs

To view pictures taken at the event, click here or follow the link below; –

By: Information & Publicity Department