14th February 2021
On Saturday 13th of February 2021, the North Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held their monthly meeting on Zoom platform. The meeting was chaired by Vengai Mutsawu, the Chairperson for North Branch.
Minutes were compiled by Vengai Mutsawu.
Register of attendance:
Vengai Mutsawu (North Branch Chairperson), Nontokozo Malaba Ncube (North Branch Vice Chairperson), Karen Nhakaniso (North Branch Secretary), Estery Dhliwayo (North Branch Organising Secretary), Petronella Mahachi (North Branch Information & Publicity Secretary), Delina Mutyambizi, Nicolate Gwati, Olivia Chamboko, Thabani Muleya Dube, Harriet Ndlovu, Abygail Makope.
No apologies were received.
- Current updates on Zimbabwe human rights situation
- Opening of Branch bank account-Feedback
- Campaigns; (New-Lack of hospital beds and medical access during the COVID-19 19 pandemic, on-going campaigns)
- Branch Projects; (Short term-Provision of PPE to the vulnerable people in Zimbabwe, Long term project: Borehole Drilling in Bulawayo)
Current updates on Zimbabwe human rights situation
Vengai gave an update on the case of Henrietta Rushwaya, who was caught at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International airport smuggling 6kgs of Gold to Dubai last year. After her arrest, Henrietta was immediately suspended from her job as President of Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) until the case is finalised. Recently, after the executive meeting the ZMF council reinstated Henrietta to her position as president of the federation. The council’s reasons are that Henrietta is innocent until proven guilty. This clearly exposes how corrupt this government is and how the judiciary system has been captured. Here we have a woman who committed a very serious offence yet the judiciary set her free and she got her job back before the case is finalised.
Thabani spoke of a similar case highlighting the corruption and fractured judiciary system of the Zimbabwean government. Former Labour &Social Welfare Minister, Petronella Kagonye, was arrested on allegations of fraud. She had on several occasions been involved in land grabbing scandals in the Goromonzi area and she is believed to fraudulently own six farms. She was arrested for illegally selling land, but upon being brought to court, she was not even handcuffed or in leg irons, a stark contrast to what is normally seen when members of opposition political parties are arrested. Corruption and injustice are the characteristics of this regime.
Similarly, Vengai recounted the arrest of Temba Mliswa, who was brought to court walking like a free man, not in handcuffs or leg irons. Had the arrest been that of an activist, he would have been denied bail and thrown into maximum prison for simply exposing corrupt activities of the government.
Nontokozo talked about the problem of unavailability of clean water and water to flash toilets especially in this COVID-19 era. The effects of this are widespread leaving citizens exposed to so many diseases. She also mentioned the inaccessibility of covid19 centres to give immediate help to those infected in Bulawayo. People can easily spread the virus because of inadequacies to deal with the pandemic.
Delina added an account of a mental health hospital whose patients use the river for bathing. Patients bath along the riverbank in an open space, exposing themselves to the public. This story was reported by Investigative Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Nicolate gave an update on the continued incarceration of Alan Moyo in a maximum prison for speaking up about economic hardships and the poor governance of Emmerson Mnangagwa. Alan Moyo has been in prison for 51 days. Nicolate encouraged activists to continue speaking out against this injustice. She also raised the matter of a woman who was arrested and detained in custody together with her two very young children for not wearing masks. The woman should have just been fined rather than being locked up together with the kids.
Opening of branch bank account – Feedback.
It was agreed that the bank account will be opened after the lockdown regulations are relaxed. At the moment banks are not opening new accounts because of the covid19 pandemic.
New campaign – Lack of hospital beds and medical access during the COVID-19 19 pandemic.
All ROHR members are encouraged to participate in the campaign under the hashtags; #HospitalCrisisInZimbabweDuringThePandemic, #MedicalCrisisInZimbabweDuringThePandemic, #SaveLivesInZimbabwe, #SaveThePeopleOfZimbabwe, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, #DemLoot.
Scotch carts and wheelbarrows are being used to ferry patients to hospitals in critical situations, whilst government officials are busy looting public funds. No hospital improvement, No medication and No equipment because of looting and corruption.
Nontokozo highlighted that this campaign should be treated as a matter of urgency. Contributions to this campaign should be sent to the secretary immediately. This campaign will help to save lives.
Nicolate added that we should respond to campaigns promptly whilst the violation has just started for our voices to be heard and action taken immediately. Effective campaign should be launched whilst the issue is happening.
Members were reminded to take part in the campaigns already launched.
Short term project – Provision of PPE to vulnerable people in Zimbabwe.
Panel agreed to start sending PPE donations to Harare hospital maternity ward. Estery Dhliwayo donated 1000 masks to the branch for this project and she volunteered to send masks to Zimbabwe. Delina suggested it may be cheaper to buy PPE in Zimbabwe than to ship from the UK. She is going to make an enquiry through Hopewell Chin’ono, to see if he can recommend a reputable supplier in Zimbabwe. Nicolate assured us that there are people on the ground to the distribution of PPE. Mr Panyika Karimanzira will liaise with Vengai Mutsawu to ensure this distribution will run smoothly in Zimbabwe.
Long term project – Borehole drilling in Bulawayo
Nontokozo Malaba Ncube will provide us with 3 more quotations. We should start campaigning and fundraising for these projects now. No need to wait for a bank account to be opened for fund raising to start.
Delina encouraged all members of ROHR UK Chapter to do more to help people back home whose human rights are being violated every day. We should support them through campaigns and fight until there is respect for human rights in Zimbabwe.
After all items on the agenda and AOB were exhausted, Vengai Mutsawu declared the meeting closed at 1545hrs.
By: Information & Publicity Department