21st February 2021
On Saturday the 20th February 2021 the Midlands Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held a zoom meeting. The meeting was chaired by Nicolate Gwati, the Chairperson of the branch. 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.
Minutes were compiled by Nomagugu Sibanda the Secretary of the branch.
Register of attendance
Nicolate Gwati, Nomagugu Sibanda, Marian Mangani, Lorraine Zakeyo, Olivia Chamboko, Grace Makoni, Noah Zvinavashe, Delina Mutyambizi, Shalom Zinzile Gunda, Sandra Chidemo, Blessing Goronga, Thabani Muleya Dube, Sheilla Mironga and Shingirayi Kandi.
Apologies: No apologies were received.
Meeting start 14:00hrs
- Welfare checks on members.
- Current state of affairs in Zimbabwe.
- Other UK Chapter branches’ activities
- Midlands branch project
- Current Midlands branch campaign(s)
- Any other business
- Welfare checks on members
The chairperson, Nicolate Gwati greeted everyone and acknowledged members of other branches and visitors who joined the meeting. Everyone confirmed to be well, keeping safe and adjusting to the new norm of living. The Treasurer, Grace Makoni reminded members of the need to wear ROHR Zimbabwe regalia during meetings and events. She recapped the ordering process. Thabani Muleya Dube, the Chairperson of Scotland branch advised the meeting of the vacancies in the South Branch Executive Committee.
- Current state of affairs in Zimbabwe
The chairperson, Nicolate Gwati greeted everyone and acknowledged members of other branches and visitors who joined the meeting. Everyone confirmed to be well, keeping safe and adjusting to the new norm of living
Nicolate – Mentioned the arrest of Allan Moyo, a 23-year-old University of Zimbabwe student activist who was arrested while exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech and languished in the Chikurubi Remand Prison for 75 days.
Nikki says she was tweeting as well as reposting tweets in the campaign to have Alan released from prison. He was finally released on the 20th of February 2021.
Nikki also highlighted the arrest of Makomborero Haruzivishe who has since been charged with kidnapping, criminal nuisance, inciting public violence and contravening COVID-19 restrictions.
The government of Zimbabwe is making unlawful arrests of Human Rights Activists and Political activists. Nikkie also spoke about the trending and shameful matter of the Vice President Kembo Mohadi, who has reportedly been using his office as a place for sexual activities which included married sub-ordinates. These were clear cases of abuse of power.
Nomagugu spoke about the arrest of 3 MDC Alliance members for patching up potholes in Mabvuku. She said that the arrest was uncalled for and unlawful.
Lorraine emphasised the positive side of the trio’s activities considering the poor state of roads in Zimbabwe. She said the trio needed praise but they were arrested because the government was shamed by their responsible action.
Marian spoke about the government being ill-prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite getting donations from the international institutional community, the government is not utilizing the donations effectively and, instead, is corruptly selling some of the donated material instead of distributing it for free.
Sheilla updated the members about 5 Journalists who were recently arrested at Temba Mliswa’s farm in Karoi. These journalists were conducting a youth development programme. The reporters were arrested whilst doing their jobs. This is in violation of their Constitutional rights. This illustrates that there is no respect for human rights in Zimbabwe.
Grace highlighted the Human rights violations against women who are still being abducted in Zimbabwe. She also highlighted that the arrest of Alan Moyo was unlawful, considering his age and she feels the court must have considered that he is a student fighting for better future.
Shalom spoke about the 12 MDC members who were recently arrested when they were arranging a funeral for a member. They were charged with breaking COVID-19 rules even though they were less than the maximum allowed (30) at funerals. This was a clear case of selective application and hence abuse of the law.
Delina dwelt on the arrest of political activists and human rights activists such as Fadzayi Mahere, Job Sikhala, Cecilia Chimbiri and many more. This highlights the vindictiveness of the government of Zimbabwe and the abuse of the law as a tool to silence the opposition. Shingirirayi dwelt on the arrest of Hopewell Chin’ono’s many times and how our campaigns helped bring the matter to international attention. He said that as activist should never tire of campaigning against human rights violations. He said we should continue to incorporate Hopewell Chin’ono’s #DemLoot theme and song in some of our campaigns.
Olivia also suggested that we should organise campaigns as events are occurring in Zimbabwe and be part of the current conversation so to speak. She spoke about the continued disappointing deterioration of public health in hospitals during COVID-19.
Thabani stressed the need to continue the fight against human rights violations so that the situation in Zimbabwe remains in the spotlight internationally. She also bemoaned the abuse of women by the government of Zimbabwe and members of ZANU-PF.
Noah spoke about how terrible these violations and abductions are. He says we should campaign and fight strongly if we are hoping to get support from the international community.
Nikki highlighted that the EU is aware of the violations that are occurring in Zimbabwe and she read a quote from the statement released by the EU on the 17th of February 2021. See excerpt below:-
‘………………. In light of its continuing concerns, the EU has reviewed its restrictive measures, recalling their purpose to encourage a demonstrable, genuine, and long-term commitment by the Zimbabwean authorities to respect and uphold human rights and the rule of law. The EU has decided to renew its arms embargo and to maintain a targeted asset freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, taking into account the situation in Zimbabwe, including the continuing need to investigate the role of security force actors in human rights abuses. The restrictive measures against three individuals continue to be suspended. The EU will continue to closely follow developments, with a particular attention to the human rights situation, and recalls its readiness to review and adapt the whole range of its policies accordingly.’
She encouraged all members to utilise all of the ROHR platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Website, Blog, YouTube, Flickr etc) to tell the sad story of ongoing human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
- Other UK Chapter branches activities
North Branch have 1000 masks that they are organising to donate to Harare Hospital maternity ward as there is a severe shortage of PPE.
Scotland Branch have been donating towards the Epworth kitchen that provides food to the Epworth community.
South branch is working on an Education project to raise money for school fees for Primary School children in Zimbabwe.
Midlands Branch is raising money to buy sunscreen for the Albino community in Highfield.
- Current Midlands branch campaign(s)
The Midlands branch is compiling statistics with a view to organizing a campaign that will highlight the arbitrary arrest and incarceration of innocent Zimbabwean citizens by the government of Zimbabwe on spurious charges.
- Any Other Business
We as members agreed on a campaign that is open to all members from all Branches highlighting the ongoing Human Rights Violations in Zimbabwe. Nikki put an emphasis on activism for effective results and she also said activism must be ongoing.
The Chairperson extended thanks to everyone who was able to come to the meeting and mentioned that the next meeting will soon be announced.
All agenda items of the Zoom meeting having been exhausted, Nikki declared the meeting closed at 1630hrs.
To view pictures taken at the event, follow this link.
By: Information & Publicity Department