29th March 2021
On Sunday 28th of March 2021, the North Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held their monthly meeting on Zoom platform from 1410hrs to 1600hrs. The meeting was chaired by Vengai Mutsawu (North Branch Chairperson).
Minutes were compiled by Petronella Mahachi
Register of attendance
Vengai Mutsawu (North Branch Chairman), Nontokozo Malaba Ncube (North Branch Vice Chairperson), Petronella Mahachi (North Branch Information & Publicity Secretary), Panyika Karimanzira, Delina Mutyambizi, Nicolate Gwati, Marvis Harrison Tshuma and Margaret Tashayawedu.
Estery Dhilwayo (North Branch Organising Secretary) and Omega Mpofu (North Branch Treasurer)
Introduction: – Welcome by Chairman and vote of thanks to all attendees.
Condolences to Margaret Tashayawedu on the loss of her father recently.
The previous meeting resolutions were read by Vengai Mutsawu and passed as correct record by Nontokozo Malaba Ncube seconded by Delina Mutyambizi. Acknowledgement was given to the donation of 1000 face masks from Estery Dhilwayo to be donated to Harare Hospital Maternity Ward.
1. Zimbabwe situation update
Delina gave an account about political activists who continue to be persecuted. Three MDC Officials held a meeting with less than 30 people and were arrested yet ZANU-PF can hold meetings whenever and wherever they want and can exceed 50 people.
Arbitrary arrests are still happening, Takudzwa was released yesterday. Makomborero and Joana are still in Jail. The magistrates are using every excuse to keep them in Jail. They are given stiff punishment for doing something that is within their constitutional rights, yet ZANU-PF can do everything without consequences.
Vengai raised the case of Tapiwa Makore who was finally laid to rest after 7 months. There is still no justice made for the brutal murder of Tapiwa. Nicolate confirmed he was buried without his head. We still need to seek justice for this young boy. The family refused to accept the head presented to them because they need a DNA test done outside the country. The family refused a state funeral what they really needed was the state help them with a DNA test outside the country. The delay of the burial was also because the family and the police had to agree to send the head abroad.
Tapiwa’s uncle, Thanks Makore was implicated in this murder. He works for the American Embassy in Harare. Thanks Makore should lose his job at the US embassy. Two of his children also supposedly work at the embassy. A follow up of the progress of the case is needed even though the case is still in the hands of the courts. There had not been any legal proceedings carried out on the two still in custody. An alternative was to approach the US embassy for a suspension of Thanks Makore pending investigations.
Mr Panyika Karimanzira stated that we should not put a lot of weight on the fact that the case is still in the courts considering that Zimbabwe’s is a captured judiciary. We should make a lot of noise about it. He cannot carry on life as normal. We need to raise our voice. The judiciary system keeps letting us down. We should address the Ministry of Justice about the fact that there has not been progress in the case. There has not been any justice for this boy buried without a head. We need to highlight the inconsistencies within the judiciary system. The letter to the embassy must highlight how a murder suspect is given bail whilst young activists exercising their constitutional rights can be detained for months.
The meeting agreed to approach the Ministry of Justice and approach the US embassy so that they know we are aware of the fact that Thanks Makore is their employee. The embassy will then take their appropriate action. Delina added further, once the US embassy realises they are being approached by Human Rights organisations they may act. Approaching the Ministry of Justice will also be on the record although we do not expect much justice to come from there. Even the police officers that were assigned to go to Damafalls for investigations got drunk instead of doing their work on this case.
1.1 A letter to the judiciary (Ministry of Justice)
1.2 Letter to US embassy stating why we think there is no justice in employing someone involved in a murder case.
Nicolate stated how social media can help to spread the word. The letters will be circulated on social media tagging the relevant accounts for example, US embassy, Ministry of Justice, Nick Mangwana etc.
1.3 Branch Secretary and UK Chapter Secretary to write the letters. Delina will speak to North branch secretary and email UK Chapter Chairperson.
Delina Mutyambizi also stated that covid-19 vaccination was no longer in the hands of the government but in the hands of ZANU-PF. You will find a lot of people in ZANU-PF regalia wherever the vaccinations are taking place. ZANU-PF is looking ahead to 2023 elections so they can say, we gave you vaccines, we gave you maize etc. when its taxpayer’s money. It is the usual propaganda. We are heading towards a situation whereby if you do not have a ZANU-PF membership card you will not get the vaccination.
Mr Panyika Karimanzira stated that we need to keep an eye on the Chilonga community, abductions going on in that area.
We have the “Why we are human rights activists” campaign that is going on now. Members are encouraged to participate in campaigns and to be consistent. The onus is on us to fight for change in Zimbabwe, we cannot fight against corruption without speaking up.
The Chairman reiterated that North Branch is lacking on commitment especially on campaigns. Activism should come from the heart and desire to fight for change we want. We should keep on working as a team.
3. Branch Bank Account
The meeting agreed to use the account of Mr Vengai Mutsawu as a temporary account whilst waiting to open the branch bank account. The Treasurer will be involved and account for all transactions.
4. Any other business
Vacancies: – The branch decided to fill up the post of Vice Secretary and Vice Organising Secretary.
Margaret Tashayawedu was voted to be the branch Vice Secretary.
Marvis Harrison was voted for the branch Vice Organising Secretary.
The meeting resolved to continue assisting Noxolo Maphosa financially and morally. (NB:- Noxolo is a Zimbabwean young woman, who escaped and is now living in South Africa, following torture, harassment and persecution by Zimbabwean state agents).
The meeting also resolved to further assist Noxolo by approaching Amnesty International South Africa.
Simultaneously, it was also agreed that ROHR will also approach Amnesty International South Africa about Tawanda Muchehiwa who skipped the border into South Africa after episodes of torture at the hands of Zimbabwean state security agents.
It was also agreed that Delina would make a follow-up with Karen, who was already assigned to write a referral letter for Noxolo and 9 others to Amnesty International. It was concluded that Delina would make a follow up with Karen.
On the 24th of February 2021, Nontokozo wrote a letter to Noxolo. She only just received a reply on the 23rd of March from Mzaca, who advised that they had phone challenges and could not communicate. She spoke to Noxolo through Mzaca. Noxolo advised that she would respond to the letter.
All agenda items and any other business having been exhausted, Vengai Mutsawu thanked everyone for attending and declared the meeting closed at 1555hrs.
To view pictures taken at the event, follow this link.
By: Information & Publicity Department