28th March 2021

On Saturday the 27th ofMarch 2021, the Scotland Branch of the UK Chapter of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe held a meeting via zoom. Harriet Ndlovu (Treasurer) chaired the meeting.

The minutes were taken and compiled by Alvina Chibhamu (Chairperson).

Register of attendance
Alvina Chibhamu, Olivia Chamboko (Vice-Chairperson), Thenjiwe Ndlovu (Information & Publicity Secretary), Masciline Mzondiwa (Secretary), Harriet Ndlovu, Vongayi Mufara (Organising Secretary). Guests from other branches were Mr Panyika Karimanzira, Margret Tashayawedu, Thabani Muleya Dube, Daisy Mandiyanike, Delina Mutyambizi and Sheilla Mironga.

No apologies were received.

Welcome Remarks
The meeting was chaired by Harriet Ndlovu who started the meeting at 1410hrs and asked Thenjiwe to open with a prayer before going into the main agenda. She welcomed all that joined us from other branches.

1. Adoption of minutes of previous meeting
2. Matters arising from previous meeting
3. Updates on Human Rights Violations in Zimbabwe
4. Campaign- Independence Day(We are not independent)
5. Finance Update
6. Any other business.

1. Adoption of minutes of previous meeting

Minutes Approval
Masciline mentioned an amendment on the minutes of last month- which was read out as “Olivia Chamboko remains Branch Vice- chairperson – she had to give up her Fundraiser position as we were advised one cannot hold more than one position in the same committee”. She proceeded to call for the adoption of minutes with the amendments and they were approved and were adopted as a true record.

2. Matters arising from previous meeting
Alvina raised the issue of the incomplete yearly calendar for the Scotland Branch as agreed. She called for contributions from the members and as nothing was forthcoming, it was agreed that this will be continued within the Committee.

3. Update of the human rights violations
Vongayi and Masciline were recording these for the month of March, and they reported the following;
26thFebruary; continued arbitrary arrests i.e.,ZINASU students arrested outside of court- Takudzwa Ngadziore, Tinashe Chiriga etc.
3rd March; Joanna Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri were arrested just ahead of Womens’ day ostensibly for violating Covid-19 lockdown rules as a deterrent to any action. They remain in prison to date. Takudzwa was released on bail.
3rd March; Journalist also arrested outside of Harare Magistrate court as they denounced the arrest of activists.
6th March; in a politically motivated incident, MDC Alliance top politician Thabitha Khumalo was attacked by ZanuPF agents and security forces.
20th March; MDC alliance youth assembly members were arrested in Chivi.
22nd March; Underpaid teachers refusing to go back into schools and will only return once their employer-the government- increase their pay.
24th March; pro-democracy campaigners were arrested by the Zimbabwe Republic police (ZRP) on International Women’s day for protesting.
24th March; harrowing video circulating of woman being harassed by mahwindi (commuter drivers) no one seemed to come to her rescue. Just one example of what the ordinary citizen experiences daily.
Alvina added the ARTUZ President “5million voices for 5million learners campaign” #SaveOurEducationZW by Obert Masaraure. Scotland branch recycled their #RightToEducationZimbabwe campaign done in December which was still relevant. She encouraged anyone to do that if suitable, resuscitate or perpetuate past campaigns to suit current situations.

Thabani commended Alvina for being admitted to the Board of the Scottish Refugee Council and added the Domboramwari case of mother who had a still birth due to negligence. She lamented the decline in standards of care as she recalled back in her day Nursing was a calling. They held stringent interviews and nursing was a desirable, top notch profession which is in stark contrast to nowadays when care seemsto be out of the window. Healthcare professionals are finding themselves short staffed and under pressure. The government continues to be nonchalant about the situation. Delina reported the subsequent death of said mother. She commended activists for being vigilant in picking up these human rights abuses.

Olivia spoke of the displacement of the Chilonga villagers by the government through Dendairy farm owner who happens to be a Chinese businessman, a clear violation of the constitution and their human rights. Chilonga has seen a rise in abductions and residents are living in fear and harassment as the oppressors want to take over their land forcibly.

Vongayi added the issue of Nick Mangwana intimidating residents at gunpoint claiming he had been allocated the farm by the government. The most shocking is the fact he is openly boasting that he is untouchable and he is above the law. Delina confirmed seeing reports of this on twitter, as she recalls Stanford Biti tweeting about it. Mangwana is a British citizen yet he is in Zimbabwe intimidating ordinary citizens because he is in power- we should make it known here and make it viral. This should add value to the petition which has done very well.

Delina also gave an update on the #JusticeForTapiwaMakore case; family refused government assistance due to the suspected involvement of a senior government official (s).Let us keep our ears to the ground and continue speaking out, they were threatening to come up with a command burial. It’s now 7months on and they have only just got DNA results back.

Sheila is grateful for the support and guidance, as their branch grows; they are becoming more and more confident in what they are doing. She raised the issue of a man in Bulawayo who killed his wife over a drink. Violence against women has gone out of hand, it is on the increase and the government does nothing. Issues keep being swept under the carpet as they cannot take their cases anywhere. The police are now in the pockets of whoever can pay to get out of their crime. The culture of corruption has trickled down from the police right to the ends of children in the streets asking for bribes if you so much as ask for mere directions to get somewhere.

Mr Panyika Karimanzira was afforded a chance to speak. He commended the efforts of the previous speakers and added that the Chilonga one would be one to watch, the government appears to be retreating but we must be vigilant and watch the space, they will come back more forceful. There are already indications of that happening as we have heard reports of abductions and harassment in the regions. These are sure signs that the government will come back more forceful. The continued persecution of student and labour leaders has sadly become the order of the day and will remain so for as long as we do not have enough people coming on board to fight for human rights with poor perceptions of the ordinary persons thinking it is somebody else’s responsibility to speak out.

4. Campaign –Zimbabwe Independence Day (We are not independent)
Alvina announced the branch’s intention to hold a campaign geared towards the Independence Day of Zimbabwe seeing as we are clearly not independent. She invited suggestions from the panel for this campaign. Vongayi suggested lobbying popular platforms such as ZimEye, ZimboLive, Vuka Zimbabwe on Independence Day to air our views. She recalled a time when ROHR appeared on ZimEye when we launched our petition, which turned out very well. Mr Panyika Karimanzira would appreciate all those platforms but suggested this issue to be taken up on the Information & Publicity sub-committee for appearances on the media outlets. The call will be extended to the wider ROHR membership to combat the issue of manpower. Delina recalled Take2Zimbabwe done by ZHRO highlighting the same topic – Zimbabwe being far from independent. Her contribution was to come up with campaign name which reflects the non-independence of the country and not limit it to Independence Day only and we can take it forward post covid with demonstrations etc.

5.Finance Update
Harriet urged everyone to be up to date with their subscriptions. Mr Karimanzira also advised members to utilise the ROHR Bank account as they await their own branch account. He also gave an update of how much was held in trust for the Scotland Branch and Harriet updated her records accordingly. Alvina gave an update on the funding application front and encouraged everyone to keep an eye out for funding opportunities. Alvina announced our attempt in applying for funding but unfortunately unsuccessful but we dust ourselves up and we carry on. She urged other members to be on the lookout for funding.

6.Any Other Business
Delina reiterated the Nick Mangwana petition which garnered a lot of interest and signatures but sadly, the author could not be established, rendering it useless. We cannot submit it anywhere. She went on to approach Change.org to ask for the rights to that petition. The issue of Mangwana harassing ordinary citizens in Zimbabwe can be included here- it may add value to the petition.

Going forward, she suggested working in collaboration with other organisations but maintaining ROHR as the face of the petitions as we are a Human Rights organisation- to make sure all petitions are accounted for and authored by us, putting us at the forefront.

Delina urged us to exercise caution as members of another group – Zimbabwe Diaspora Voices (ZDV) seem to belinked with ZanuPF with the sole purpose of deflecting the campaigns we are doing. They will front them thereby disabling/blocking other efforts as it would seem like there is already a live petition.

Alvina picked on the new committee of the Scotland branch w.e.f 27th February 2021 and hoped they were settling well in their new role. She expected that everyone had received their emails from Mr Karimanzira regarding their respective portfolio roles & responsibilities and continued to encourage them to nudge someone, ask away and reach out to senior or other committee members in the same role. Even as we had roles and responsibilities training in February 2021, some could have mostly tuned in to their particular positions at the time.

Alvina also extended many thanks for all participation in the ongoing campaign “Why I became an activist”, most members are responding. As previously mentioned, Twitter account is gaining traction, she therefore encouraged members to engage; retweet, like and share

Alvina announced that the date of the next branch meeting as 24th April 2021.

All agenda items and any other business having been exhausted, Harriet thanked everyone for attending and declared the meeting closed at 1545hrs.

To view pictures taken at the event, follow this link.

By: Information & Publicity Department