2017 sees the 10th anniversary of the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) which was set up in 2007 to be the Vigil’s face on the ground in Zimbabwe. The Vigil and ROHR are two faces of the same organisation – one operating in the UK and one operating in Zimbabwe. Any other organisation purporting to be ROHR is fraudulent and is not supported by the Vigil.
Once again both the Vigil and ROHR are facing efforts to disrupt us. We suspect this disruption is backed by elements supporting Mugabe and Zanu PF who would be delighted to see the Vigil and ROHR destroyed. Our long, committed and consistent campaign against the perpetrators of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe makes us a prime target.
We have already posted the following disclaimer on the Vigil diary: ‘The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO Zimbabwean HR Charity. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.’
We now note that on this hijacked facebook page there is a notice for the launch of a so-called ‘ROHR Zimbabwe Central London branch’ on 7th January. Please be advised that ROHR Central London branch already exists and if you want to join please enquire at the Vigil. The meeting of this bogus branch is organised by Mary Muteyerwa, George Shambela, Pythias Makonese, Morella Nhau, Paradzai Mapfumo, Delina Mutyambizi and Panyika Karimanzira. These are the same people who set up the bogus so-called ‘Supa Vigil’, a group that occasionally comes for part of the afternoon while the Vigil is on between 2 and 6 pm on Saturday afternoons, sets up their tent in the space next to us and sings, shouts and dances in competition with us with the deliberate intention of causing disruption and confusion. This so-called ‘ROHR meeting’, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Vigil and ROHR.
Following wide consultations leading to the formation of ROHR, it was agreed that Vigil founder member and main proponent of the idea, Ephraim Tapa, should lead the organisation. Stendrick Zvorwadza is advertised as a speaker at the so-called ROHR meeting to launch a Central London Branch. He was recruited to ROHR by Tapa in 2007. Because he could move freely between the UK and Zimbabwe, Zvorwadza was appointed Vice President and subsequently was asked to register the organisation in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Vigil. He however fraudulently put himself down as the founder of the organisation, portraying the organisation as his own. When this issue was raised at the inaugural ROHR Zimbabwe Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting in 2008, Zvorwadza intimated that it was the Registrar of Deeds Office that did this, telling him it was ‘because you are the one submitting the documents’.
The BOT then resolved to rectify the anomaly by replacing his name as ‘Founder’ with the authentic Founder, Ephraim Tapa. At the same meeting, Mr Zvorwadza also failed to account for funds that were earmarked for the Nyanga orphanage that ROHR supported and all other funds meant for the administration of the organisation. He was suspended until such time when he would have made a good account of those funds. In a huff, Zvorwadza left the organisation taking most of the organisation’s equipment with him claiming it belonged to him. From 2008, Zvorwadza had no involvement or any dealings with ROHR until 2011 when the organisation had received donor funding.
We were surprised in March 2011 when Zvorwadza approached Ephraim demanding that he fire the National Co-ordinator in Zimbabwe Tichanzii Gandanga and his subordinates for misappropriation of donor funds. This was after his failed attempts to wrestle control of the organisation’s finances in Zimbabwe. ROHR at this time was negotiating for substantial further donor funding.
Unfortunately, the Deed of Trust never got amended as resolved for lack of due diligence on the part of the ROHR office in Zimbabwe. This error is most regrettable as it later allowed Zvorwadza to stage manage a fake BOT meeting in Zimbabwe in July 2011, fraudulently amend the ROHR Deed of Trust and claim ownership in August 2011. He also launched a smear campaign against Ephraim, falsely accusing him of stealing ROHR funds.
His efforts however were rebuffed by the Harare office and the entire structures of ROHR within and outside Zimbabwe. But our personnel in Zimbabwe were left vulnerable to charges of operating illegally, a dangerous situation in Zimbabwe. We resolved to internationalise the organisation re-registering it as ROHR Zimbabwe International in 2011. The issue of the fraudulent amendment of the ROHR Zimbabwe Trust Deed is currently under police investigation in Zimbabwe although we have little faith in their commitment to deliver justice.
In the Vigil diary of 6th August 2016 we report as follows: ‘Supporters might have seen an article on the dodgy Zimeye website in which the Vigil was criticised for not allowing Stendrick Zvorwadza to address us last week (see: http://www.zimeye.net/zvorwadza-flies-to-uk-blocked-by-rose-benton/). Our refusal to give a hearing to this charlatan was because he still pretends to be the leader of ROHR and has yet to account for £2,000 we entrusted to him in 2008 to hand over to the Nyanga orphanage we were supporting in Zimbabwe, as well as computers, phones and cameras for the ROHR office in Harare.’ He almost singlehandedly destroyed ROHR where it not for our resilience and commitment to the Zimbabwe cause.
More recently Zvorwadza has been fingered in the misappropriation of donor funds. Check:
Also a group called Coalition of Zimbabwe Activists sent the following what’sapp message on 21/11/2016: ‘In light of disturbing reports to the effect that some few stakeholders involved in planning of the #MunhuWeseMuroad demo pocketed donor funds, we as COZA would like to condemn such corrupt behaviour. It is baffling that our poor members are used as fodder in violent demonstrations when some unscrupulous, fly-by-night, self-anointed demonstration leaders milking donor funding for personal aggrandisement. We would like to condemn in the strongest sense, *. . . . . , Sten Zvorwadza and . . . . . * for being fingered in the $100,000 heist of donor money and urge them to come clean. We would like to categorically distance ourselves and our membership from the planned 23 and 30 November 2016 demonstrations by NERA and #Tajamuka respectively, until this *money spinning, Ponzi scheme activism* is dealt with. We therefore urge members of the public not to be misled by these activists, but remain resolute in fighting for a Just Zimbabwe.’
The Vigil diary comments on the disquiet over donor funding for activism in our diary of 26th November 2016: ‘The promised ‘mother of all demonstrations’ against bond notes last week failed to gain support amid allegations that money collected for the Harare protest was misappropriated. It is reported that this prompted Tajamuka to pull out of the demonstration at the last moment. Zimbabwe People First spokesman Jealousy Mawarire said as much as $100,000 may have been involved. He said: ‘As long as the struggle is commercialised we will always have these solo sporadic selfie moments disguised as demos’ (http://www.myzimbabwe.co.zw/news/9337-why-tajamuka-pulled-out-on-the-demo.html). Others talk of activists ‘milking donor funds’ and ‘living large’. The accusations come as no surprise to us. We ourselves refuse to have anything to do with one of the protest leaders because of our own experience working with him. This person certainly fits the bill of being a ‘selfie activist’: always in the photograph, in the news, known to all the journalists, ready with a quote. We at the Vigil marvel at how he seems to have a ‘get out if jail free’ card. With no visible means of support, he nevertheless pops up regularly in the UK, always impeccably dressed, hustling for money. The social media protest movements need to beware the bad apple effect.’
Please note that the Zimbabwe Vigil is unable to support those who join groups and organisations that are trying to disrupt and destabilise us. We understand that what is happening is very confusing and hope you will talk to the Vigil co-ordinators when you come to the Vigil or contact coordinators at 07970996003 or 07940793090 or 07907089899, if you require clarification.