On 19th August, from 2pm until 11pm, Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHRZ) Reading branch hosted a national fundraiser for Zimbabwe Peace Actors Platform(ZimPAP) initiative. The well-attended event constituted members of ROHR from various branches, family and friends, children as well as representatives from other organisations. There were loads of entertainment to make attendees enjoy as well as making the charitable event a success.

The fundraiser came into being as the ROHR organisation felt to do something to better the future of Zimbabwe. ROHR, the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, Heal Zimbabwe and other civil organisations involved in peace building in Zimbabwe, with support from Amnesty International, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 14th December 2016 to collaborate in preventing violence and to work together in peace building under The ZimPAP initiative. ZimPAP aims to raise money to train 100,000 civilian peace keepers in Zimbabwe to educate people in their local communities on their constitutional rights as well as overcoming fear and intimidation during and after 2018 elections. The peacekeepers will also monitor incidents of violence and intimidation.

Reading branch members and the national fundraising team worked together to prepare, plan, advertise, market, pledge for donations and guaranteeing the success of it on the final day. There were barbeque meals, refreshments, raffle ticket competitions, music and dance. The sunny weather also provided for an opportunity for others with children to simultaneously enjoy the fun provided and their kids also playing at a nearby park.

Branch chairperson Mr Muganhu was full of praise for the Reading team for putting up a great event.He chronicled on how the branch has grown and transformed itself into advocacy on matters of governance in Zimbabwe by participating,organising and supporting demonstrations and outreach awareness campaigns. He thanked the members for not tiring and to keep doing more to give the marginalised people of Zimbabwe a voice. In pursuant to our commitment to the local community here in Reading, the chairperson indicated that the team will be hosting a food bank donation to support the needy and the team is in the process of mobilising resources.

The president of ROHR, Ephraim Tapa gave a speech describing the status-quo of human rights in Zimbabwe as appalling. He cited Robert Mugabe’s speech on 21st July 2017 during a election campaign in Lupane where Mugabe encouraged his supporters, youth to mete out violence with violence and then report to the police afterwards as not representative of a leader of a nation. In his words, Mr Tapa said “…this a country where you are led by Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace and their party which is called Zanu PF. This basically is a party for violence. They know no other language other than violence. So, to get whatever they want, they must deploy violence”. He also criticised Grace Mugabe’s recent reaction in South Africa when she went to visit her boys and seen them in the company of girlfriends. Grace decided to meet out violence against the girls and not her boys. Mr Tapa held the first family as none exemplary and went on to say “…the only language they speak is violence and nothing else”. Emmerson Mnangagwa’s the country’s vice president’s recent poisoning at a rally was also described as a nasty succession of politics of Zanu pf. He said” …they know no language, they don’t negotiate, they don’t want to persuade, they don’t want to do anything, they just use violence to get their way…” Mr Tapa concluded his speech by encouraging everyone to do something for Zimbabwe by posing a question to the audience, “…are you doing enough for your country and for the children that are coming.”

Alison Peyton of ReadiFood, was so impressed with role ROHR plays in the society to highlight human rights issues and the passion we have for our country. She further expressed how she wished to see one day “…Zimbabwe a free and fair country”.

At the peak of the show, raffle tickets were drawn and lucky people won food hamper baskets, pairs of socks, wrist watches, umbrellas and loads more goodies. Music and party followed until 11pm.

Overall, the event was declared a success as many people attended and contributed to the ZimPAP project. Mr Tichaona Mafokosho, the Leader of ceremonies gave a vote of thanks to end the party, and the premises were soon cleared and closed for the day.

ROHR members who attended the fundraiser were:

Ephraim Tapa, Jonathan Kariwo, Patricia Masamba ,Gladys Muduve, Samson Rwambiwa, Tecla Bandawe, George Chinamora, Fungisai Mupandira, Nicodimus Muganhu and family, Deborah Harry, Tichaona Mafokosho, Charles Mararirakwenda, Alice Shimika,, Josephine Jombe, Richard Munyama, Casper Nyamakura, Val Marcou, Margaret Chisadza, , Fungai Mabhunu, William Chinyanga, Collin Chitekwe, Mercy Bayipayi, Saziso Zulu ,Benjamin Semwayo,, Nkosikhona Tshabangu, Daisy Fabian, Esther Munyira, Joshua Kahari and many others

Joshua Kahari
ROHR Reading Publicity Officer & ROHR UK Information and Training Department