On 20th January 2018 in Reading town centre, Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe Reading branch held a demonstration against Zimbabwe`s current illegitimate President Emmerson Mnangagwa who assumed power via a coup d’état on 14th November 2017. Reading branch members braved the windy and rainy weather to engage with the public on Broad street explaining what is wrong with the current regime in Zimbabwe. This was followed by a passionate question and answer meeting at the RISC which was moderated by Cdes Joshua Kahari and Shylette Chipangura.

For years ROHR Zimbabwe as a human rights movement and with other stakeholders has been vigorously agitating for Mugabe to leave office via peaceful means. His removal has left the country in a constitutional crisis and if not quickly solved will set a wrong example to the region and the rest of Africa. As ROHRZ Reading we are at the forefront of condemning such unconstitutional acts. Zimbabwe is now a military state with Emmerson Mnangagwa promoting the soldiers who helped him assume power into very influential government positions. The whole state apparatus has been virtually captured by the military cabal to the extent of policing the police.

Mnangagwa is responsible and is widely implicated in gross human rights abuse post-independence era notably Gukurahundi in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces, plundering of mineral resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and most recently he was implicated in an orgy of violence post-election 2008, leading to the run-off election which the opposition parties refused to be part of because of the unrelenting violence from his foot soldiers on unarmed civilians. For that and many other reasons ROHR Reading went into the streets raising placards “Zimbabwe is now a military state”, “We need to return to constitutionalism, “A coup president is never legitimate and cannot be trusted” and many other messages.

At 2pm, the team gathered at their meeting venue at RISC where they discussed a wide range of issues including 2018 action plan, lobbying MPs for Zimbabwe issues, fundraising and food-bank donations. The Chairperson, Cde Nicodimus Muganhu gave his address for the beginning of the year and commended everyone for the hard work throughout 2017. He later awarded presents to Deborah Harry and Josephine Jombe for being outstanding activist in 2017. Various heads of departments namely Information and Publicity (Joshua Kahari), Finance administration (Deborah Harry), Organising Josephine Jombe (Deputy head) and the Secretariat Shylette Chipangura (Deputy head) read their annual reports to the floor and recommendations were discussed and agreed to pave the way forward for the new year. Members also joined hands in welcoming two new members namely, Mellisa Takudzwa Ngwende and Lindavine Tanaka Hokomurimwa who attended all the proceedings of the day.

As a tradition, members had an opportunity to celebrate one member’s birthday anniversary, and this time it was Cde Shylette Chipangura who received a combined present from the branch.

At 5pm Cde Deborah gave a closing prayer and the meeting was officially closed soon after. Members left the building to travel to their various destinations

Joshua Kahari (Information and Publicity Reading branch)