ROHRZ Reading branch held its general meeting and community outreach on Saturday 18th February 2017. The meeting began at 11.30 am at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank, and ended at 1.30 pm when members proceeded to the Vigil outside Zimbabwe house from 2 to 6 pm to join ‘Mugabe’s mock birthday’ event.

The meeting commenced with a prayer from Comrade Deborah Harry, followed by the Chairman Nicodimus Muganhu deliberating the agenda. The meeting was principally based on setting targets and plans for the year 2017 and aligning them with the endorsed 2016 National Conference Resolutions. Lobbying, fundraising activities, outreach awareness programs, marketing and publicising branch events using available channels were amongst subjects discussed by members. There was also greater emphasis on the twinning project and resource mobilisation to ensure activities on the ground in Mashonaland East Province took place. Comrade Charles Mararirakwenda volunteered to initiate a dialogue with the ROHRZ Mash East leaders and to engage them in regular teleconferences as a way forward.

Members were joined by two guests: ROHRZ President Ephraim Tapa and Cde Fungisayi Mupandira, Slough ROHRZ branch organising secretary. In a brief speech, The President made positive remarks about the Reading branch saying he was:’very impressed that we have the knowledge or essence of the organisation’. He said further that it was Reading that led ROHRZ to the parliament meeting in January 2015 and still stood as a model branch. He spoke of a new season and the need to build afresh for the new year.

The meeting ended with a prayer and members headed to the Vigil outside Zimbabwe house, where there was a protest against Mugabe’s forthcoming lavish birthday bash in Matopos National Park on 25th February. The aim of the protest was to raise more awareness to the current hardships faced by the ordinary Zimbabwean people and expose the effects of Mugabe’s his dictatorship and his Zanu PF regime. Surely there are better priorities than having mega parties in that impoverished country. At the Vigil, Reading members sang solidarity songs as well as raising placards with messages like: ‘Mugabe’s last birthday in office;, “Mugabe think about the next generation’, ‘Mugabe for eternal president’ and many others. There were also solidarity speeches, a dramatisation of Mugabe sitting a wheelchair eating cake and drinking from a huge bottle, all in protest against the big birthday party.

Members were also able to accommodate two birthday anniversary celebrations for cdes Alice Shimika and Deborah Harry during their break time. At 6 pm the Vigil ended with some going on to attend the Zimbabwe Action Forum and others returning to their homes.

Joshua Kahari
ROHRZ Reading Branch Information and Publicity officer & ROHRZ Deputy National Publicity and Advocacy officer