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Press Statement from ROHR ZIMBABWE – 24th June 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 June 2009 13:26

Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe is deeply disturbed by a vicious, hate-fuelled and well-orchestrated campaign by some UK-based Zimbabwean online newsites aimed at discrediting ROHR Zimbabwe as an organisation and the personal integrity of Ephraim Tapa, its President. Chief among these are Nehanda Radio, Zimdaily and ZimEye. Articles on these newsites have accused ROHR Zimbabwe and its President of masterminding a spontaneous response from Zimbabweans to the Zimbabwe Prime Minister, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s call for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to ‘come back home’. ROHR Zimbabwe and its leadership wants to disassociate itself from these malicious accusations as they are baseless and outright falsehoods. We also want to state categorically that at no time did the organisation agree, let alone set an agenda to ridicule or disrupt the Southwark Cathedral meeting. Mr Tapa was not even at the meeting. We therefore dismiss the accusations with the contempt they deserve. 

Why did the people boo the Prime Minister? Watching the online video clips, it is clear to see that the PM is loudly applauded at one point followed by a somewhat subdued reaction as he continues his speech, finally to be greeted by a spontaneous, deafening chorus of ‘Chinja!, Chinja! Mugabe must go!’ Truly this was not the work of Mr Ephraim Tapa or ROHR Zimbabwe and neither was it the work of its sister organisation, the Zimbabwe Vigil. To suggest so is to pour contempt on the conscience of the people of Zimbabwe whom we so respect. To launch this campaign on so little evidence mean that elements in the Zimbabwean UK Diaspora must feel very threatened by us as our message continues to reasonate with not only those in the Diaspora but also the wider constituency within Zimbabwe.  The issue is that Zimbabwe is still not safe to return for those who fled persecution and are in need of international protection. ROHR Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Vigil does not apologise to anyone for our principled stance that ‘Mugabe Must Go’, our demand for democracy and justice, respect for the rule of law and the Restoration of Human Rights. It is interesting that groups like the Vigil and ROHR who are kept busy by real activism don’t have the time or inclination to decampaign other groups.  

ROHR and its President have been accused of many other crimes in a campaign that dates back to 2007, when the MDC-UK & I Executive, then led by Ephraim Tapa, was dissolved unconstitutionally. At NO time was Mr Tapa ever EXPELLED from the MDC Chairmanship and for the record, he actually declined to stand the second time he was requested to do so. Then, the call was for the Party to uphold its founding principles – constitutional democracy, transparency, accountability and justice for all. The ROHR President continues to cherish those values and, unlike some who have started glorifying Mr Mugabe with the advent of the inclusive government, continues to fight for GENUINE CHANGE. Whilst engaged in this struggle for human rights and notwithstanding his right to do so, Mr Ephraim Tapa does not for now have plans to seek any political office within any political party. And contrary to misleading theories being peddled by those who seek to detract from him, Mr Tapa harbours no rancour or vendetta against anyone within the MDC family. 

The call NOW is for the inclusive government to address human rights concerns, uphold the rule of law and mete out justice to all those who perpetrated human rights abuses, including Robert Mugabe and his cronies. In its quest for these ideals, ROHR Zimbabwe has managed to create in three years a respectable national and international profile. Mindful of the suffering of Zimbabweans, ROHR Zimbabwe filed a lawsuit against Gono to remove cash withdrawal limits, mounted successful demonstrations in demand for justice and democracy, buried and cared for victims of the 2008 Mugabe terror campaign, provided basic necessities to vulnerable groups such as orphanages, the displaced, and disadvantaged school children, to name a few.  We have registered a prominent presence in defence of human rights as we continue to operate legally in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United Kingdom. It seems ROHR Zimbabwe has become the victim of its success. 

ROHR Zimbabwe runs offices in Zimbabwe, employs staff, runs programmes and assists on humanitarian causes, and like any other organisation, it needs money to do this. As a membership based organisation, ROHR Zimbabwe depends mainly on the support of its membership. Monthly subscriptions are decided and managed as per its constitution and members reserve the right to vary this and determine the direction of the organisation. As an international organisation, ROHR Zimbabwe operates within the legal framework of host countries.  Membership is open to the willing and those who join do so of their free will. ROHR Zimbabwe is not a refugee or asylum organisation – it does not have the power to regularise anyone’s stay in any given country. We believe that those in need of international protection can only base their claims on their personal / activist profiles. We are however aware that ROHR Zimbabwe members, their staff, supporters and activists have been persecuted under the Mugabe regime and still continue to face persecution, along with other human rights defenders, under the inclusive government. Therefore, whilst membership of ROHR Zimbabwe or participation at the Zimbabwe Vigil may be helpful, it is important that those who join us do so for what we do: defending and restoring human rights in Zimbabwe and not otherwise.  

ROHR Zimbabwe will continue to stand by the people of Zimbabwe whatever it takes and will not allow itself to be distracted by hate-filled individuals hiding behind the facade of gutter journalism. ROHR Zimbabwe will never be silenced, especially not by merchants of hatred, jealousy and disunity. 

For SW Radio Africa’s broadcasts featuring the Vigil and ROHR’s position on what happened at the meeting at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday, 20th June, please check SW Radio’s Archives: Newsreel on Monday, 22nd June and Diaspora Diaries on Tuesday, 23rd June – www.swradioafrica.com.  (http://www.swradioafrica.com/news220609/zimuk220609.htm) 

From the Information Department of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe 

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