Saturday 7 September 2019

ZHRO, MDC celebrate

Monday 2nd September 2019

No Trade Without Human Rights

The Successful planned protest against Trade Without Human Rights was held on Monday 2nd September 2019.

MDC and ZHRO Activists Outside Amba Hotel
Following press releases on and to confirm that the Zimbabwe Outward Trade Mission was taking place, the MDC and ZHRO leadership decided to push through the already planned protest of this event.  The planned protest was in response to the lack of human rights and kleptocracy in Zimbabwe.  Especially the ill-treatment Zimbabwean women, are still facing in Zimbabwe at the hands of ZANU PF and its proxies.  The most recent high profile being that of Gonyeti and Muchaina who were recently brutalised, then earlier Farirai Gumbonzvanda, a girls’ rights activist and community volunteer with the Rozaria Memorial Trust who is apparently serving a twenty year jail term of imprisonment, for apparently subverting a constitutional government, which Under Section 22 of Zimbabwe’s Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, “subversion of a constitutional government” is a treason charge.  It carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. 

Stanford Biti Portfolio Secretary for International affairs for MDC, attended the event.  When asked about the atmosphere at the Zimbabwe Outward Trade Mission he said, “The atmosphere was sombre.  The whole room was decorated in black, like as if we were at a funeral.  Zimbabwe has a colourful flag and I was expecting it (the decorations) to be colourful.  When asked about the attendance he said, “the attendance was not pleasing at all.  We (Zimbabweans) have the colonial mentality that the investor is the white man, and what the Government is forgetting is that the investor is actually the Zimbabweans in the diaspora. 
Stanford Biti Speaking to ZHRO and MDC members outside Amba Hotel

He added saying, “Our parents never taught us to borrow money.  They taught us to work and Zimbabweans do work.  Our parents have bought houses not with borrowed money, but with hard cash.  However, what the Zimbabwe Government is actually looking to do is borrowing money, taking it to Zimbabwe, squandering it and that does not work.  This is what they have been doing for the past 37 years and now no one will borrow them money, so what they need to do is rethink their policies and practices and understand that we have to use our own resources to prop up Zimbabwe.  The Zimbabwean government is a government with no priorities.”

He continued saying, “Yes I am in the MDC and we should also look at taking over as a Government by,  (1) learning what ZANU PF is going through, (2) understand what we going to inherit and (3) we need to understand that we would need to move Zimbabwe forward.  These things cannot be separated, so this is why it was important for me to attend this event.

Finally he said “I’m coming in putting on a suit and tie and I’m talking to someone from Zimbabwe putting on jeans.  They are not serious.  Would a serious government get A 23 year old boy to come and speak to Richard Brandson?  The impression which you give shows that you are not serious in business.  The people who I saw inside did not give me the impression that they will have any effect in the Mnangagwa government.  The people who actually came from Zimbabwe were young boys operating in some other peoples’ briefcases. 

The success of the joint MDC and ZHRO protest, where the high-powered delegation which was expected was either fret, or non-existent, shows that they are potentially on the right path. 
Below is a link to the Human rights watch website, where Farirai Gumbonzvanda and others are mentioned.

At the time of writing New Zimbabwe published an article that quoting ZimTrade CEO, Allan Majuru who is leading a delegation of Zimbabwean businesses at the ongoing Outward Trade Mission to the UK has called on the diaspora to engage the delegation in promoting trade and mutually beneficial business partnerships. The event is a private led initiative and will kickstart with a Trade and Investment seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in central Birmingham, 2 Bridge St, B1 2JZ.  The Outward Trade Mission is being facilitated by ZimTrade.

There are a few questions that investors will obviously be asking and the main ones will be, (1) Can I take my money out , (2) Can I have 100% ownership of my own company, (3) Will my assets be safe, considering just earlier this year there were land seizures and human rights abuses.  This therefore highlights the simple fact that MDC and ZHRO have been screaming.  Human rights and Property rights run side by side and one cannot be attained without the other.

Those who attended made so much noise Amba Hotel got security guards and the police to attend.  At one point, the hotel staff tried to get the protesters to be quiet.  This spurned the protesters on to make even more noise as the cause is a just cause.  “If you don’t want protesters at your door, next time don’t take bookings from them(ZANU PF),” said Chipo Parirenyatwa.  It was and is still not clear who brought barricades for the protesters.  The response that was given when the protesters were asked to go into the barricades was, “We get jailed in Zimbabwe for protesting peacefully, now you want to do the same to us here.  No, we are not going into the pens.  We are not animals.”

The protest ended shortly after Stanford Biti came to address those who were outside Amba Hotel, in Charing Cross, London.  Over 20 attended the successful planned peaceful protest.

By Thabo Makuyana

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