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The wet road to Zimbabwe freedom

22 May 2017 at 13:43hrs | Views
The Zimbabwean diaspora gave ROHR activist Sipho Ndlovu a hero's welcome when he arrived at the Vigil after a marathon seven-day bike ride through England to raise money to stop political violence in Zimbabwe and teach people in the rural areas what their voting rights are.

Sipho braved roads flooded by heavy rain on his 324 mile ride from Nottingham to London, which took in six other towns. He said some of the roads were like rivers. The weather took a toll on his bike and also his phone, which he was relying on for navigation.

Fortunately members of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe were waiting to meet him at the end of each day and they arranged to have the bike fixed and lent him a phone, as well as organising food, dry clothes, a hot bath and a place to sleep.

Sipho's toughest day was on the long stretch from Oxford to Southampton when he was lashed by rain all day. ROHR supporters were following his progress closely and, when he was still 20 miles from Southampton, ROHR President Ephraim Tapa sent encouragement: 'Go on soldier. We are with you all the way.' On the next leg to Reading ROHR women waited for six hours in the drizzle to welcome Sipho.

Sipho's welcome at the Vigil began with a prayer of thanks for his safe return led by Sister Bev Mutandiro. Daizy Fabian, Chair of ROHR Central London branch, said how important his contribution to the peace project was. She said ROHR and the Vigil must continue to support efforts for peace, justice and freedom in Zimbabwe. Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton praised Sipho for his determination in completing his challenge through a very tough week. The way ROHR and the Vigil had rallied around to support Sipho showed that there was a strong family feeling in the group.

The money raised by the bike ride will support the Zimbabwe Peace Actors' Platform (ZimPAP), which aims to train 100,000 civilian peacekeepers and overcome fear and intimidation during next year's elections. To sponsor Sipho, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovu.

In one of the latest reports of pre-election violence. the MDC T Vice-President Thokozani Khupe said police officers fired teargas when she was attending a voter registration campaign meeting at a supporter's home in Lupane Ward 9. 'It was during that meeting that police attacked us unprovoked,' she said.

MDC T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said the unwarranted crackdown justified calls for outside intervention in the 2018 elections. He said the attack on Khupe and party supporters was evidence that Zanu-PF, aided by a partisan police force, was not ready for a free and fair election. 'This is a harbinger of what awaits us. As we go towards 2018, Zanu-PF will use all methods to push the country to a pre-determined electoral outcome and without SADC, the African Union and the United Nations we are never going to have free and fair polls,' he said (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/05/20/police-attack-khupe/).

The discovery of more graves in Gokwe dating from the 2008 election violence underlines the importance of action to support peaceful elections this time. Midlands MDC T Senator Morgan Komichi told the Senate that he had just been shown the newly-discovered graves in various locations and local people were fearful because they associated elections with violence. He said violence was structural because it was ingrained in the procedures and administration of elections. 'This can be removed from our society if we all agree that we are denouncing violence.'



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Source - ZimVigil
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