After months besieged on their farm at Centenary, 20 police armed with AK 47s on Friday forcibly evicted Phillip Rankin and his wife.
The farm has long been coveted by British medical practitioner Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica, who are reported to be connected to Grace Mugabe.
Zimbabwe human rights campaigner Ben Freeth said the police had shown no legal documents to justify their action, which comes while court proceedings are still going on.
He said he had advised MrRankin to quote section 74 of the constitution which says no person may be evicted from their home without a court order. ‘The police just laughed at them’.
The police refused access to lawyers acting for Mr Rankin, loaded his furniture onto lorries along with Mr Rankin and drove off. We understand he was later released. Freeth added: ‘Despite the drought the Rankins are in the middle of harvesting wonderful crops this season. A message from another observer said: it’s the end of the month so who pays the workers, what happens to them now?’ (For video clips see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157661801274773).
The Vigil has staged several demonstrations outside Dr Nyatsuro’s clinic in Nottingham questioning why a British citizen resident in the United Kingdom for the past 10 years should seek to dispossess a Zimbabwean citizen who bought his farm in Zimbabwe with the approval of the Mugabe government.
The Nyatsuros threatened legal action against us – a tactic they have successfully used to intimidate the media. We invited Dr Nyatsuro to our forum last week to explain himself. We were told they wanted to talk to us but he did not come.
On Monday (25/01/2016) we emailed Mrs Nyatsuro that we would take further action if they did not drop their claim to the farm and requested a reply within 7 days (see:http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/749-email-sent-to-mrs-nyatsuro-on-monday-25th-january-2016). In a phone call Mrs Nyatsuro said she was going to Zimbabwe the next day. The behaviour of the Nyatsuros has disgusted Zimbabwe exiles in the UK and the Vigil is to protest outside their Nottingham clinic on Friday 5thFebruary (see Events and notices for details). The Vigil will also be running the following petition to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for an investigation into the Nyatsuros. Petition to UK Prime Minister DavidCameron Zimbabwean exiles in the United Kingdom and sympathisers are appalled by the behaviour of Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica who run the Willows Medical Centre in Nottingham Dr Nyatsuro is a British citizen, long resident in this country, yet he has illegally seized a farm in Zimbabwe owned by a white Zimbabwean farmer, Mr Phillip Rankin, who bought it with the approval of the Mugabe government. Dr Nyatsuro and his wife are reported to be connected to Grace Mugabe. We are puzzled why a British doctor should want a farm in Zimbabwe since he and his wife are apparently in full-time employment here and have no known farming expertise in a country facing starvation We ask your government to consider revoking Dr Nyatsuro’s citizenship on the grounds that ‘it was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact’ (see: Deprivation of British citizenship and withdrawal of passport facilities –file:///Users/GG/Downloads/SN06820%20(1).pdf: House of Commons Library). We also question his suitability to run an NHS clinic in Nottingham while farming in Zimbabwe. Other points
- Zimbabwe’s friends abroad are increasingly anxious at the failure of the Mugabe government to declare a state of emergency so that international agencies can start campaigning for donor funds to alleviate food shortages. A ROHR supporter in Zimbabwe drew our attention to an article on the Masvingo Mirror website about the drastic effects of the food shortage (see: http://www.masvingomirror.com/2016/01/50c-for-sex-as-drought-ravages-mwenezi.html).
- Wehave been in contact with diaspora publisher Kennedy Madhombiro who is asking for poetry submissions from Zimbabwe Vigil members for possible publication. For contact details for those interested see:https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/24622132001/sizes/o/.
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Benjamin Chigamba, John Chipudhla, Joseph Chivayo, Arnold Dube, Barbara Kachidza, Fungayi Mabhunu, Jenniffer Maritsa, Sharon, Nyasha and Tanatswa Moyo, Roseline Mukucha,Rosemary Mupunga and Chipo Parirenyatwa. Thanks to Sharon, Rashiwe and Roseline Mukucha for looking after the front table. Thanks to Benjami and Arnold for putting up the banners and thanks to ROHR Central London branch for bringing food to raise funds for ROHR.
For latest Vigil pictures check:http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. FOR THE RECORD: 41 signed the register. EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- Nottingham demonstration against racist Zimbabwean doctor. Friday 5th February from 12 noon – 3 pm. Venue: outside The Willows Medical Centre, Church Street, Carlton, Nottingham NG4 1RJ.
- ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th February from 11 am to 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and an optician. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 6th February from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.
- Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
- Monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 6th February from 2 – 6 pmoutside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark eleven months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 6th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
- ROHR Reading branch community outreach and general meeting.Saturday 20th February. Community outreach from 12 noon – 1.30 pm: Venue: Broad Street. Awareness campaign on deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm: Venue: RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. For further enquiries contact: Deborah Harry 07578894896, Charles Mararirakwenda 07964731721, Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Shyline 07827493930.
- Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
- Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link:http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
- Facebook pages:
Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515 ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835 The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.