The demonstration was held at New Street/High Street near the Bull Ring, Birmingham on Saturday [22nd April] under the #Take2Zimbabwe Campaign. The demonstrations are being organized by a number of UK based human rights organizations and other groups, along with ZHRO. Interestingly both #Tajamuka/Sesjikile's Hapson Ncube and Zimbabwe Yadzoka have both given their endorsement of the #Take2Zimbabwe continuing campaign.
The protesters presented themselves as zombies as they highlighted aspects of election rigging. To emphasis the Zombie voters the protesters danced to Michael Jackson' s popular track Thriller - whose video features the 'undead'.
|The UN-Dead are here for your Vote: Image Credits: Hillary Chikomba|
ZHRO director of Marketing, Mable Kayiya, who devised the Zombie theme, as well as the #Take2Zimbabwe concept, said there was need to levy continued pressure on the Zanu PF Regime ahead of the 2018 polls. Following on from the success in London of the 18th April 2017 on the Anniversary of Zimbabwe's [so called] Independence, the #Take2Zimbabwe 'campaign' continues to distribute informative flyers and collect petition signatures from the passing public - in order to highlight the major electoral problems concerning Zimbabwe and the quest for the Diaspora Vote.
Speaking about the #Take2Zimbabwe and 'Thriller' campaigns, Mable reiterated;
"The concept of #Take2Zimbabwe was birthed at the realization that Zimbabwe moved from one form of colonization to another. Colonization under the Mugabe regime is a betrayal to the nation whom, today 37 years later, are oppressed, maimed and killed by the very people they trusted to deliver the promise of independence to."Adding;
"The Zimbabwe govt does not only stop at violating our human rights as living beings, they violate those of the dead too, to ensure they get a vote by any means necessary.Speaking after the Birmingham event, ROHR Zimbabwe Information and Publicity Officer, Farai Nhakaniso, said hundreds of people, including British citizens sympathetic to the Zimbabwean situation, participated in the demonstration.
Running up to 2018 elections, united citizens of Zimbabwe at home and in the diaspora, we're saying 'No to Stolen Elections'. Zombie Zimbo Thriller protest was about highlighting this as one of the ways elections have been rigged in the past. Zombie's protesting because they want the right NOT to vote come 2018." said Kayiya.
"We held the demonstration to highlight and expose the shocking magnitude of vote rigging by the Mugabe Regime. We are fully aware of the fact that there are ghost voters in the electoral process. The event has captured the UK Public' s attention. We are happy the world is getting accustomed to the magnitude of electoral fraud in Zimbabwe," said Nhakaniso.
He added: "This time we will continue to express our message explicitly in Zimbabwe and abroad. We want to force the regime to desist from outright vote rigging.We will not sit back this time around.Mugabe and his cronies must go- our message is loud and clear."
The #Take2Zimbabwe Movement will spread to Leeds and Manchester in the coming weeks amid growing calls for Mugabe's resignation and Zanu PF to ZEXIT Zimbabwe. In fact a whole series of "Road-Shows" is being formulated to further engage with the UK Public.
|Engaging the Public: Image Credits; Hillary Chikomba|
Back in Zimbabwe, however things are getting worse; source: Bulawayo 24 - 18th April 2017
Villagers are reportedly being forced to vote for Zanu PF in the coming elections or face eviction from the areas in parts of Mashonaland and Midlands.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust reported that in Nyanga District's Ward 2 on 24 March 2017, Zanu PF convened a meeting at Avila business centre.
"The meeting was addressed by Zanu PF ward 2 chairperson, Wilson Sauro and Councillor Joseph Kadyamusuma. They told people that if they fail to vote for ZANU PF in the 2018 elections, Zanu PF was going to unleash violence similar to the one experienced in the 2008 elections. They also announced that all Village heads should ensure that people from their villages attend all Zanu PF meetings called for in the ward," said the trust.
"On 27 March 2017, Chief Katerere and Village head Chabvura ordered 18 Village heads from ward 3 to evict people who fail to produce Zanu PF membership cards and also ensure that they do not receive food aid. To date, Village head Chabvura has already started asking people in his village to produce Zanu PF membership cards during food distribution meetings."
In Gokwe North District at Gokwe Gumunyu ward 19, Village heads Matenga and Marima are forcing people to join Zanu PF. On 26 March 2017, the two Village heads sent out their secretaries who moved around the villages announcing that food aid will only be given to people with Zanu PF membership cards.