Exciting Times!

 

What does the Lord require of you?  To do Justice, to love Mercy and to walk Humbly with your God.

Micah 6 verse 8

21st July 2016

NEWSLETTER FROM THE MIKE CAMPBELL FOUNDATION

 

Ben Freeth

Exciting times in Zimbabwe – Zimbabweans have had enough!

Huge corruption from the top, police harassment and brutality at every turn, import bans, economic collapse and no cash in the banks, the non-payment of the civil servants and the threat of “bond notes” being printed, hunger due to the ongoing land program destroying agriculture and so much more are all combining to trigger anger and long overdue protest action.

Pastor Evan Mawarire, who decided to share his frustrations to his countrymen and the world on an online video with a Zimbabwean flag draped around his shoulders, struck a cord and a fire of hope was ignited.  It has gone viral and the hope has begun to blaze.  There is excitement in the air.

https://www.facebook.com/evan.mawarire/videos/vb.635497042/10153553623267043/?type=2&theater

Pastor Evan was arrested on Tuesday 12 July.  In court the following day, his original charge of inciting public violence was suddenly changed to a treason charge carrying a 20-year sentence. 

More than 50 lawyers came to represent him.  Thousands of people mobilised to pray outside the court with candles, flags and crosses.  The court room became a church with people singing and praying.  Riot police with guns and water cannons were everywhere but everyone was peaceful.  The law won and the magistrate told Pastor Evan he was free to go.  A great cry of jubilation went up.  People were dancing and singing and crying and hugging each other.  It was a truly historic victory.  

Pastor Evan Mawarire who initiated the #ThisFlag protest campaign

       

Left:    A large contingent of police arrives outside the Magistrates’ Court in Harare

Right:  Drawing courage from prayer, a huge crowd assembles to support Pastor Mawarire

        

Left:  Raising candles high, the jubilant crowd cheers as Pastor Mawarire’s treason charges are dropped.

Right:  For the first time, this young supporter believes that there is hope for the future.

 

Pastor Evan Mawarire emerges to face a barrage of press photographers and jubilant supporters

Photo credit:  All of these remarkable photos were taken by Jan-Dirk Visagie (18) a highly talented Zimbabwean student photographer

We are featuring all of the protest action and updates on our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/mikecampbellfoundation

Economic crisis

Zimbabwean finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told French radio in early July: “Right now we literally have nothing.”  He was of course referring to the treasury and not President Mugabe’s inner circle, who would, the Economist magazine commented “probably have enough money to pay off all of Zimbabwe’s arrears to the IMF.”  Civil servants are not being paid – or paid very late.

Bond Notes

In May, the Reserve Bank Governor’s announcement that they would be issuing bond notes put everyone into a state of panic.  The memory of everyone losing their pensions and life savings in 2008 is very strong.  Banks have long queues and withdrawing cash has become very difficult. Shortages of various commodities have already begun.  Cash is fetching up to a 15% premium on the black market already so prices are beginning to rise. 

War Veterans unhappy:

Even the war veterans are starting to voice their ire at Mugabe.  He threatened them recently with another Gukurahundi - the genocide perpetrated by Mugabe’s North Korean-trained 5th Brigade which killed an estimated 20,000 civilians shortly after independence.   

Police Harassment:

Harassment by police is at very high levels.  On a recent trip I went through 26 police road blocks before lunch.  Another trip took us through 8 police road blocks in the space of 30km.  Without formal pay, police are fining motorists and extorting bribes all the time. People have become scared to drive because they fear the police.    

Water for Seed Project - The Centre Pivot has arrived: After its manufacture in Klerksdorp, South Africa, the center pivot made it through the border.  Putting it together was rather like working with an oversized meccano set.  Everything fits well and it has been well engineered.  We have made yokes and the oxen are being trained.  We are hoping to raise funds to use pioneering technology to power the irrigation system by solar power.  In Zimbabwe we never run out of sunshine!    

Laura and our two sons, Joshua (back) and Stephen, share the excitement as the centre pivot takes shape

Farming for Destitute Farm Workers courses:  We ran two more very successful Foundations for Farming courses for destitute farm workers in May and June.  It is heartening to see that many former course participants have had a good harvest despite a very difficult year.  Generally speaking, estimates are that the international community will need to feed a very sizable proportion of the Zimbabwe population once again.  It is good to see that most of our trainees will not have to be fed. 

The church is awakening:  We were involved with the first Christian prayer march for over a decade carrying crosses through the streets of Harare.  No one was arrested. 

The Prayer Network of Zimbabwe’s prayer march in Harare on 18 May 2016

The Prophetic Voice: We are also setting up a course to encourage the prophetic voice. The church has been very slow in wanting to address the physical and material injustices in Zimbabwe and it is important that a sound theological platform be developed to move forward in addressing these issues.  

Good news on the Zuma case:  President Zuma has conceded to our intervention case being part of the Law Society of South Africa application to challenge his actions in destroying the SADC Tribunal.  We are waiting for Judge Ledwaba to convert this into a court order with the time frames.  Members of the SADC Lawyers’ Association are bringing similar court applications in their own countries.

Farm take overs:

Farms continue to be listed and acquired.  One black-owned farm was even mistakenly listed recently – ironically belonging to the Reserve Bank Governor - but it was subsequently delisted.  We have assisted where we can - but once a farm is listed the chances of being able to fight it are very slim. 

The Conollys and the Ray Ndhlukula case:  Mike Conolly had an arrest warrant issued against him for being on his farm illegally but after legal representation this has thankfully been rescinded and his trial date has been reset for 19th July.  Papers are being compiled for a major constitutional challenge in line with what we did in the Campbell case in the SADC Tribunal.  We are trying to get finance to initiate this case.

The Rankin Farm Case:  Police and family members of the British doctor and his wife [Sylvester and Veronica Nyatsuro] are still defying the High Court.  We could go ahead and hold them in contempt of court but with Harare lawyers charging 250 USD per hour and the Rankin’s legal bill already at 30,000 USD this is out of the question.  The good news is they have managed to get their crops and tractors off the farm.  One development for the Nyatsuros has been the closure of the Willows Clinic in Nottingham by medical inspectors who deemed that he was putting his patients at risk.  Justice has a way of pursuing people in unexpected ways!  Many other remaining farmers continue to have High Court orders defied.  Lawlessness takeovers continue and we are doing what we can through diplomatic and other channels.       

The compensation story:  Unserviced plots around Harare on stolen farms are being sold at up to 20 USD per square metre which works out at 200,000 USD per hectare.  For a stolen farm of 1,000 hectares they are therefore able to sell off plots for 200 million USD.  This is a very lucrative business for a number of senior lawless officials and politicians.  Farms and small holdings around town are currently being listed and taken over for this purpose.

Property rights for communal land - The King of the Zulus and others: We have been working with key people to draw up a proposal for a pilot project to get individual property rights in a communal land in order to herald the way for the future agricultural revolution which we believe will happen in Zimbabwe. 

Christian Economic Forum:  This year’s Christian Economic Forum conference will be held at the Zimbali resort just north of Durban from 27-29 July. I will be travelling to Durban for the event, where I’ll be delivering a paper. The overall theme of the conference is “A Hope and a Future.”

School children:  This term we are providing support to double the number of children who need assistance with school fees in order to be able to attend school.  In this economic climate, our assistance is very much appreciated.   

The MCF Facebook page: We have totally revamped our new and exciting Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mikecampbellfoundation

Royal Geographical Society eventThe Mike Campbell Foundation is delighted to announce our 5th anniversary event, "Taking Effective Steps to Fight the Dictatorship in Zimbabwe – Restoring Justice, Restoring People”.  It will be held at the Royal Geographic Society in London on Wednesday 26 October  2016.  Doors will open at 5:45pm.  Timings of event 6:30 – 8:30pm.  It will sell out fast, so book your tickets early.

For quick and easy ticket bookings, click on the following link: Tickets cost £20. 

https://event.bookitbee.com/8186/mike-campbell-foundation-5-year-anniversary-event

OR send a cheque to Mike Campbell Foundation with your name and address, e-mail and phone number on the back.  (Also names and contact details of guests). Group of 20:  £17 each.  (You need to contact Claire Freeth if you do have a group of 20). Please also contact Claire if you have any queries:

Tel:  (UK) 01795 842 341 E-mail: claire@mikecampbellfoundation.com

A very sincere thank you for all your continued support and prayers.  We believe that the turning point is coming at last, and the fact that it is being led by ordinary Zimbabweans through the church is exciting as it’s clearly an answer to prayer. 

Please continue to pray for us as we work together for a new Zimbabwe.

Ben

BEN FREETH - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

THE MIKE CAMPBELL FOUNDATION 

Zimbabweans light the flame of hope during the prayer vigil for Pastor Evan Mawarire

Photo courtesy Jan-Dirk Visagie

Quotation:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”  ~ Robert F. Kennedy

 

Mike Campbell Foundation

Registered charity number: 1144943

     Executive Director: Ben Freeth, MBE       Patrons: Archbishop Dr John Sentamu and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

                     Trustees: Claire Freeth (Chair), Elize Angula, Max Perkins, Zach Freeth, Alastair Jackson, Anthony Shillington

                          Mike Campbell Foundation, Woodgate, Oad Street, Borden, Nr Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8JX, England

Phone: 44 (0) 1795 842341    Mobile: 44 (0) 07756001400         Email: claire@mikecampbellfoundation.com

                                                                 www.mikecampbellfoundation.com

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The Mike Campbell Foundation seeks justice for victims of torture and abuse in Zimbabwe; Works towards the restoration of the rule of law; Assists those forced to live in extreme poverty with survival skills; Brings hope where there is only despair.

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