UK Asylum for £120, talk to ROHR Zim
By Brilliant Pongo
A Zimbabwean human rights pressure group Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is at the centre of an asylum storm in the United Kingdom after allegations that they are charging £120 annual subscriptions for ‘letters of activity’ to be used in asylum claims.
Led by expelled former MDC UK Chairman Ephraim Tapa, ROHR has a subscription policy of £10 per month but will not write any confirmation letters for anyone who has not been a member for one year. But pay the 12 month subscription in advance you can get the letter it is alleged.
Tapa runs the organisation from the UK where he does most of the fundraising while foot soldiers like Stanlic Zvorwadza and Edgar Chikuvire do most of the donkey work in Zimbabwe, participating in demonstrations here and there to build prominence and maintain visibility.
For an organisation ‘restoring human rights in Zimbabwe’ questions have been asked why ROHR is opening branches in every major UK city. Branches have been opened in Birmingham, Derby, Milton Keynes and recently West Bromwich. The natural question to ask is what are these members meant to be doing in the UK?
Nehanda Radio spoke to some propsective members of ROHR during the opening of the West Bromwich branch on the 6th of June this year and they expressed concern at the high subscription fees. They said they were not allowed to work in the UK and would struggle to raise the money demanded by the organisation.
Defending the subscriptions Tapa claimed they had a lot of financially demanding activities in Zimbabwe including fees for lawyers especially when they sued Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last year for imposing cash withdrawal limits. He claimed they owed the lawyer US$17 000. A similar court application in the UK would cost around US$2000.
A UK Home Office spokesman told us they were aware of the controversy surrounding ROHR but were not at liberty to disclose their internal mechanism for dealing with faudulent asylum applications. Meanwhile the desperate asylum seeker is forced to fork out £120 from a group not really interested in human rights in Zimbabwe but making money.