Encouraged by widespread coverage in the British press, more than 60 exiled Zimbabweans and supporters last Friday took part in a protest outside a clinic in Nottingham run by a Zimbabwean immigrant doctor who has seized one of the last white-owned farms in Zimbabwe.
Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro, a British citizen, claims that the Mugabe regime told him he could have the farm although he has been resident in England for more than 15 years. The farm had been besieged by hired thugs for months but armed police forced their way in on 29th January and forcibly removed the owner Zimbabwean-born Phillip Rankin.
Demonstrators were not surprised to see a notice on the front door saying the clinic was closed because of ‘unforeseen circumstances’. But people were in the building because someone from the clinic called the police and complained we were taking pictures of them through the window. We replied that pictures were being taken of us from the clinic.
Rashiwe Bayisayi posted the following through the clinic’s letter box:
Letter to Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro of the Willows Medical Centre, Nottingham
‘As fellow Zimbabweans we wish to express our disgust at your abuse of British hospitality. You work as a doctor for the NHS but feel free to steal a white-owned farm in Zimbabwe inyour spare time.
We have tried to meet you to discuss this matter but all we got were lies, evasion and legal threats. So we return to your clinic to draw the attention of your patients and the wider community to your greed and hypocrisy.
If you wanted to have a farm in Zimbabwe why are you here? Get out of the UK and don’t come back.
On Wednesday we put the following petition online. Within hours it had drawn an enormous response.
Revoke the citizenship of a British doctor who has seized a Zimbabwean farm
Zimbabweans in the UK and sympathisers are appalled by the behaviour of Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife who run a clinic in Nottingham. He is a British citizen yet he has illegally seized afarm in Zimbabwe owned by a white Zimbabwean farmer who bought it with the approval of Mugabe.
The Nyatsuros are connected to Grace Mugabe. Why should a British doctor want a farm in Zimbabwe when he is in full-time employment here and has no known farming expertise? We ask that Dr Nyatsuro’s citizenship is revoked on the grounds that it was obtained by means of ‘fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact’ (file:///Users/GG/Downloads/SN06820%20(1).pdf). We also question his suitability to run an NHS clinic in Nottingham while farming in Zimbabwe.’
Many motorists hooted in support of the demonstration when they drove past and the Vigil engaged many local people about the issue. We have already written to the local NHS Commissioning Group drawing attention to the matter with copies to the General Medical Council and the Department of Health.
Ironically another white farmer has also been driven off the land. But we have no sympathy for this farmer, Yvonne Goddard. She had been funding Zanu PF until the party bigwigs simply decided to take everything – a fate we fully expect to be visited on them in due course.
Among those who took part in the Nottingham demonstration were: Arnold Dube, Audry Chamangira, Barbara Kachidza, Benjamin Chigamba, Benjamin Semwayo, Blessing Kaseke, Catherine Musa. Cephas Maswoswa, Chamunorwa Chisuko, Charles Dumisani Ndlovu, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Danny Kadiki, Dennis Benton. Edward Murota, Elector Zvorwadza, Ellah Mhere, Enniah Dube, Ephraim Tapa, Esther Nyambi, Esther Munyira, Etines Kapiya, Flemming Diza, Fungisai Mupandira, Gladys Muduve, Hilda Gwesele, Irvine Huni, Jackson Magaya, Janemary Mapfumo. Jean Kawara, Joana Kwenda, John Burke, John Chipudhla, Jonathan Kariwoh, Julius Tanyaradzana Matera, Linton Magume, Marjory Kunaka, Mercy Chapepa, Minienhle Sibanda, Moline Nyabonda, Nicodimus Muganhu, Nobukhosi Moyo, Patricia Masamba, Paul Chipamhadze, Percy Chagwiza. Phylis Magejo, Piyo Choga, Rashiwe Bayisayi, Reuben Waretsa, Rose Benton, Rosemary Mupunga, Sally Mutseyami, Sharon Moyo, Sharon Zimuto, Simba Chengeta, Taurayi Tsandukwa, Tecla Bandawe Thulani Chagwiza, Tino Mashonganyika, Yvonne Makombe, Zenzo Siziba and Zondiwe Gumede. Thanks to Enniah Dube and Catherine Musa for getting people to sign the demonstration register and petition.
At our regular action forum after the Vigil it was agreed to hold another demonstration outside the clinic on Friday 26th February. In the meantime Zimbabweans living locally will continue to leaflet the areas around Dr Nyatsuro’s clinic and home. We are planning to submit the paper petition to 10 Downing Street on Saturday 27th February.
Today we marked eleven months since human rights activist Itai Dzamara was abducted. Nothing has been heard of him since.
We were saddened to hear of the death of Vigil founder member Sue Shaw. She was a faithful supporter until she became ill some years ago.
Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Isabell Gwatidzo, Kevin Gondo, Vimbayi Karumbidza, Esther Munyira, Patricia Nyawo, Rashiwe Bayisayi and Fungayi Mabhunu. Thanks to Catherine Musa who, with the help of Isabell andVimbayi, looked after the front table. Thanks also to Rashiwe for serving the food provided by ROHR Central London branch to raise funds. Another member of the branch, Chipo Parirenyatwa, organised a lucky dip. The branch raised over £100.
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: 42 signed the register.