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ZimRights under siege

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) is under siege from former members of the association who are planning to form a splinter group.

Okay Machisa the Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
Okay Machisa the Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)

The development comes after USAid said last week it had withdrawn funding citing financial irregularities. ZimRights has vehemently denied accusations of embezzlement of funds.

A US embassy spokesperson said there had been “misuse of US funding by local Zimbabwean partners…we did have to cut some funding.” 

The embassy did not provide clarity on the detail of the allegations, process and spread of respective responsibilities.

Armed with this information released by USAid the ZimRights former members and others who are still active have formed a social media group that is calling for action,  planning to besiege the ZimRights offices on Monday for a demonstration.

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The members are, however, divided over which action to take.

“I think it is very fair to call the director (Okay Machisa) for a crisis meeting so he explains the allegations and ask to see the detailed correspondence from USAid and then take it from there,” said one of the members in the social group.

Another said: “Machisa is likely to refuse seeing us. If that happens, it is the best outcome because he could have clearly undermined the membership, hence the reason to organise an Extra Ordinary AGM without the involvement of the secretariat — but we need people.”

Members of the group, especially the ring leaders did not want to give much when the Daily News contacted them yesterday, with most denying any involvement.

A founding member of ZimRights said: “I am an old woman now and I do not want trouble at the moment, this is all about people wanting power. Why don’t you leave me alone until after the elections? This is a hot issue and I am also disturbed.”

Reached for comment, Machisa said he had caught wind of the plan.

“Yes, there are some former members who have seen a window of opportunity because of the USAid announcement and they plan to hijack the project,” he said.

ZimRights was instrumental in voter education through road shows, radio talk shows and community engagements. Daily News