via UK demand for expulsion of Zim doctor – The Zimbabwean 2.11.2015
The attempt by a British GP to seize a farm in Zimbabwe was condemned by Ephraim Tapa, founder member of the Zimbabwe Vigil and President of its sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR).
Ephraim was speaking after some 50 Zimbabwean exiles and supporters demonstrated during the week outside the clinic in Nottingham run by Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro who has been in the UK more than 10 years and has been given British citizenship. The activists displayed posters reading: ‘Down with farm looter Dr Nyatsuro’, ‘No to Mugabe supporters in UK’, ‘Dr Nyatsuro: closet racist’ and ‘Stop farm lootings in Zimbabwe’.
Ephraim accused Dr Nyatsuro of hypocrisy in trying to grab a farm from a white Zimbabwean farmer. In an interview with Voice of America he said that Dr Nyatsuro’s British citizenship must be revoked. ‘You can’t have it both ways. No to cronyism and no to tourism farming.’ Ephraim said the demonstrators would be back again unless Dr Nyatsuro dropped his attempt to steal the farm (see: http://www.voazimbabwe.com/content/zimbabweans-protest-over-doctors-attempt-to-take-over-white-farmers-land/3026371.html). Ephraim was also video-interviewed at the demonstration by Sally Mutseyami (see: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-jNDrZYdjg2Q2FYekdhT2ZKLWc/view?ts=563245a3).
Dr Nyatsuro’s wife Veronica, who is related to Grace Mugabe, is the clinic’s practice manager and angrily ordered one of the protesters off her property when he started handing out leaflets. She didn’t seem to have much grasp of property rights as he was on the pavement. He advised her to call the police which she did. Unfortunately for her the police didn’t support her effort to claim ownership of the pavement.
The demonstrator put up the following notice outside the entrance to the clinic: ‘Dr Nyatsuro: I am a white indigenous British citizen. Leave this clinic within 24 hours because I want it. I am not a doctor but you are not a farmer. Ask your relative Mugabe for compensation.’
The day before the demonstration someone calling herself Margaret Magwedi and sounding very much like Mrs Nyatsuro had phoned the people listed in the media release publicising the demonstration. She said she was from an organisation called ‘the Zimbabwe pressure group’ and wanted to attend the demonstration but was phoning us to advise that it was illegal and that the white farmer involved had gone to court and withdrawn his allegations and apologised.
A voice message from her reads: ‘I want to check what legal background do we have? Mr Rankin withdrew the allegations that he is locked up in the house and can’t get his medication and that people had come again. He has withdrawn those allegations from the high court and agreed to lying and paying the court costs. If we demonstrate it will be defamation of character of an innocent person. Not saying you shouldn’t do it but I just want you to look into that and speak to Mr Rankin and find out exactly what’s happening because you don’t want to be used to do something you shouldn’t be doing. And also might need to talk to the lawyers representing Mr Rankin. They will tell you there is no information. Because everyone now is shivering because they are being sued left right for defamation of character. The allegations were not true they were false. You might need to talk to your people – not saying you shouldn’t do it but try to find more information.’
We checked with people in Zimbabwe involved and these comments were exposed immediately as lies. The civil rights campaigner Ben Freeth responded by email: ‘Well done with all you are doing. I think you just need to tell the Nyatsuros that all they need to do is withdraw their thugs and allow Phil Rankin to farm. All Phil wishes is to be left in peace to farm. In a similar situation some time ago an American doctor with Zim roots tried to take De Rus farm in Chegutu. Her practice in the States suffered terribly at the outcry – until she withdrew any claim to the farm and completely backed off. All the very best for tomorrow!’ After further checks Ben emailed: ‘They had a bad morning this morning with the Nyatsoro’s paid thugs getting very abusive. There are about 15 or so of them. All Phil wants is to farm in peace. Presumably all the Nyatsoros want to do is do their slimming in peace too?’ (The clinic runs a slimming programme.)
After the protest Deidre Rankin communicated with our Facebook page as follows:
- Deidre Rankin: How did the protest go today. Seems various other tactics are now being used to get the farm… Plse speak to Ben for updates. Keep up the good work . . . and thank you.
- Zimbabwe Vigil: Hi Deidre. We just posted a demo report on the page wall. If you need any more info, please let us know. Will be sure to speak to Ben about any updates.
- Deidre Rankin: TATENDA to you all. Our family really appreciates your support against blatant racism in our beloved Zimbabwe.
- Zimbabwe Vigil: Thanks Deidre. Very happy to support you and your family.
- Deidre Rankin: You have been wonderful. The thugs are still there and really partied last night. But we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved somehow. I believe a journalist received threatening calls about defamation as some of you also did. Thanks again.
The incident confirms the Vigil’s fears that Zanu PF has become emboldened by the ease with which it can operate in the UK, where the Parliamentary leader of the popular Green Party, Caroline Lucas, is on record praising Mugabe.
The group we believe are working for Zanu PF to disrupt the Vigil were back again today. Known by our supporters as the Zanu Vigil we took some pictures of them and their expensive new car which can be seen on our flickr page labelled Zanu PF Disruption Vigil: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157660585079622. The photos of the actual Vigil can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157660199555610.
The disrupters haven’t bothered us recently but we suppose they are back because they have been infuriated by the wide publicity given to our Nottingham protest. We are writing to the police to distance ourselves from the aggressive way they importuned the public. The Zanu PF Vigil say they are planning a copycat demonstration at Dr Nyatsuro’s surgery in Nottingham – probably to reassure him of Zanu PF’s support. We ourselves will be back there on Friday 13th November if he hasn’t dropped his attempt to seize the farm by then.
- The Vigil was saddened to hear of the sudden death rof a good friend Barnabas Masvaure yesterday. He had been attending the Vigil for years. We were hoping to take a collection for his family but because of the Zanu disruption we were unable to do this. We will take a collection at our next Vigil.
- Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Barbara Kachidza, Bernadety Gumbanjera, Catherine Musa, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Clemence Munyukwi, Emmaculate Tshuma, Ephraim Tapa, Eugenia Mushonga, Farai Gumbanjera, Fungayi Mabhunu, Grace Rukure, Mncedisi Ndlovu, Pearl Shambare and Sharon Moyo. Thanks to Sharon for looking after the front table throughout the Vigil. Thanks also to those who stayed to the end to help pack up: Catherine Musa, Chipo Kamhunga, Dennis Benton, Ephraim Tapa, Flemming Diza, Fungayi Mabhunu, Ishmael Makina, Jean Kawara, Jeremy Mupeti, Lipi Mhlope, Patricia Masamba, Rashiwe Bayisayi, Rose Benton and Sharon Moyo.
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: 31 signed the register.