Deposed MDC-UK Chairman's organisation admits "humiliating" Tsvangirai

BIRMINGHAM, UK (BBC) – A member of the deposed MDC-UK Chairman Ephraim Tapa's outfit Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) confirmed the organisation was behind the booing of Morgan Tsvangirai at Southwalk Cathdedral.

It is believed the same group is behind the chaos in the new ZAPU-UK and they have been meandering between Arthur Mutambara and Makoni’s outfits.

A few weeks ago, the group was ousted in the new ZAPU-UK Branch when they tried to depose interim Chairman Nickolas Ndebele with plans to replacing him with Tichaona Dauramanzi.

Batson Chapata Regional co-ordinator of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) in Birmingham, UK was bragging on Monday in an interview with the BBC.

On Saturday he travelled to London to express his frustration toward visiting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was speaking at an event in Southwark Cathedral, London.

Mr Tsvangirai was booed after he told Zimbabwean exiles that they should return home to help rebuild the nation.

I am not pleased. Not after what we heard from Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s address was repeatedly interrupted by jeering and chanting

I’ve been talking to a lot of people and they are not happy.

They say Morgan Tsvangirai has sold them out. He has been sent here by Mugabe to beg for money.

For him to come here and use his visit to say all those good things about Mugabe and talk about "putting the past behind us".

I was really hurt by that. I was angry.

I am a victim of torture – and if I was to go back to Zimbabwe I have fears and nightmares of that happening to me again.

I also lost my mother. She was beaten – she was very old.

Many other Zimbabweans have lost brothers and sisters.

The people who did this to our relatives – they are still free.

So for someone like Tsvangirai to say these things is very worrying.

I think he’s a hypocrite.

After his visit, I don’t think he’s going to have any supporters in the UK.

I’ve spoken to many people in the UK who don’t want anything to do with him. He has lost us.

When power-sharing began we were happy – we were backing Tsvangirai all the way.

I attended rallies for the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) here in the UK.

But as for now, I’d say he is very poor, very disappointing.

If he was concerned about Zimbabweans living in the UK, he could have asked us how we feel instead of telling us to come home.

He should be open to our views because right now we are the people who can see what is happening in our country. The people in Zimbabwe cannot speak out.

Running away

When I was in Harare, I was imprisoned for one year.

You don’t know what’s happening to you.

They torture you and force you to confess things you don’t really know about.

They accuse you of theft, burglary.

There was no food. I saw three people dying in front of my face.

To me it was miracle of God that I was released.

That was early 1999. I left Zimbabwe in 2001. I had to find a way out.

I was running away from ill treatment. I applied for asylum here in the UK and I am now living in Birmingham.

Can I see myself returning to Zimbabwe?

I would if I could.

But no. Not while Zanu-PF are in power.

Mr Tsvangirai knows that signing the power-sharing deal was wrong.

But now he’s trying to pretend to the whole world that it is working. No chance.

The economy, the farming – the problems are still going on.

We don’t know where Zimbabwe’s going to end up. There are so many things that could happen.

Today I heard that Gordon Brown has donated an extra £5m in aid.

That’s good, but will the money get there?

I fear the government is going to go to those aid agencies and ask for the money.

They are not in a position to say no. It has happened in the past.

I’d have been happier if Mr Tsvangirai had arranged for contractors to come and do development work and the aid money had been paid directly to them.

But I think he wants to control the money. That’s not good enough.

Broken trust

Perhaps he thinks that if people from the UK and the US return to Zimbabwe, he can ask for money for them, to help them get jobs.

How can he win us back?

By not sharing power with Mugabe.

By really showing us that Zimbabwe has turned around.

But people don’t trust him now.

It’s going to be very hard for him.

Some in the MDC-UK leadership blamed former Chairperson of MDC UK, Ephraim Tapa’s pressure group Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR), and Rose Benton’s Zimbabwe Vigil, of sabotaging the Prime Minister’s address.

Another group, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interface, said it welcomed Tsvangirai’s call for Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom to consider going back home and deeply regretted “the appalling disruptive behaviour by a special interest group who disrupted the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Diaspora.”

However, Benton denied orchestrating the protests and said what happened was a spontaneous response by the Zimbabweans present, who felt really strongly about being asked to go back home when it is obvious that it is still not safe and human rights abuses are continuing.

She told SW Radio Africa: “I don’t think we are that powerful. I think it was a spontaneous response from the Diaspora.”

“There were ROHR members, there were Vigil members, there were MDC members and when you look at the pictures of the people protesting there were a wide variety of Zimbabweans.”

Benton said the fear is that the Prime Minister’s comments could be picked up by the British government as a signal that the situation had changed, when it really has not changed at all. She said there are many Zimbabweans applying for asylum and they are aware that if they are sent back home they will be returning to a very uncertain and impossible future in Zimbabwe.

Ephraim Tapa the leader of ROHR is the new Lovemore Madhuku of UK – "Intellectually" opposing anything for the love of Donor money at the expense of unsuspecting poor folks.

Zim-Vigil is another outfit snaring and ripping off innocent asylum seekers in the UK, call them for a gathering at the Zimbabwe House every Saturday, make them sing pro-MDC songs with drum beatings for photo shoots, and use the photos for asylum claims, the organisers then go about denouncing the MDC in every other forum.

Even some well known Zanu PF thugs have been seen on so called Zim-Vigil gatherings at The Zimbabwe House, in London, dressed in MDC regalia, clutching at digital cameras.

In February, this year, former MDC UK Chairman, Ephraim Tapa scoffed at Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai calling him an ill-witted politician who has no confidence in himself.

While speaking to an online publication, the ZimEye as he seemed to be opening up his heart, Tapa narrated:

‘There was one time when Tsvangirai came to England, during which time I was chairman, and while driving Morgan around, I decided to put him to the test. I started:

Sheff, haiwa mazuva ano mava kugona

Zvamaimboita ku ZCTU zviya has become far surpassed ne zvamava kuita mazuva ano –Sheff, oh, these days you are now performing excellently. What you used to do at ZCTU, although we used to admire, has become far surpassed by your most recent "grooves"

Tapa went on narrating his ‘encounter ’

‘Morgan then all of a sudden shouted from the back seat:

"Shuwa, shuwa, shuwa!? – is that true, is that true, is that true!?"

‘HaChina confidence, haChina confidence! – It has no confidence at all’ Tapa said as if calling Tsvangirai an animal while speaking to our reporter.

Tapa has also criticised Tsvangirai’s latest moves saying that he should have formed a remote government from Botswana instead of entering into a coalition government with Robert Mugabe.

The ousted MDC UK Chairman also launched out an online publicity strategy to settle scores with his former boss, after Lovemore Moyo, the new Speaker of Zimbabwe’s parliament under Tsvangirai’s instructions disbanded his committee in late 2007.

Tapa leads a protest organisation, ‘Restoration of Human Rights’ (ROHR) which he launched while he was still MDC Chairman. In the same vein as failed presidential candidate Simba Makoni, Ephraim Tapa claims he has ‘the magic formula for the Zimbabwean problem’.

The disgraced ex-MDC Chairman, then repeatedly begged the online publication ZimEye to remove an article in which he insulted Zimbabwe’s Prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Ephraim Tapa made repeated calls to the ZimEye requesting the publication to remove his anti-Tsvangirai article in which he labelled Tsvangirai ‘an ill-witted politician who has no confidence in himself’. Tapa has categorically denied having in any way insulted Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister. He said:

‘My Christian values do not allow me to say such things. But what I do agree to have done is to contest on ideologies. So in that case if the article was written like that, then it is offending even to me. As if threatening ZimEye with legal action, Tapa then ordered our reporter to ‘remove the article’

When asked by ZimEye reporter,’ are you now suggesting that we fabricated this story?’ Tapa replied:

‘That conversation yatakaita ka iyo,which we had…was a private conversation. OK. And I did not give anyone authority to publish it.’ After this, the ROHR leader then quietly admitted insulting Morgan Tsvangirai.

However, immediately after this, Tapa went on to debate his way and ’stretching his tongue’ further to call our reporter his ‘best friend’ Our reporter and Tapa are strangers, having had only two interviews over a one month-space period in October last year.

At the end of the conversation, the former MDC chairman staged another persuasive twist when he began to describe his relationship with ZimEye as that between husband and wife, saying there are certain things that are ’spoken in the house which should not be made known to the rest of the world.’

On Saturday, Tapa also called for a demonstration at Zimbabwe House in London, claiming to protest against the Zimbabwean government after Morgan Tsvangirai’s accident. The MDC has distanced itself from this protest saying that Mr Tapa is acting on his own accord.

After its ouster as MDC executive the Ephraim Tapa led MDC UK executive vowed to defy the party’s national chairman, Lovemore Moyo, who dissolved the structure citing ceaseless in-fighting.

Moyo is the national chairman of the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Moyo was accused of "nepotism" and abuse of the MDC constitution by Ephraim Tapa, the then chairman of the deposed executive.

Tapa blasted: "We are talking here of a chairman who came to save the political lives of his acquaintances. We are not accepting that and the manner in which it was done was unconstitutional.

"This whole thing was a cooked up thing and that is why the membership of the MDC in the UK is saying ‘No’."

At the time Tapa claimed a revolt was imminent among the MDC membership in the UK, even suggesting that some were calling for the formation of a new party.

But Moyo, in an interview with AfrosoundsFM’s Zimbabwe programme, said he had the constitutional authority to make the changes.

He said: "I didn’t just come to dissolve the UK structure. I met the youth executive first to find out their views and also their concerns. I also met the women’s executive and also they expressed their concerns, and also had their own point of view about problems here in the UK. I then met what I would say are the owners of the party, that is the branches themselves, where again I engaged them in a consultative meeting.