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crisis coalition draws crowds in Toronto
in Zimbabwe Coalition
September 25, 2004
"Do not be so despondent
that you do not think you can transform society! Nor so naive that you
think you can do so only with critical analysis." - Brian Kagoro, Chairperson,
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
On September 25 at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church in downtown Toronto
Canada, Brian Kagoro, the Chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
spoke to a meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe Inter-Agency Reference Group
in Canada (ZimRef) which includes Amnesty International Canada, OXFAM
Canada, Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression,
Defence for Children International Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada,
United Church of Canada, AfricaFiles, Rooftops, and Partnership Africa
The meeting drew a crowd of the Zimbabwean diaspora in Toronto and ZimRef
agency members that lasted 3 hours and included a message from Mr. Kagoro,
questions, dialogue, discussion and renewal.
Highlights of Brian's talk included:
- Canada and the
International Community has an important role to play in suggesting
ways the fair election principles approved by SADC can be implemented
for the 2005 elections with practical monitoring and in the creation
of a compliance document.
- NGO's in Canada
and the International Community have an important role in building links
with NGO's in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania and other SADC
members to build solidarity and advocate against the upcoming NGO Bill
which will prevent foreign funding of human rights work and prevent
human rights organizations in Zimbabwe from registering as NGO's.
- NGO's in Zimbabwe
and through their links with external NGO's provide a picture to the
world on food, HIV/AIDS, health and social services and in many cases
provide these services saving the Zimbabwean government millions. NGO's
need to work with the African Union and the SADC to maintain these services
- The Zimbabwean
diaspora is huge, estimated at 3 million or one quarter of all Zimbabweans
and found in South Africa, UK, North America and elsewhere.
- The diaspora has
a huge role to play in defining the values of a post crisis Zimbabwe,
influencing the election, even establishing a way to vote. The vast
diaspora can be a powerful voice and vision.
- The diaspora can
build a strong external pro-democracy movement to dialogue with the
internal pro-democracy movement on how to marshall material and intellectual
Mr. Kagoro's message
stimulated great discussion. ZimRef thanked Brian for coming to Toronto
with this heartening message, but it was Brian who thanked the agencies
and the audience for coming out on a warm Saturday night and giving him
Visit the Crisis in
Zimbabwe fact sheet
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