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Zimbabwe crisis coalition draws crowds in Toronto
Crisis 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 Canada.

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 in Zimbabwe.
  • 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 resources.

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 heart.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe fact sheet

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