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NANGO Chairperson meets protest singer Viomak


On 18 November 2009, the Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) hosted a conference in Brussels for all actors interested in the development of Zimbabwe.

On her way back from the conference NANGO chairperson Dadirai Chikwengo made a two day stop in Britain where she was met and hosted by protest singer cum political activist Viomak.

As indicated on the ZEN (Zimbabwe Europe Network) website, the donor re-engagement conference provided a platform for representatives of Zimbabwean civil society to put forward their views and discuss the role the international community should play in ending the crisis in Zimbabwe.
The agenda of the Brussels meeting gave a platform for the European Commission to make a presentation on its current policies regarding Zimbabwe and elaborated on the steps required to normalise relations with the Government of Zimbabwe. 
Dadirai Chikwengo analyzed developments over the past month and looked at scenarios for ways to move forward as seen by Zimbabwe's non governmental organisations. Ms Chikwengo was arrested shortly after the MDC announced its decision to disengage from the Government of National Unity.
According to various media reports, on October 24, 2009, Ms. Dadirai Chikwengo and Mr. Cephas Zinhumwe were arrested at the airport of Victoria Falls by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Central Organisation after participating in the Annual NGO Directors Summer School, allegedly for contravening the Public Order and Security Act by holding a “public and/or political meeting without police clearance”.
On October 27, 2009, they were remanded out of custody on a US$ 100 bail each, following decision of Victoria Falls Magistrate Richard Ramaboea. Charged with contravening Section 25(1)(b) of the Public Order and Security Act or allegedly failing to notify the regulating authority of an intention to hold a "public political gathering", Ms. Dadirai Chikwengo and Mr. Cephas Zinhumwe will appear in court again on November 25, 2009.
Dadirai Chikwengo, who is also Tearfund’s policy officer for Zimbabwe showed Viomak some scars of mosquito bites on her legs and back whilst explaining how she was exposed to terrible conditions in a cell.
The two human rights defenders discussed the problems facing mainly women human rights defenders in Zimbabwe with Dadirai Chikwengo sharing that a documentary discussing such problems is something she was looking forward to work on in future. A name that quickly came to Ms Chikwengo's mind is that of Jestina Mukoko ,the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project and a  campaigner for human rights, who was  abducted and tortured for catalogueing cases of murder, rape and torture in Zimbabwe.
The protest singer who is ready to officially release two music albums specifically themed for girls and women issues learnt that there was urgent need to produce more women albums as some of the problems facing Zimbabwean women can be partly resolved through music. The two agreed to work together and in collaboration with other human rights defenders to highlight  the issues affecting women development whilst mapping the best way forward to empower disadvantaged Zimbabwe women artistically and how music can be used to spread messages of hope and encouragement.
Some issues of concern in Zimbabwe as we speak today are national healing and constitution. It will be great to consider lyrics to that effect,"said Ms Chikwengo.
Viomak who took the idea seriously confirmed that she will consider releasing songs on national healing and the constitution as soon as possible.
“Zimbabwean women need to learn to define their problems through music and other art forms. They don’t need men to empower them but women empowerment should be about women empowering themselves and not about men empowering women,” said Viomak.

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