Chairperson, Lucia Dube, appraises achievements during challenging 2016
Zimbabwe Diaspora Focus Group (ZDFG}, a coalition of UK based Zimbabwean organisations, ended 2016 with increased community interactions and engagements on issues affecting us as diaspora Zimbabweans.
We also experienced challenges where a number of our colleagues were randomly picked, detained and possibly removed. However, through sharing information and working together in a collaborative way, we managed to stop some of the deportations.
Regrettably, we also experienced a rise in the number of deaths within the Zimbabwe community in the UK.
I wish to thank you all for actively campaigning to stop deportations of our fellow Zimbabweans and for providing emotional support to those who lost their loved ones. In addition, Social Media Groups were formed around 11 portfolios of ZDFG and we will continue to explore more avenues of interaction.
We also held a few meetings with Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) discussing issues pertaining to our interests as a diaspora community in UK.
Some of the previous engagement meetings were chaired by HM Ambassador Laing who gave an update on diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and UK. The Department for International Development (DfID) also gave an update on their current activities in Zimbabwe including their vision for the next 5 Years.
ZDFG was also represented at Chatham House where the Zimbabwe government delegation and other civil society leaders gave talks on the re-engagement processes in Zimbabwe.
As we begin 2017, it is imperative that we strategically converge to debate policy issues that expand our interest. We plan to develop more focussed engagements with different stakeholders via appropriate portfolios.
For example, if we need to engage HMG on Development Aid, then the ZDFG Charities Portfolio will be the appropriate Portfolio to shoulder that responsibility. In our last engagement meeting with the FCO, we requested certain arms of HMG to be represented in our future engagements. including Home Office, DfID and Africa ministry.
ZDFG will continue to engage Zimbabweans as and when necessary on policy issues that affect their stay in the UK and on development issues in Zimbabwe.
May I also remind everyone that this platform is apolitical and therefore we respect diverging views. However, we do encourage leaders to consult their constituencies widely so that people have a say on matters that concern their livelihoods.
As we are all aware, ZDFG is led by volunteers who provide their valuable time and resources to make things happen. We urge people to offer their skills and abilities where there is a need.
ZDFG is made up of the following portfolios for engaging diaspora Zimbabweans:
ZDFG Arts and Culture
ZDFG Business Community
ZDFG Community Links
ZDFG Faith and Religious Groups
ZDFG Human Rights
ZDFG Immigration and Asylum
ZDFG Think Tanks/Researchers/Academics
We are guided by Terms of Reference that were adopted on the 21st August 2010. Organisations or individuals are free to join portfolios of their choice. May I also urge members that when they post messages or articles on these forums, they should ensure that content is authentic and appropriate in order to facilitate effective debates.
Finally, I would like to personally thank you all for the open and mature debates that we undertook in 2016. We are the drivers to our own destiny and we need to be united to reach that destiny.
- ZDFG was formed on the 19th February 2010 at Ilford, in London. Now in its 7th Year, the group continues to offer Zimbabweans a platform to work collaboratively and in a coordinated way, on issues that affect their stay in the UK as well as sharing ideas which contribute to the development of Zimbabwe.