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Newsletter from The Mike Campbell Foundation

A fascinating "double sunset" in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Photo courtesy Peter Lowenstein

Dear Supporters, Friends and Family

It’s been such a busy and eventful time for us all at the Mike Campbell Foundation and we find it hard to believe the Zimbabwean elections are now less than one month away.

Elections: The date for the highly contested 2018 elections is Monday 30 July and the country is in election mode. The future depends largely on what transpires during the weeks ahead of poll. Demonstrations at the lack of electoral reforms have been allowed - and overwhelmingly supported, but electoral reforms haven't taken place and Zimbabweans still cannot vote outside the country. Rigging remains a distinct possibility. There is also a strong possibility of a run-off in September: Click Here 

Potential Presidential run-off election:

With a record 23 Presidential candidates, we anticipate that even with the real possibility of massive rigging, it will be difficult for any one candidate to secure more than the required 50 percent of the vote. This will mean a run-off election on Saturday 8 September 2018. Please pray that it's not violent - the horrific scars of the 2008 run-off still remain. 

Role of the military: The military have consolidated their positions in many of the key organs of state after the coup in November 2017. However, we remain hopeful that there is still a chance it will be possible for people to exercise their desire for change. The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)'s Tony Reeler has pointed out that chances of genuine free and fair elections are remote, especially after the November takeover. "The military has very strong interests and as such cannot accept any outcome not in their favour," he said. To read the full article Click Here 

Royal Geographical Society event: The impressive line-up for our Zimbabwe update presentation at The Royal Geographical Society in London on Tuesday 9 October 2018 includes the Paramount Chief of the Ndebele people in Zimbabwe, the BBC's Africa correspondent, Fergal Keane, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and our executive director, Ben Freeth. It will be chaired by Kate Hoey MP. Please diarise to book Saturday 1 September 2018 when tickets go on sale. £10 per ticket, students £5.

Justice Issues: We continue to seek justice and fair compensation for the loss of farmers' farms and livelihoods, and to stop the ongoing farm seizures that have been ravaging the economy. The government illegally stole commerical farmers' businesses, livelihoods and homes, as well as those of their workers. Countless lives were wrecked, thousands were brutalised and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, destroying the agro-based economy.

Former president Jacob Zuma court case: The date for the appeal made by South Africa's new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, regarding our excellent judgment against former President Jacob Zuma for his role in unilaterally closing down the regional human rights court, the SADC Tribunal, has been set for Thursday 30 August 2018 before a full bench of South Africa's Constitutional Court. Click Here

Open - Pollinated Seed project: Harvesting is complete and we are aiming to provide another 4,000 needy families with "feed a family for a year" packs of open-pollinated maize seed from our pilot seed project this year. We will also be able to give out a limited amount of cowpea seed from our crop rotation that will add protein to poor Zimbabweans' diets, as well as having enriched the soil with nitrogen. 

Rainfall concerns: We had a drought period in January 2018 which, due to poor farming practices nationally, will result in another maize shortfall. However, we were delighted that many of our trainee "foundations farmers", using our conservation tillage principles, were able to grow and reap crops to feed their families. Zimbabwe has suffered food shortages since 2001, the year after the farm invasions began.

Foundations for Farming: Last month we held a conservation agriculture course for a diverse group of 27 people, including former farm workers, a local chief and Christian community leaders, at the Foundations for Farming head office in Harare. This extended course also covered family, finance (Money Map) and Alpha training. To date we have trained close to a thousand needy people since our programme began in 2012.

School fees: Our project to pay school fees for children of destitute farm workers, both primary and secondary school level, continues well. For the final term of 2017, we paid school fees for 106 children and as of the end of June this year we are now paying for 203 children. In a touching  'thank you' letter, a Grade 6 student told us he is "very much pleased" he is going to school, is doing "very brightly in class" and wants " to be a doctor if God bless me..."

Facebook: Please follow developments in Zimbabwe on our Facebook page which is generating a great deal of interest and interaction from people in-country and around the world, including the Diaspora. Recent posts include updates on the explosion at a ZANU PF rally in Bulawayo during which President Mnangagwa narrowly escaped injury, and a report into the missing diamond revenues by Global Witness. Click Here

New MCF Website: Our new website is nearing completion and we will inform you as soon as it's ready for viewing. In the meantime, we continue to update our current website and will archive all the reference material collected since the MCF was launched in September 2011. Feedback indicates that it is widely used by universities worldwide as well as other researchers and the media. Click Here

Fundraiser: We'd like to thank everyone who supported Josh Mostert and Josh Freeth's dramatic 3Peaks4Justice challenge last month to raise funds for the MCF's justice projects. With the help of their 5-man support team, two of whom also made it within the 24-hour time frame, they climbed Mount Snowdon (Wales), Scafell Pike (England) and Ben Nevis (Scotland) in 23 hours with just one hour to spare. They raised an amazing £1,760.48 and were in the top 3% of JustGiving fundraisers out of 53,599 for June. To read the blog of their climb. Click Here 

Lastly, we are looking for a part-time UK-based Fundraising Manager and a part-time UK-based Operations Manager. If you have a keen interest in Zimbabwe and would be interested in finding out more, please either phone or e-mail me – contact details below.

Please continue to pray particularly for the imminent elections on Monday 30 July 2018.

Once again, our sincere thanks for your ongoing support and encouragement.

May God bless you all.


Claire Freeth - Chairman

"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."Micah 6 v 8