A Bulawayo member Susan Sango was arrested early 16 September 2015 by police carrying a 27 July 2015 warrant of arrest for a 2009 arrest. Another member Maria Tshamala was arrested and released on Monday 14 September on the same case and told to bring her co- accused to appear in court on 28 September 2014. Susan Sango appeared in court 1 under Magistrate Mushove who ruled that Susan should not be detained and she was released from custody. The Magistrate recognised that the warrants of arrest were erroneously issues and all warrants are therefore cancelled. If the state is to proceed it must proceed by way of summons only after it has the case in order.
WOZA believe this is blatant harassment based on WOZA protests to the Bulawayo Mayor and Minister Kasukuwere Harare office on 9 September 2015. Additionally WOZA criticised the First lady for distributing looted goods to party members at a Zanu PF rally.
Police have restrained themselves from arrests during the protest but WOZA believe this is covert harassment and an attempt to strike fear in members to deny the right to protest. The arrest of Susan and six members went through the magistrate’s court on 2009 and 2010 and went to the Supreme Court as a constitutional challenge.
Additionally since this arrest in 2009, WOZA challenged and obtained a ruling in 26 November 2010 that their arrest was unlawful under section 37 of the Public Order Security Act. The case was taken by Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu for a 16th October, 2008 protest.
Seven members are arrest during a peaceful protest on 17 June 2009. Badly beaten they are denied medical attention and detained. They are charged under section 37 1 A of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, (sections of the Public Order Security act).
On 19 June 2009 seven members arrested are released on bail of USD 20 each.
They are remanded out of custody to 3rd July 2009 and have to report to their nearest police station every Friday.
They appeared in Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court but the state was not prepared with either the docket or state witnesses. They are further remanded out of custody until 22nd July.
On 22 July 2009 they appeared again in Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court and the case is postponed to 19th October. Defence lawyer, Kossam Ncube, notified the court of his intention to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the charges. The activists are charged under Section 37 1 A of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act – ‘disturbing the peace, security or order of the public’.
On 6th January 2010 they appear and lawyer expects a ruling for removal off remand s the case has been received by the Supreme Court. The ruling was not ready however and so the group was further remanded to 12th January.
On 12 January 2010 the magistrate was not available and so the group was again further remanded to 25th January and were finally removed off remand 25 February 2010.
Additionally Zimbabwe now has a new Constitution allowing the right to petition and protest which is ignored by this arrest.