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WOZA to vote YES in Constiutional Referendum

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have conducted 600 workshops in the last 2 weeks to familiarise members with the 15 February 2013 Draft Constitution. The workshops were conducted in Bulawayo, Harare and rural Matabeleland with participation of 16 562 members with 18 percent of those being male members. Time and resources did not permit the programme to be conducted on all 85000 members.

A feature of the workshop was an internally authored Draft Constitution Assessment tool. The tool prepared an overview as to 92 key demands that WOZA members have made over the last 3 years. Of the 92 demands, 60 were included in the Draft, 17 were partly acknowledged and 15 were not achieved. During the workshop, members were asked if they would be voting on 16th March 2013 and 100 percent said they would turn out on the day and vote YES for the Draft.

WOZA call on the government of national unity partners to walk the talk about zero tolerance for violence in all its forms and to ensure the police will act impartially to allow citizens to enjoy all their rights before during and after the referendum.

WOZA call on Zimbabweans to turn out in their millions and exercise their right to vote peacefully and to vote YES for the parliamentary select committee draft constitution.

Bulawayo member arrested and appears in Court

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.

Child HRDs deliver petition

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) child members accompanied by child mentors and national leadership delivered a petition to the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture at 1030am in Bulawayo 11 April 2017.
Two hundred and five children and 100 adults marched from the Bulawayo Public Library to the government complex Mhlahlandlela singing protest and religious songs.
At the complex the children submitted a petition and also recited poems bemoaning the state of education in Zimbabwe. The march dispersed peacefully at 11am with police continuing to monitor from a distance.
WOZA leadership promised that WOZA and partners would coordinate legal action against the Ministry should children be chased away from school when the term begins on 9th May 2017.
“The state has promised to progressively realise the right to education but has instead retrogressed causing hardship to parent and children alike through various fees and levy. They even withhold original birth certificates if parents’ don’t pay up.” They force parents to accept payment plans at the threat of debt collectors visiting their homes to repossess property. Debt collectors even interrogate children as to the property in their homes that can be taken. When parents finally pay up they are also paying the Debt collectors fee so the cost of Education has become for the privileged” said WOZA leader Jenni Williams

WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu criticised Minister Dokora for failing to pay the child per capita grant since 2013 election period. She said he should be ashamed of himself. “Dokora is failing to pay the child per capita grant but then coming with a new curriculum which demands parents buy laptops and smart phones. Something is not logical in all this”

Children asked why education a crime in Zimbabwe? They feel it is a crime to go to school because of the abuse they suffer at the hands of their teachers and then they are shouted at by stressed parents, responding harshly because they cant pay the payment demands of fees and levies children are made to bring home.

“My thoughts racing in my mind, thinking of the difficulties of being literate… Exhausted of learning, finding it hard to grasp all the information, Education has now become a crime for us children” said a child from Richmond in Bulawayo

WOZA leadership had formally invited the Zimbabwe Republic Police who came and observed a descent presence protecting the best interest of the children respecting their right to protest. Unfortunately the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission turned down the invitation to participate saying it had been handed over at short notice.

An elderly man watching the procession said that Education has become hard due to unemployment as most can’t pay up. A woman also a bystander agreed that a lot of payments are demanded by schools just as WOZA has explained. A woman at a hair dressing salon said this is the WOZA we know raising issues that matter to people on the street. A woman from Nkulumane said her children were also chased away from school.
holding placards high

Sisterhood Bond – English

Sisterhood Bond

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P. O. Box FM 701, Famona, Bulawayo
By Women for Women and with Women, across Race, Colour, Creed, Class or Political Persuasion. Empowering Women to be Courageous, Caring, Committed and in Communication with their Communities.



My name is …………………………………………………………………………………………

I give my word that I will strive to stand up in support of my sisters. I will give ‘her’ my hand in support as we struggle together towards our rightful place as equals in society. Working together, hand in hand, we shall bring Zimbabwe back to peace, justice and prosperity.

As the struggle continues, I will remember the following guidelines:

  1. To speak out and encourage other women to do the same, so that the female voice is heard. Women should no longer suffer silently.
  2. To participate in peaceful assembly and meetings to discuss our challenges and to act rather than complain.
  3. To be a comfortable shoulder to lean on or a listening ear. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’.
  4. To demonstrate love and courage in our homes and communities so that people can shake away fear.
  5. Women are the mothers of the nation and must demand that Dignity.
  6. To be a supporter of Non-violence so that people can see that problems can be solved peacefully.
  7. To seek out and be in solidarity with like-minded women.
  8. To be God fearing and encourage activities that promote spiritual health.
  9. To support Democratic participation with tolerance for differing views and opinions.
  10. “An injury to one is an injury to all”.

I give my word!

Signed: ………………………………………………………… Date: …………………………………

Witnessed by: ……………………………………… Witnessed by: ………………………………

Copyright © 2004

Chikurubi 14 remanded to trial on 26 August 2008

THE 14 members who had been arrested on 28 May during a peaceful procession were remanded to trial on 26 August in Harare Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning.

Passports that had been confiscated as part of bail conditions were returned and all reporting conditions were removed. The trial was to have been held on 29 July but was postponed as the State was not ready.

On 15th July, two members charged with distributing materials likely to cause a breach of the peace in Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court were remanded to 16 September as, once again, the State was not ready to proceed to trial.

To read legal documents relating to the case against Jenni Williams and the 13 others, please look in the legal documents folder.

Trial of Williams and Mahlangu remanded to 26 February 2009

The trial of WOZA leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, on charges of disturbing the peace continued this morning before Magistrate Msipa following a hearing last week. Msipa was due to have handed down her ruling on whether to allow the trial to proceed or not on 27th January but had postponed her ruling to today, claiming that she had insufficient time to consult the law library.

Following the defence’s request for charges to be dismissed last week, Msipa denied the request saying that if the charges had been badly crafted the law contained ‘cures’ that could be used as the trial proceeded. Defence lawyer, Kossam Ncube, then requested a postponement to 26 February to be able to confer with his clients and prepare for trial. After hearing arguments against a postponement from the state prosecutor, Lovemore Chifamba, she requested a 15-minute adjournment to write her ruling.

Msipa returned saying that she was confused and parroted the exact argument used by Chifamba earlier that the trial should begin immediately. She hardly allowed Ncube to respond, interjecting with an emotional insistence that the trial proceed as the state was ready. She did allow the matter to be stood down to 11:15 however.

During the adjournment the defence lodged an appeal to the High Court, the basis of which being that Magistrate Msipa had refused to grant them time to consider their options. After the break, Msipa was presented with a copy of the application to the High Court. Once again the state prosecutor weighed in and insisted the Magistrate ignore the appeal saying that it was unprocedural and should have been a review, not an appeal. The Magistrate ruled however that the trial could not proceed until a ruling comes from the High Court.

Williams and Mahlangu were then remanded to 26th February 2009, and could end up being remanded until a ruling has been received from the High Court.

WOZA is concerned that events in court today are a further indication that in Zimbabwe justice is too often compromised upon the altar of political agendas. It is also more evidence that the SADC-mediated process is a farce with ZANU PF making no attempt to make concessions in the interests of moving forward. Furthermore hours of court and police time were wasted on a petty matter whilst more serious crimes go ignored or unheard. Starvation in the prisons is rife and yet no attempt is made to hear cases that could bring some relief to the dire humanitarian crisis in the prison system. In just the short time that WOZA was in court, 15 people were further remanded in custody without any attempt to hear their cases. It is therefore clear why the opposition parties insist that the office of Attorney General and ministries of Home Affairs and Justice be in the hands of impartial professionals.

Two WOZA members arrested and detained in Bulawayo for trying to speak to Headmistress

Two WOZA members, Patricia Ndlovu, aged 53, and Georgina Muzaza, aged 84, were arrested yesterday whilst trying to engage the Headmistress of Mpumelelo Primary School. They spent the night at Bulawayo Central Police Station last night. They are still in custody. They have been charged under Section 37 1 (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act – ‘participating in gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry’.

Members had gathered outside Mpumelelo Primary School in Mpopoma as part of the ongoing engagement with school authorities over unreasonable demands on parents from schools. The headmistress, Mrs Chibelu, kept the representatives waiting in her office whilst she called the police. The two women, both of whom have grandchildren attending Mpumelelo, were arrested outside the gates.

The arrested members were taken to Western Commonage Police Station where they were detained for two hours before being taken to Bulawayo Central Police. Attempts by defence lawyer, Kossam Ncube to get them released into his custody because of their age were denied by Detective Chief Inspector Mpofu of Law and Order Unit and they were detained overnight.

Meanwhile, WOZA parents met with school authorities at Godlwayo and Dumezweni Primary Schools in Pumula where they were assured that they will not send children away for non-payment. At Mahlabi Primary in Tshabalala, the representatives were also promised by the headmaster that no pupils would be sent home for failure to pay fees or civvies days.

In Mabutweni, the headmistresses at Ingubo and Insukamini Primary Schools welcomed the representative groups, listened to their concerns and received their petitions. Both authorities emphasized that they were not chasing any pupils for failure to pay fees as this was a directive from the Ministry of Education. The headmistress at Insukamini said they have civvies day once in a while and she would not chase any pupils if they did not have the money to pay. She highlighted that pupils in her school are not asked to purchase toiletries, stationery or sundries for the school. She commended the way members had gathered around the school in silence and sent in their representatives. She invited members who have children in the school to attend a parents meeting on 25 March.

Meanwhile, headmasters of two schools in Pumula that had been visited yesterday, Malindela and Amaswazi Primary Schools, called a meeting of all parents that had signed the petition and assured them that children would not be sent away from school for not bringing groceries or stationery.

WOZA is deeply concerned by the actions of the headmistress of Mpumelelo Primary School in calling the police when parents at her school merely wished to raise concerns with the school authorities. The arrest and detention of two women, one aged 84 years old, for wanting to discuss their concerns as parents with the headmaster of the school that their grandchildren attend is further evidence that very little has changed on the ground for ordinary Zimbabweans and is an outrage.

Please phone Bulawayo Central Police Station and ask Detective Chief Inspector Mpofu of Law and Order Unit why it is necessary to detain elderly women and demand their immediate release. +263 9 72515/61706/63061/68078

Williams and Mahlangu remanded to 7 December 2009

WOZA leaders. Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, appeared in Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court again this morning after their case was postponed from yesterday. They were once again remanded out of custody to 7 December 2009. Attempts by defence lawyer, Kossam Ncube to have the pair removed off remand were unsuccessful as the prosecutor stated that the case is too controversial to allow for that. He reluctantly agreed to a long remand to allow for the written ruling from the Supreme Court to be received. The Supreme Court had given a verbal ruling on 4th June that their arrest had been unlawful but is yet to provide a written ruling to that effect.

Tomorrow marks one year since the 16 October 2008 arrest of the pair following a peaceful demonstration calling on the government to provide food aid for all. They spent three weeks in Mlondolozi Prison just outside of Bulawayo before being released on bail. They have appeared in court on numerous occasions during the year. This ongoing demonstration of state harassment and intimidation against the human rights defenders is further proof of how little has changed for pro-democracy activists in Zimbabwe.

Bulawayo members released without appearing in Court

News Update – 6pm

The 174 members arrested in Bulawayo on Tuesday were finally released at 5 pm without appearing in court. Police ran out of delaying tactics when lawyers made ready a High Court application. The members were arrested on 13 February as they conducted a peaceful Valentines Day protest. As members were arrest in one protest another sprung up elsewhere – police officers confirmed arresting people at five different locations in the city where protests had sprung up.

Late yesterday, it had been understood that only seven would be charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and that the rest would be released, Police made an about turn and only released mothers with babies and minors, leaving 141 in custody for a second night.

Today as lawyers attending prepared to go to Court, the investigating officers indicated they had had ‘orders’ to charge everyone and take them to court. This meant preparing warned and cautioned statements from everyone. This process of course meant the 48-hour deadline, up at midday, was exceeded by several hours.

Finally at 5 pm today, the group was finally released – five hours after their 48-hour deadline had passed. The Prosecutor advised Law and Order officers to proceed by way of summons. Another factor is that once again no police officer is willing to write the necessary affidavit to allow evidence necessary to charge the activist.

However whilst we recognize that it is positive step for them to refuse to be used to convict innocent people, we appeal to police officers to help ‘ name and shame’ the senior police officer who shouted at Riot police not to dialogue with the activists at the scene but gave the order for the peaceful women and men to be beaten. We also deplore the manner in which those arrested were beaten as they ascended the staircase into the law and order department of Bulawayo Central. Those who had sustained injuries due to beatings on arrest and in custody have been taken to receive medical treatment.

It appears that the group has been charged under Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with Section 2(v) of the schedule to the Criminal Code – ‘employs any means whatsoever which are likely materially to interfere with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the public, or does any act which is likely to create a nuisance or obstruction’.

This morning, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) located Magodonga Mahlangu at Sauerstown Police Station. Monitors were dispatched to ensure she was not abducted and their presence ensured she was moved with the rest of the group to Bulawayo Central. She has been released and is also receiving medical treatment for the beatings that she received upon arrest.

The petty nastiness of the Zimbabwe Republic Police was again evident today. Having informed those on support yesterday that the breakfast feeding time had been changed to 5am, volunteers were mobilised to provide food at 5am but were kept waiting until 7am, the normal feeding time. A woman at Queens Park was consistently denied her ARV medication. Reports have also come in that several members were forced to eat the paper placards that they had been carrying during the demonstration – some of these read, ‘love can bring a brighter day’ and ‘From WOZA with love’. Despite the inability of some officers to choose love over hate, WOZA would like to salute those officers who did treat our members with respect and professionalism and who recognized that WOZA is fighting for a better future for ALL Zimbabweans.

Woza Moya!