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WOZA MOYA November 2006

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) defines violence against women as ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, force or denial of freedom, whether happening in public or in private life.’

Women of Zimbabwe Arise and Men of Zimbabwe Arise invite all Zimbabweans to join in this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, from 25 November to 10 December. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international movement, which began in 1991. The dates 25 November (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day) were chosen in order to link violence against women and human rights and to show that such violence is an abuse of human rights.

This year, Zimbabwe will join the rest of the world in recognising 29 November, which is International Women Human Rights Defenders Day. OUR SPECIAL DAY!

It is a step forward to have the promises of the Domestic Violence Bill delivered and put an end to state-sponsored violence so that we can concentrate on rebuilding our country and saving lives…

edical News Today reports: “The life expectancy for women in Zimbabwe is 34 years, the lowest in the world, according to the World Health Organization‘s World Health Report 2006. Men in Zimbabwe have a life expectancy of 37, according to the report.”

Gender Violence in Zimbabwe
Women form 56% of the population in Zimbabwe and usually it is the mother who must provide food despite the tight budget. We women bear the burden of the economic hardship. A government official said recently that 60 per cent of all murders in Zimbabwe were a result of domestic violence, with the majority of them being women.

The campaign also comes after the passing of the Domestic Violence Bill in Zimbabwe. The Bill makes domestic violence a crime and covers areas like economic and mental abuse, threats and pestering. Cultural practices that shame women, such virginity testing, female genital damage, wife inheritance and the custom of offering young girls as payment in disputes between families, will become illegal.

Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS
According to international studies, violence against women, especially forced sex, increases women’s exposure to HIV infection. Violence and fear of violence limits a woman’s ability to discuss safe sexual behaviour, even in agreement. Women who are infected with HIV, or who are suspected to be infected, may also face violence and/or dumped. Fear of violence and shame can discourage women from seeking information on HIV/AIDS, getting tested for HIV, disclosing their HIV status and seeking treatment and counselling. Since violence can affect women’s willingness to be tested, it can also have a negative result on larger HIV control, treatment and prevention programmes.

There are three kinds of violence, including state-sponsored violence, that are causing Zimbabweans to die young: Violence of the FIST, Violence of the TONGUE and Violence of the HEART.

Help us to expose this violence and hold those who practice it accountable.

Advancing Human Rights
When WOZA was formed in 2003, the founders recognised that it is mothers who have to find a way to feed their children or to raise the morale in the home so that the family can be peaceful and happy. So they mobilised and prepared each other for the burden of state-sponsored violence and continue to demonstrate against the shortage of basic foods, as well as poor governance and our children’s right to education. Instead of addressing our issues, the government of Zimbabwe arrests us, beats us up and harasses us. All the defenders of WOZA and MOZA require are to fully exercise their right to Freedom of Expression, to Criticise, to Protest and to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly.

The majority of Zimbabweans fought the liberation war for equality and freedom of expression. Now state newspapers, television and radio are only for the tongues of the politically correct. While we know that there is a need for such a law as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), it is the selective application of the law that we object to. Where are the Daily News, The Tribune and other independent newspapers? Why is Radio Africa and Studio 7 jammed? Even Smith did not stoop so low as to jam Radio Chokwadi/Qiniso, broadcast from Mozambique during the liberation war. What is wrong with our views now – why can we not also hear Radio Africa and Studio 7? We demand our freedom of expression and we chose to bang pots at 8pm on purpose – to ‘jam’ propaganda news of this regime that does not want us to hear the truth.

Advancing – despite the risks
Although the Domestic Violence Bill could bring some relief to the many beaten and abused women and men, WOZA, as women human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, do not have much protection outside their homes. Harsh laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act continue to hound them. The passing of these unjust laws, even though most nationalists in government were arrested under the Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA), shows a bad heart on their part.

Through POSA and AIPPA, government thinks it has silenced the people. But some, like the defenders in WOZA and MOZA, are prepared to disobey what they see as unjust laws and speak out. Despite POSA, they continue to ACT. Despite harsh conditions in police cells and ill treatment by cruel officers, both uniformed and non-uniformed, they continue to SPEAK OUT.

We quote a sister, Rhoda Mashavave, in her an article titled, ‘Women pin hopes on domestic violence bill’, from, “It is rather unfortunate, however, that the Bill will not cover state-sponsored violence which continues to follow women. Take a look at the case of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), the resilient women’s pressure group. These women have been on the front position, protesting against high food prices and human rights abuses in the country. As a result, these women have become jailbirds as they continue to be arrested each time they hold peaceful demonstrations. They have been harassed and beaten up by the police in the process”.

No matter what they do to us, WOZA and MOZA will continue to speak out and act against violence against all Zimbabweans – women, men and children. We will not suffer in silence. We need you to join us – in the words of one of WOZA’s founders, the late Sheba Dube, “Stand up, unite and call a spade a spade.”

WOZA goes door to door to confirm a ‘People’s Charter’

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have finished an eleven-month long programme of social justice consultations, which saw them holding 284 defiance meetings with approximately 10,000 Zimbabweans nationwide. In the WOZA way, most meetings were carried out in defiance of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The response from the communities visited was overwhelming, especially in the rural areas. Although rural residents have been branded the regime’s most unwavering supporters, so desperate are they for change that they were willing to walk for several kilometres to a meeting just to be heard.

Areas covered include Bulawayo, Harare, Chitungwiza, Gwanda, Victoria Falls, Binga, Gwanda, Matobo, Insiza, Kezi, Hwange, Tsholotsho, Turk Mine, Binga, Chimanimani, Mutare, Masvingo, Nyanga, Nyazura, Rusape, Buhera, Bikita, Kadoma, Kariba, Mvurwi, Shamva, Norton, Chegutu, Gweru, Marondera, Karoi, Sadza, Guruve, and Chivhu.

“I am not valued” People’s disappointment was clearly evident in every meeting, bemoaning the fact that government has failed to fulfil its promises.

Said Mbuya Motsi from Chimanimani: “the people we chose to lead us have forgotten us and we have become ghosts in our motherland. The situation we are in right now is the same as a person who goes to bed but can not change sides, you need to change sides and turn now and again, without which one is most likely to wake up all sore and stiff”.

A dejected Jonathan Zimbe from Dzivarasekwa, Harare went on, “I do not feel part of Zimbabwe. I am not valued and I have no role in influencing the state.”

During the consultations the issue of lack of adequate medical services and ‘dying with dignity’ was raised countless times. Residents in Bulawayo’s Pumula suburb complained that ‘corpses are piling up like sacks of maize in mortuaries – you can barely recognize your dead’. In Victoria Falls people are now afraid to take sick relatives to hospitals because they get abused by hospital staff that shout at them, “what the hell do you want us to do with your sick ones?”

What was also clear in all the meetings was the outspokenness of the elderly. At the only health facility in Ratanyane, a mission hospital, old people are no longer accepted. “How can a nation be a nation without old people?” they queried.

The young are equally dissatisfied. In Ratanyane, Maphisa, young married couples complained of being unable to get their own land or permission to build houses so they are forced to live with their in-laws in overcrowded conditions.

In Chegutu, illiterate adults are still waiting for the free education promised to adults who missed the opportunity to be educated during the war of liberation. Nationwide, the crescendo of voices reminding leaders to deliver the free primary and affordable secondary education promised at Independence cannot be suppressed.

Injustices – past and present In Mleja, Dewe, Datata, Njube and Magwegwe, people are still upset about the desecration of the Njelele shrine in Matobo, Matabeleland, which they say angered the gods. They want those that dismantled it to appease the ancestral spirits and return the stolen pots. Another issue that caused great bitterness and anger in most areas in Matabeleland was that of Gukurahundi. Most people want those responsible to make a meaningful apology and compensation to be paid to survivors. Other calls were for psycho-social support for survivors, death certificates for the ‘disappeared’ and an overwhelming longing for people to know what happened to their loved ones. Another injustice, Murambatsvina, was also raised with calls for the perpetrators to be held accountable and victims to be given compensation and housing.

In Turk Mine, people also objected to being forced to go to ZANU PF meetings and chant slogans by the police. In Madwaleni, the situation is also similar, as one of them aptly put it: “People in Zimbabwe only have one right in their lives – to talk about ZANU PF.” Parents from Pumula, Bulawayo added that they eagerly waited for their children to come back from the Border Gezi National Youth Service, patriotic and empowered, but their children came back from the camps brainwashed and rude, pregnant or with sexually transmitted diseases.

Despite the eagerness of people to share their views, WOZA members were almost arrested and constantly harassed during the consultation period, at times having to avoid youth militia and state security agents. The most recent incident being the harassment of two members in the Chivhu area three weeks ago as they tried to talk about social justice and discuss with locals what their vision of a new Zimbabwe would be. Police forced nine villagers to sign statements hoping to charge WOZA leaders after the consultation. The villagers argued that they were only being consulted on a Zimbabwe that would dignify them and that they were very happy to be consulted by WOZA, which is not a political party. One elderly lady even insisted that her statement reflect that in South Africa the elderly receive assistance from the state and that she wanted similar support. Despite the reluctance of the villagers, police insisted on taking the WOZA leaders to court – only for the Prosecutor to refuse to press charges.

WOZA carried on amidst the harassment, spurred on by the despair of a nation which has ‘received nothing but distrust and fear from our leaders’, as one resident of Warren Park testified. WOZA’s mandate is to hold Zimbabwe’s leaders accountable because people “were promised silver and gold where as up to date they were paid by words without meaning.” (Matshobana)

Seven charged and appear in court, granted bail with reporting conditions

The Fourteen people arrested yesterday  afternoon were released last night without charge.

Seven members, 3 women and 4 men arrested on 28 February 2011 in two separate incidents in Entumbane and Mabutweni, Bulawayo appeared in court today 2 March 2011.  They and were granted bail on payment of $50 each. Other conditions of bail included that they must report to the Law and Order department of Bulawayo Central police station, twice a week, Mondays and Fridays; surrender their travel documents; not interfere with witnesses and reside at their given addresses.

They were charged with C/S 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23: “Acting together with one or more other persons with him/her in any place realizing that there is a real risk or possibility of disturbing peace, security or order of the public”.

They were represented by Matshobana Ncube deployed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. He argued that the state was ill-advised to proceed with charges and cited a landmark Supreme Court ruling obtained by WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu from a 16 October 2008 arrest. Defence lawyer Ncube applied for charges against the seven to be dropped when they next appear as the ruling means the matter will not be successfully taken to trail. Ncube also advised that all seven had been tortured in custody prompting the magistrate to order the prosecutor to investigate this allegation. The activists were assaulted by police officers and were also beaten Falanga style, which is to beat someone on the soles of their feet to try to prevent easy detection.

The seven were then ordered to reappear in remand court on 16 March, they are now enroute to medical doctors.
The matter was heard by Magistrate Rukweza and Jerry Mutsindikwa represented the state.
WOZA leaders would like to acknowledge the magistrates for hearing this matter, as they were about to go on strike for a more pay. This is the sort of non-violent action, WOZA activists are often arrested for. We wish them well as they engage a government that could not care less that USD250 is hardly a living wage although most Zimbabweans get far less.

Arrested members detained and released into lawyers custody

Members arrested in the protest Tuesday spent the night at Luveve Police station before being released into their lawyer’s custody Thursday on condition that they come to be formnally charged in Western Commonage Magistrates Court on 26th May 2011.

The final number of arrested rose to 8 women and a 3 month old baby Rejoice. Tuesday afternoon dragged to an end with many police stations refusing to receive the arrested questioning why they were even arrested in the first place. The mother and baby were allowed to sleep at home and report Thursday morning.

The charge and statement taking procedures were done 8 times with all statements being torn up and ‘they did not make sense’ so finding a charge is still a challenge. The notorious law and order department Police officers at Bulawayo Central also refused to receive the accused and said the officers who arrested them were overzealous must finish the job.

Warn and Cautioned statements were redone 25 May  and they were charged under the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act: conduct likely to disturb the peace.

The members are Grace Moyo, Stella Chivunge, Sikhangezile Sibanda, Simangaliphi Msimanga, 16yr old Cecelia Ncube, Siboniso Siziba, Miriam Moyo, and Memory Matandare with her 3month old baby Rejoice. Today is Africa Day in Zimbabwe and electricity cuts will as usual average 6 to 18 hours.

12 women arrested in Bulawayo on International Day of Peace; Williams and Mahlangu remanded in custody to Mlondlozi Prison

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu and 10 other women were arrested in Bulawayo on Wednesday, September 21while attempting to commemorate the International Day of Peace with hundreds of WOZA women and men. As well as those arrested, over 20 others were injured after being beaten by riot police.

A planned peaceful demonstration did not take place due to heavy police presence all around the city centre. Several separate groups had intended to set out from various starting points and converge on the Mhlahlandlela government complex to present their preliminary report on transitional justice to the Governor of Bulawayo Province. But police patrol cars were circling around all the start off points and members of the riot police, in full riot gear, assaulted anyone suspected of being a demonstrator. It is unfortunate that members of the general public were also attacked by the police who were beating people indiscriminately and shouting ‘uraya’, meaning ‘kill’ in Shona.  One male bystander was hospitalised as a result of the beatings that he received and remains in Mpilo Hospital.  Over 20 members required medical attention for injuries sustained during the beatings, and several were sent for X-ray as they appeared to have fractured bones. It was fortunate that all proved rather to have suffered severe bruising, which in itself causes great pain and reduced mobility.

The arrested members were all due to be charged with criminal nuisance under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. As is WOZA practice, those arrested refused to secure their release by paying ‘acknowledgment of guilt’ fines. As it was, the prosecutor declined to press charges against ten of the women and they were released without charge.

However, further charges were laid against Williams and Mahlangu.  They now face the astonishing charges of kidnap and theft. These are based on allegations made by a former WOZA employee who had been previously dismissed.  He later returned to WOZA premises, broke in, and stole a substantial amount of property, some of which was recovered when a sympathetic relative led WOZA members to the place where the property was being kept. 

It is probable that the malicious allegations have been used by the police to lay charges without any investigation of the true facts of the matter or genuine suspicion of guilt, merely to punish the WOZA leaders for successfully mobilizing members to defend their rights.  Officer George Levison Ngwenya of the Bulawayo Central Law and Order department, who has been previously named and shamed by WOZA for his brutal handling of arrested WOZA members, may be using these spurious allegations as his way of getting even.  Having failed in the past to secure convictions of WOZA members on charges related to activities in defense of human rights, he may now have devised a new strategy of seeking to pin common criminal charges on the women. 

On Friday, September 23, Williams and Mahlangu were brought to court on these charges, refused bail, and remanded at the notorious Mlondolozi Prison, part of the Khami prison complex, until October 6, a period of two weeks.  Lawyers have filed an urgent application to the High Court appealing the denial of bail.

The theme for this year’s celebrations was to be ‘PEACE AND DEMOCRACY: MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD’. WOZA notes with great concern that the arrests of its members occurred on a day that was meant to celebrate and encourage peace and democracy.  WOZA asks where is the peace when the general public is beaten? Where is the peace when non- violent protesters are beaten? Our voices shall not be silenced, and we will continue to work against all odds to establish genuine peace and democracy in Zimbabwe.

WOZA is also very concerned about how Williams and Mahlangu will be treated in Mlondolozi Prison. The last time that they were detained in the prison in 2008 they were subjected to abuse at the hands of the prison authorities.

We ask that our friends and supporters phone the authorities at Mlondolozi and ask them not to mistreat Williams and Mahlangu and to respect their rights as remand prisoners as laid out by the Zimbabwe Prisons Act.

Regional Prisons Headquarters (Bulawayo): +263 9 71458/71468
Mlondolozi Prison: +263 9 64228





An open letter to Business, Minister of Industry and Commerce and Minister of Home Affairs

An open letter to:
Zimbabwean retail and manufacturing business people
Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Obert Mpofu
Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Kembo Mohadi

Fellow Zimbabweans,
Firstly we wish to introduce ourselves to you; we are Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise, a socio-economic movement formed to press for the promises of the liberation war to be delivered. We want a Zimbabwe where there is equality and respect for all its people. The Zimbabwe that we dream of is outlined in our People’s Charter that came about after consulting Zimbabweans across the country last year.

Included in the People’s Charter is the demand for adequate, affordable food with price controls on basic commodities if necessary. We note that price controls have now been introduced by government, supposedly as part of an ongoing campaign to ensure that basic commodities are affordable. We thank you for taking a step in the right direction.

We also note however that the introduction of price controls on every item for sale in the country has also led to basic commodities (and just about everything else) disappearing from the shelves. Slashing prices it is not enough – something needs to be done to ensure there are enough supplies of basic commodities for everyone. This will not happen if corruption and inflation are not tackled by meaningful political change. Slashing the zeroes did not help – neither will just slashing prices.

For us to truly believe that government has the people at heart and wishes to ensure that its people will have enough to eat today and every day, we wish to ask that both business and government join hands to take the following steps.

1. Government and the manufacturing sector should negotiate in good faith to find ways to produce more affordable food without compromising the living wage of workers. As a priority, fuel needs to be made available at affordable prices to reduce transport costs.
2. The uniformed forces should join the queues with others, with immediate effect, instead of having their own queues. If the Minister of Home Affairs did an unbiased investigation into the parallel or black market he would find that it is the family members of police and army who are allowed to buy in bulk – they take these goods onto the pavements and sell to us at inflated prices.
3. We ask the Ministry to reshuffle the Price Control Task Force as they are now corrupting the programme. There should be transparency as to how they are selected and what formula is used to work out the new prices.
4. We call on Government to stop harassing shop owners and allow them to stock and trade freely and honestly at the price set.
5. We ask shop owners to sell basic commodities through their formal businesses and their front door rather than out the back door and onto the black market.
6. We call on all Zimbabweans to be part of the solution – not part of the problem. We should not support or spread the black market and allow prices to skyrocket. Let us all help to bring down prices so we can have enough food in our homes. Please our children are starving – stop hoarding!
7. We also ask the Ministries of Home Affairs and Industry and Commerce to realise that WOZA and MOZA have a constitutional right to peaceful protest. We have the right to demand that food be available and affordable. Stop arresting and beating us when we only want to feed our families.

The Tale of Two Trials

Bertha Sibanda (55), a Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) member, who is on trial charged under the Public Indecency and Public Exposure Act, appeared on trial in Tredgold Magistrate Court, Bulawayo. She appeared before Magistrate Ms Charity Maphosa on Monday 30th September 2013 for continuation of trial and was defended by Kossam Ncube. A ruling is expected on 9th October 2013.

On the same day, Magodonga Mahlangu also appeared on trial in court one before Magistrate C. J. Mberewere, charged with making offensive calls without reasonable cause. Defense lawyer, Nontokozo Tachiona applied for Mahlangu’s discharge when the stated closed its case. The complainant, MDC T ward chair for Matshobana in Bulawayo, and the two state witnesses contradicted their own evidence and disassociated themselves with their statements prepared by the law and order department of the police who insisted the matter be prosecuted. The Magistrate will rule on if Mahlangu must take the stand in her own defense and present witnesses for the defense on 8th October 2013. (For more info see this link

Bertha Sibanda was amongst 180 WOZA members who were arrested during the Valentine’s Day protest on the 14th of February 2013. She was detained after the rest of members were released as she had removed her outer garments whilst in the Bulawayo Police station courtyard.

Mr. Shepherd Nhamburo prosecuted for the State, leading evidence that on Sibanda removed her skirt and blouse in public in full view of the police who were arresting the protesting group of WOZA women.

The business before the court on 30 September was for the accused person and defense witnesses to take the stand. Ms Sibanda told the court that she stripped following an instruction from the arresting police officers who shouted bvisa (a Shona language word meaning remove your clothes).

She said, “Police officers shouted ‘bvisa’ to the group and I asked them if we should removed our clothes and they responded with same word ‘bvisa’. I asked them about three times if I should go ahead and they still maintained that we should strip.”

According to Sibanda, there was nothing wrong with her stripping since she only stripped after enquiring if she should do it and got an affirmative response from the police officers. “I thought they wanted me to strip following the arrest. I have information from other people’s narrations that women are required to remove their clothes when they are arrested,” explained Sibanda.

Two witnesses, both members of WOZA arrested on the day in question, Hlalaphi Ndlovu and Joyce Ndebele took the stand and both maintained that the instruction to remove clothes came from the police officers. The members felt that the command shouted to the group of arrested women, misled them to think that they were under arrest and expected to remove their clothes in the courtyard. The two said that they did not strip as WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu stopped them told them to sit down and await for formal procedures after a telephone conversation with WOZA leader Jennifer Williams.

Ms Mahlangu took the stand on 1st October 2013 when the trial resumed. She testified that she had stopped the mass undressing after calling Jennifer Williams to advise her that over 180 members had been arrested. Williams had been part of the protest and Officer Commanding Bulawayo District Chief Inspector Maninge had asked her to come upstairs to his office so as to discussing the cause of the protest. When Mahlangu called Williams to advise of the arrests, Williams was in the office of the chief Inspector and she immediately advised him of the news and announced to him and to Mahlangu on the phone that she was walking out of the meeting as the police boss had obviously not negotiating in good faith by arresting members.

Williams duly arrived at Bulawayo Central police station with the police boss. He had addressed the protest promising that no one would be arrested whilst Williams meet with him and his police staff. Williams and members seated in the courtyard refused to leave pending the release of Bertha and 8 male members but Chief Inspector Maninge ordered the Police Reactions group to beat anyone who refused to leave the police station despite them having been brought there under arrest by the same Police Reaction group.

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) would like to thank Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for their continued support in deploying their members to defend WOZA human rights defenders as they face persecution by prosecution by a police force selectively applying the law.

Zimbabweans +solidarity friends beat the drum of peace and development to break the silence of violence

WOZA calls on Zimbabweans to beat the drum of peace and development to break the silence on violence

WOZA joins the rest of the world’s activists in campaigning for an end to gender-based violence in the year 2013. To mark the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the organisation chose to look beyond the sphere of physical violence to consider the position of women in a society which perpetrates systemic violence and socio-economic disadvantage. Violence against women includes the range of abuses committed against women that stem from gender inequality and women’s subordinate status in society relative to men.

WOZA, an organisation of human rights defenders campaign against violence in all its forms all year long, but chose to march on women human rights defenders day 29 November 2013 to raise the profile of this special day. WOZA will march the same route they marched on this day in 2006 to launch their peoples charter. On this day over a hundred members were beaten and arrested, broken limbs of adults and a baby the brunt of police baton sticks.

To mobilise for this special day, WOZA conducted a survey amongst a total of 7 180 of its members, with 6 428 being women, to investigate their perceptions of women’s position in their communities. Special attention was paid on whether women’s economic status was improving or deteriorating. Members were asked to comment on a series of statements arrived at as a result of the discussion around the ZANU PF Elections theme, the “Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) and the continuing engendered analysis of development on how women were fulfilling their role in their homes and in society. Since the universal 16 Days of activism campaign calls for more substantial responses on the part of governments to act with due diligence in protecting and preventing gender-based violence, members were also required to give comments regarding benefits from government development programmes.

The results were clear. 81% of WOZA Harare and Bulawayo members do not believe that women are respected and do not believe that violence against them has ceased. 89% of member do not believe that they will be able to benefit from the ZANU PF’s indigenization policies, and 68,2% expressed that the police harassment and criminalization of women informal traders must stop for socio economic growth but many called for job creation as an alternative. All believed that women were working very hard to create food security for their families, but many noted that this was done against all odds. The vast majority believe the development situation in their communities had deteriorated. They do not believe that ZANU PF will implement the new constitution effectively. The responses show great disillusionment with and distrust of government and a keen sense of the disadvantages felt by women in spite of their hard work to provide for their families. The scars that women bear today are not just a result of physical violence but are deep rooted in years of poor governance by the state, emotional and psychological manipulation in the home, community and workplace as well as deliberate marginalization of women in all spheres of life. It does not need to be physical violence for women to bear the scars of abuse.

In a list of demands contained in the report, WOZA members demand Free primary education was promised, but children are still chased away from school due to non-payment of fees; A programme and funding plan for the better roads promised by the president in his inauguration speech and an initial position was taken against the proposed urban toll gate project. Members also demand land, inputs and to be shared equally among men and women and in a non partisan framework. Moreover, women and youth are waiting for the re-opening of industries to create employment and the detailed plan as to how these firms will create 2 million jobs with a living wage as promised during campaigns.
The same group of citizens demand income generating projects for women and these projects should be distributed in a non partisan system. The vulnerable and the disadvantaged in communities, such as the elderly, the orphans, disabled and widowed are still suffering and being made to complete food aid forms to no avail. WOZA members demand home ownership; city council should build homes for people and there should be transparency in the distribution of stands. Residents are tired of being lodgers and paying high rentals. Last but not least, they demand the ZimAsset programme to urgently provide affordable and nutritious home grown food and to put women first in all the ZimAsset implementation programmes

WOZA made additionally recommendations on a number of premises that include devolution, activation of the constitution, working public institutions, community involvement, civic education, as well as justice and fairness.
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See the full report on our website at the following link

CSO Statement on President Mugabe’s inflammatory tribal comments

On April 29, 2015, the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, who is also the current SADC and AU Chairperson, speaking at a press conference at the end of a special SADC summit on industrialisation in Harare said the ‘…the Kalangas were/are very notorious in South Africa,… known to be crooks because they are not educated enough to get (descent) jobs’.

This blatant insult to the Kalanga people comes a few months after Grace Mugabe’s insults to men in Matabeleland South, accusing them of being ‘lazy’, ‘interested in sex’ and ‘run away to South Africa’, while in Gwanda during her whirlwind meet-the-people rallies. These statements reflect the ZANU PF Government’s thinking about the people of Matabeleland.

The President’s statement was a direct affront to the constitution of Zimbabwe’s Section 56(3) of the Zimbabwean Constitution, under the Bill of Rights (Chapter 4) provides for non-discrimination, unfair treatment on such grounds as their tribe, ethnic or social origin, culture, or economic or social status. The statements also negate Section 90(2) which outlines one of the duties of the President as being to ‘promote unity and peace in the nation for the benefit and well-being of the people of Zimbabwe’.
President Mugabe’s tribal insults are only a perpetuation of his tendency to destroy every opportunity for realising national peace and cohesion. Over the years, the President has been quoted advising his ZANU PF supporters to treat fellow Zimbabweans as ‘snakes’, ‘weeds’, ‘rotten pumpkins’, ‘puppies’, ‘sellouts’ among other derogatory names. He has previously labelled ‘Zimbabweans who are descendants of Malawians, Zambians, Mozambicans and other nationals as totem-less outsiders’ among other names and insults.

These have incited, Gukurahundi and destruction of infrastructure, physical, emotional and other forms of violence against white farmers, opposition party members, women and human rights defenders among other groups.

President Mugabe, unlike other Presidents who have sought to protect their citizens against xenophobic attacks, fuels further xenophobic attacks against Kalanga people whom he has described as ‘criminals’. The implication also is that the Kalanga and people in Matabeleland have invited xenophobic attacks on all foreigners in South Africa.

President Mugabe’s utterances that Zimbabweans are ‘voluntarily’ leaving the country to enjoy life in South Africa, are a disingenuous attempt to hide the real reasons why Zimbabweans have left the country in numbers to look for opportunities elsewhere. If Mugabe is to be sincere, he should surely know that Zimbabweans have not risked their lives skipping borders to other countries out of choice but have been pushed by economic hardships violence and his failed leadership.

We, the undersigned organisations, urge the President to personally and unequivocally retract the blatantly discriminatory, derogatory, divisive, demeaning and unwarranted statement and apologise to the Kalanga people in particular and people of Matabeleland in general without delay.

We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to disassociate itself from such statements which promote tribal hatred and scandalously flout the constitution of the land and take corrective measures to ensure that the Kalanga and all Zimbabweans leaving in South Africa are protected both in South Africa and back home.

President Mugabe, as Chairperson of SADC has made statements that are against the vision and common agenda of the regional bloc which are geared towards the attainment of social protection of citizens. His statements are also an affront to the SADC Treaty which upholds the principle of non-discrimination in Article 6(2).

We thus call upon SADC, to reprimand its chairperson and disassociate itself from his statements that promote discrimination and violence against a people.

The President has a duty, as the Chairman of the African Union to uphold the African Union Charter on Human and People’s Rights recognizes the right to freedom from discrimination (Article 2 and 18(3)), equality (Article 3), life and personal integrity (Article 4), dignity (Article 5). President Mugabe’s insult to the Kalanga people and indeed all people of Matabeleland South is a direct affront to these provisions.

We then call upon the African Union to also disassociate itself from the statement from its Chairperson and ensure that the AU Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Charter on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Zimbabwe has ratified are respected and implemented by its Chairperson and member states.

We also call upon the Roman Catholic Church in particular and Christians in general to denounce the statements by President Mugabe as they are against Christian values.

The leadership and membership of the undersigned civil society organisations convey heartfelt condolences to families who lost their beloved ones in the xenophobic violence in South Africa, state-sanctioned violence in the post-independence Zimbabwe. We call upon fellow Zimbabweans to vigilantly safeguard the constitution and demand responsible leadership and Government.

(Note South Africans may colloquially refer all people from as Kalanga)

List of Organisations:
1. Bulawayo Agenda
2. Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)
3. Bulawayo Unemployment Youth Agenda (BUYA)
4. Christian Alliance
5. Christian Legal Society (CLS)
6. Freedom First Project
7. Grace To Heal Trust
8. Gwanda Residents Association
9. Habakkuk Trust
10. Ibhetshu Likazulu
11. Makokoba Development Trust
12. Mission to Live Trust
13. Mthwakazi Heritage Trust
14. National Youth Development Trust
15. Plumtree Development Trust
16. Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe
17. Radio Dialogue
18. Rural Communities Empowerment Trust
19. Shalom Project
20. Umkhonto kaMthwakazi
21. Victoria Falls Residents Association
22. Victory Siyanqoba Trust
23. Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
24. Zimbabwe Chambers of Informal Economies Association (ZCIEA)
25. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
26. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
27. Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)

Trial of two WOZA members set for Monday 23rd June 2008

In her judgement that was delayed from Monday, Magistrate Rose Dube ruled this morning that the two WOZA members arrested last week for distributing materials likely to cause a breach of the peace should go on trial and set the trial date for 23rd June.

Police approach WOZA marchers near High Court, 5 May 08Trust Moyo and Cynthia Ncube had been arrested in Bulawayo last Monday, 5th May, after a demonstration calling for an end to the recent spate of politically motivated violence.

The two are charged under Section 37 1(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act – ‘… distributes or displays any writing, sign or other visible representation that is obscene, threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to provoke a breach of the peace…’

The defence had argued that materials carried by the two were not ‘obscene, threatening, abusive or insulting’ and therefore the charges should be dropped. The Magistrate ruled that as the two had not denied carrying the materials, a trial was necessary to decide whether the messages were obscene etc. The materials in question are a banner stating ‘we want bread and roses’ and a newsletter that includes the sentence; “we immediately call on Robert Mugabe to hand over power to the winner of the presidential election, Morgan Tsvangirai”.

To read a copy of the newsletter that is deemed to be ‘ obscene, threatening, abusive or insulting’, click here. Woza Moya English May 2008