Category Archives: City Council Services/ Water

Harare petition Kasukuwere

FOLLOWING on from the 26 august 2015 protest to The Bulawayo Mayor and handing over of a yellow card, WOZA members in Harare have conducted a protest to the Minister of Local Government Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere. The 9th of September 12noon protest drew participation of 600 members.

Two protest groups converged at the Ministry of Local Governance located along Leopold Takawira Street and two members delivered the petition which was accepted by the Ministers Secretary. The protestors delivered their message through song – ‘vendor’s aramba’ (which means vendors have refused) and ‘Mavendor musawashungurudze’ (which means do not abuse vendors). As it traditional at WOZA protests, two prayer warriors led the prayers calling on Zimbabweans to respect the right to trade and called on divine intervention to stop the looting of vendor’s goods.

Members petitioned the Minister Saviour Kasukuwere his predecessor Minister Chombo is the one who began this human rights violation with orders for vendors to be forcefully removed. The petition included 11 demands and called on Minister Kasukuwere as follows:
“As women and mothers of this city, we ask that you work towards finding solutions that will cater for both the interests of the local authority and informal traders. Women have to put food on the table. They live at the sharp end of desperation seeing children’s faces showing hunger and this is what motivates them to try and find food. Vendors should not be persecuted for trying to feed their families. We expect you as our Minister to protect the rights of vendors and allow for peaceful trading. The issues we need to be addressed as we dialogue for a lasting solution include:
• City council collect vending fees and also allow Park Rite Africa to collect a second payment. Why did council mandate a parking company to collect weekly payments from vendors? We demand to have affordable standardised monthly fees which can be paid directly to the city council for transparency and accountability.
• We demand receipts for confiscated goods from all police officers seizing these – there must be transparency and accountability and no theft.
• We demand to know where looted goods are taken and the process to help us recover our goods. Vendors should be allowed to reclaim their goods. It is an injustice to give the first lady, Grace Mugabe confiscated goods for her political campaigns. Where is the justice for those affected by this looting?
• City council should have conducted an audit of stand allocation and one person; one stand
• Vendors should be allowed to trade undisturbed on a daily basis. Many vendors have their right to trade disturbed by party youth who come and force vendors to leave their stands and goods to attend party events. This violates their Constitutional freedom of assembly and association (chapter 4, section 58)

WOZA petition 9 Sept15

Members urge Mayor to stand up for right to trade

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) today submitted a letter to the Executive Mayor of Bulawayo Councillor Martin Moyo, calling on him to stand with the people of Bulawayo trying to eke out a living by informal trade. The majority of WOZA members are involved in informal trading.

WOZA members urged him to be courageous and defend the Constitutional right to earn a living.

WOZA made recommendations as to what issues the Executive Mayor should address as part of a collect Council and Civic Society initiative and ignore the ultimatum from the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for vendors to vacate the pavements and streets by 26 June 2015.

The open letter reads, “Executive Mayor we will stand by you if you stand by us. Let’s us find sustainable livelihood’s in a dignified manner befitting Zimbabweans. Don’t be a part of another ‘moment of madness’. We will not be moved from our streets until there is a comprehensive plan in place.”

See the open letter here
Open Letter 24 June 2015

Bulawayo members to march 13Feb2015

Zimbabwe joins citizens of the world in commemorating Valentine’s Day, a day to give each other a red rose that represents LOVE. Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members, the majority of them are women and some brave men are still drawing attention to the need for LOVE in Zimbabwe.
The love WOZA members wants is LOVE that brings dignity.
Dignity will help us rebuild our lives and our country.
Dignity also comes from Zimbabweans being able to exercise and enjoy all their rights including the right to earn a living.
This year our theme is – Demanding Dignity – Demanding Women’s Empowerment!
These are the roses we want from our Government!

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members have been conducting Valentine’s Day marches since 2003 demanding LOVE from their Government and asking Zimbabweans to chose LOVE over hate. After 13 years of Valentine’s Day marches, we still need and want the same things.

While we recognise progress it is only words and no deeds to match these high and mighty words.
1. The election promise was one million jobs but lip service was not followed up by the promised jobs. Members continued to try to survive by informal trading.
2. Members thought the ZimAsset would bring jobs, but the document once again lifted our expectations only to crash them down. The very people who wrote the document are ignoring it and enriching themselves.
3. The Constitution has a good complement of the issues we wanted, including the right to earn a living and the right to protest but we are tired of hearing that they are still aligning the laws. Stop making excuses and let us enjoy our Constitution.
4. Even the latest monetary policy is full of promises for empowerment, will these promises be delivered?

WOZA has been busy conducting civic education programmes for members to ready themselves for socio-economic empowerment – we are marching now to say we are ready to receive rapid empowerment.
We have read the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe ‘Chapter 2-National objectives’, sections 13 on National development , 14 on Empowerment and employment and section 15 on Food security and Chapter 4 section 51 – right to human dignity’. We understand that the word ‘Republic’ means –
A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them.

We – the supreme citizens – elected representatives who immediately forgot about us. They squabble amongst themselves occasionally sending nonsensical directives like introducing prepaid water meters and removal of vendors from the streets. Chombo where is the directive to create jobs? Instead you order the City council to chase vendors off the streets. Mr Chombo enough is enough with your nonsense please reread the national objectives and put Zimbabweans – women – first.

Whilst members wait for the promised jobs, they survive on informal trade which is their source of livelihood and disregarding this survival strategy will increase poverty. Members stated that through vending they are able to feed their families, educate their children, clothe them and pay rent for a decent standard of living. The solutions are clear and known – but lack implementation – the root cause of prolific informal trading is lack of employment. Directives issued that only address the effects – informal traders everywhere – will not fix the problem.

As the supreme citizens, we demand our elected leaders convene an urgent country wide consultation to map a collective way forward on how to create one million jobs and revamp the economy putting women and youth at the centre of the economic empowerment action plan.

WOZA members in Bulawayo Water Rights March

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members are to participate in a ‘Right to Water’ civic society organised coalition march at 10am friday 14 november 2014 in Bulawayo. The march will start at the Egodini bus terminus and end at the city Hall. The City Mayor is expected to address participants along with civic society leaders.

The march focus is against the installation of prepaid water meters which Civic Society leaders view as a violation of the international instruments covering the right to water. The march sees the launch of a petition drive for residents of the city to get council to reverse the decision to install prepaid meters.

Bulawayo Residents Right to Water Campaign – SAY NO to Prepaid Water Meters Petition

In late 2013, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) revealed that it would be introducing prepaid water meters as a means of water management in Bulawayo, with the concept set to be piloted in Cowdray Park’s Hlalani Kuhle area. With prepaid water meters, people pay for water up-front before accessing it, in the same manner that they purchase airtime first before being able to make calls. Research by Bulawayo civic society organisations found that prepaid water meters are unworkable in poor communities such as Cowdray Park, and indeed anywhere else in Zimbabwe due to the current economic situation. They would inevitably lead to residents consuming less water than they need for a healthy life, leading to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera. Consultations have also revealed that the majority of residents of Bulawayo are against the move. BPRA in association with several CSOs in Bulawayo is thus carrying out a Right to Water Campaign, which among other things seeks to compel the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to reverse its decision to install prepaid water meters.

• The BCC resolution seems at odds with the new constitutional dispensation which reads – every person has a right to A) safe, clean and potable water B) sufficient food. These two points are interlinked as the one feeds the other and help people survive!
• Pre paid meters will destroy the spirit of “ubuntu” as people will no-longer be free to share water – this is a taboo in our culture.
Sign this petition and JOIN the campaign for the RIGHT TO WATER. Together we can make BULAWAYO CITY COUNCIL (BCC) REVERSE its decision to install prepaid water meters.


Mayor no show as Police block WOZA protest to City Hall

WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise members numbering 150 made it to the steps of the City Hall Mayors office but senior ranking police officers blocked their access to engage the Mayor and the Mayor did not attend to address the aggrieved members, his voters. This was the third day of protest bemoaning the Bulawayo water woes.

Four of the five protests were disrupted at the start of their march by police officers who grabbed their banners and placards and threatened to beat the members.

The 3 days series of protests followed meetings with council officials in their suburban offices. Since 1st November, over 800 members conducted deputations or sent delegations to council officers to lodge complaints about water problems. Officials at most of these centres referred members to Council officers in Tower block where technical staff work and to the Mayor at City Hall.   As a result the Monday protest was to Council Tower block, Tuesday to the Government complex where the Ministry of Water is housed and then the final protest to City Hall.

WOZA has been communicating with the Council PR Department and received a letter dated 29 October 2012 (BMN/W1/27), from the Town Clerk. This is the last paragraph in full, “Bulawayo City Council is committed to entering into a dialogue with you and your members to discuss more issues regarding the water crisis and water shedding. Council is available to provide further information to clarify issues on water raised by your organization.” Following up on this as a genuine invitation WOZA found their way blocked by Police on all 3 days of the protest campaign.

Those that made it to the steps of City hall on 14 November 2012, were greeted by very senior uniformed and those wearing plain clothes. The officers’ primary objective seemed to be to disperse the protest and attempted to take WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu to the police station which is located across the road to discuss the water problems. When asked if they had a mandate to act officially for city council they failed to give a plausible answer.

Dispersing the protest, Williams advised members gathered that negotiation with police to secure an address by the Mayor had failed and that the invitation issued by the Town clerk a false promise of dialogue. The WOZA leader then advised members to mobilise the ‘recall petition processes for Bulawayo councilors to be recalled by the electorate as they had failed to meet members or deal with the water crisis.

WOZA demands included the following
1.    City council and the Minister of Water must convene public hearings and come up with a consulted plan of action on the water problems.
2.    Members demand an END to water load shedding that extends beyond 24 hours and keep to timetables.
3.    City council must supply water purifying tablets
4.    City council must devise more effective methods of supplying residents with clean water in an orderly manner.
5.    There is already an outbreak of diseases and the health delivery systems cannot cope with the queues and demand for drips and medication. The Health Department must also have a disaster management plan in place for all residents to inspect and be able to input to.
6.    Demand increase to 100 litres per family per day from water bowser allocation, 40 litres is not enough for a family of five.
7.    Stop charging penalties; we are already penalised by the water crisis.
8.    Please help control fairly the access to boreholes and stop unscrupulous opportunists pretending to ‘own’ the borehole.

Demands to the minister
9.    Firstly we have to make these demands through the Mayor due to centralised power and lack of access.
10.    Honourable Mayor, tell the Minister that he must be accountable. He has made many empty promises but not delivered a single promise. He promised the water crisis would be dealt with by the first week of October but a month later we are thirsty. He must explain what he has done with the money he told us he had in his pocket.
11.    We demand that the minister also conduct a consultative process and come up with a comprehensive plan to bring water to Bulawayo. We demand this be done in a non partisan way separated from anyone’s political ambitions.
12.    Honourable Mayor we demand that you tell him and all your councillors that we are tired of being used as political tools. We demand constitutional devolution so that we can determine our own destiny. We are sick and tired of perennial problems and politicisation of our basic rights. Bob Marley sang these words, “you fool some of the people sometime but you can’t fool all the people all the time.’

Although the officers tried their best to be professional and no members were beaten, they still violated rights to freedom of expression and assembly of the participation and barred access to elected city officials. WOZA would like to nonetheless commend the officer commanding Bulawayo Chief Inspector Rangwani for finally realizing that arrests and beating will not deter the WOZA members. We applaud his effort to professionalise police response and encourage him to continue on this path to respect for democracy.

Members arrested, beaten and 11 dumped in a cemetery out of town

Medical UPDATE – One member has a fractured hand, an injury from a baton stick. Three members lost their shirts which were torn and tatteredafter blows from the baton stick wielding police officers.

WATER shortage protests continued in Bulawayo with 57 members arrested and beaten. The first edition of the protest began at 11am targeting the Council administration Tower block. A squad of 4 Riot Police disrupted the peaceful protest and surrounded 35 members. After 15 minutes senior police officers, one identified as the Controller, arrived and engaged the group announcing that he was ‘driving them off’. He was semi professional and no one was beaten or taken them into custody.

As midday struck 5 additional protests began separately all intending to converge on the Government complex. The first protest reached the Mhlahlandlela complex but a green truck carrying the reaction squad with 12 Riot Police. They quickly arrested 11 members, 9 women and 2 men and took them across the road to the Drill Hall, placing them under guard at 12:15.

The same vehicle then drove to the intersection H. Chitepo Street and 10th Avenue. The police officers disembarked to beat members were marching towards the complex. They indiscriminately beat even passes by. As they beat people these officers loudly shouted insults and violently beat anyone in their path. They shouted tribal and gender obscenities referring to the Ndebele people and calling the women prostitutes.

The second 11 were then arrested by the same squad, one referred to as Mukoshi who said he did not care if the activists knew his name. He also said with great support and approving laughter from his colleague, ‘this country was liberated by blood and only those who spilt blood can be the ones to talk.’ He went on to ask them to answer his question in the Shona language – Do they have their own dams, why are they asking for water.

The 11 were then forced to sit in the truck and driven to Bulawayo Central. When they got there and as they were disembarking, Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights chief law officer was present. The officer commanding Bulawayo Chief Inspector Rangwani  arrived and shouted at the officers asking them what they had brought these women to the police station. He said take them back to where you got them. The driver of the police truck in the hearing of Lizwe Jamela said he would not take them back to Drill Hall but would drive them into the bush and dump them. He promptly drove away toward Victoria Falls with the lawyer in pursuit dumping them at a cemetery out of town. Four members are being seen by the doctor and many others are being attended by the WOZA medical support triage. The first 11 members arrested have also since been released so no members are left in custody at this time.

WOZA have argued that there is a tribal element of the manner in which police in Bulawayo treat WOZA members and this has today been further confirmed by the insults of all the Riot Officers. The women were called prostitutes and told not to speak to each other in the Ndebele language as the Ndebele people were all killed off by Gukurahundi in the 1980s. please see the list of demands