Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members will march in solidarity with Zimbabweans who have suffered a 37 year rule of Robert Mugabe who has cared less for the citizens and failed to implement liberation war ideals including free basic education as promised. WOZA members have nonviolently marched to demand an array of social economic reforms and have been brutalized, persecuted by prosecution but finally their cries have been heard and the nations is acting. As a new dispensation is being fought for, women of Zimbabwe must stand up and demand voice for a urgent economic plan of action that will relieve day to day suffering of the masses. Role players must now turn to make this ‘Zimbabwe Democracy Project’ about the people’s daily lives so as to show us that it is not just about switching from one dictator to another and citizens will then be mobilised to act accordingly and nonviolently.
WOZA applaud General Constantino Chiwenga for his nonviolent peaceful approach yet he has all the weapons at his fingertips. Well done Son of the Soil. WOZA applaud the generality of Zimbabwe Defense Forces for conducting themselves with honour and dignity, respectful of the rights of citizens and upholding the Constitution of Zimbabwe. WOZA is proud of you sons and daughters, you have restored some pride in being Zimbabwean.
To Zimbabweans WOZA ask that you urgently register to vote – your name must be on the voters roll!!! If you do this you will be able to claim your citizenship right and it will be desperately needed.
WOZA members ask Zimbabweans to join them in demanding the following:
1. The Defences Forces, War Veterans , Political Parties could be hungry to use this as an opportunity to take power but WOZA ask that you all put personal greed aside and MAKE THIS ABOUT THE PEOPLE!
2. The Military represents an extreme patriarchal system of power, General Chiwenga and those that will take over, ensure you create urgent space for women to participate, be seen, heard and their leadership felt. Help us amplify the voices of women so we have an inclusive approach. But not just any women – WOZA is totally against the Grace Mugabe types of women greedy for power and to destroy not build a nation – MAKE THIS ABOUT THE PEOPLE!
3. WOZA demand delivery of the liberation war promise of free basic education. We call for an immediate cancellation of all school fees and levy debts for all Government Schools in Zimbabwe until a new dispensation can properly formulate the progressive realisation of the right to education ratified in all international treaties. The children deserve to go to school without worrying about outstanding debts, let them concentrate on learning as we solve our economic chaos. MAKE THIS ABOUT THE PEOPLE!
4. WOZA urgently demand the release of all political prisoners unlawfully arrested in the last days, our members having been arrested and detained unlawfully for many years As a social movement of Human Rights Defenders, WOZA demand that those in custody be released forthwith even if they themselves had previously arrested and persecuted us but two wrongs never make a right. Civil cases for corruption of party indiscipline can then be taken against them through normal channels legal or party.
5. WOZA ask Zimbabweans to TAKE CHARGE of their lives and future by registering to vote and then voting for a new brand of leadership who will be accountable to us as citizens and not to any political elite pact. As we take back the power of our citizenship role, we must maintain non violent discipline in everything we do so this time a new Zimbabwe can be built upon love, respect and equality and we can have a serious chance to lift each other out of poverty. WE THE PEOPLE ARE TAKING CHARGE.
WOZA MOYA/ HUYA MWEYA
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.
At 10am Tuesday 11 April 2017 Bulawayo based child members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) will march under the theme “Free Acceptable Education to Develop the Nation”.
The march will begin at the public library on the corner of 8th Avenue and Fort Street, proceed up towards Herbert Chitepo turning in toward the Mhlahlandlela Government Complex where they will hand over a petition. Over 200 child human rights defenders are expected to participate alongside 100 child mentors and Women Human Rights Defenders.
This march is a result of considerable civic education with child members since 2010 and forms part of WOZA ongoing campaigning for the full realisation of the right to education and the demand that the government of Zimbabwe fulfil its obligations to progressively realise this right.
The aim of the march is to provide children with a platform to freely express their views and opinions on matters that affect them; making them public knowledge for positive action to be taken.
Child participation is one of the core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); which asserts that children and young people have the right to freely express their views and that there is an obligation to listen to children’s views and facilitate their participation in all matters affecting their lives. The Constitution of Zimbabwe also provides for the right to participation in Section 61 – which states that “Children have the right to express themselves freely, and seek ideas and information” and in Section 81(1) (a) which puts emphasis on the right to be heard.
WOZA are known for civil disobedience protests since formation in 2002 but for this march, WOZA has formally invited the Zimbabwe Republic Police to the event and to participate alongside the human rights defenders. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has also been invited to observe the peaceful procession in central Bulawayo.
see what the children have to say through poetry
Childrens POEMS for the march
For the URGENT attention of: ALL Education Ministries, Cabinet, Parliament and Senate of Zimbabwe
The Government of Zimbabwe has directly retrogressed in its obligation to provide free primary education according to local, regional and international instruments. The State has made no effort to correct this retrogression even after including the right to education in the Constitution Bill of Rights.
The Laws relating to the right to education are all contained in the following
a) The right to education enjoys protection in international law. Section 26 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides that, ‘Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory…’
b) The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), in Article 13(2) (a) and (b), obliges states parties to make primary education compulsory and free, whereas secondary education “shall be made generally available and accessible”.
c) The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides for the right to education in Article 28. Article 28 (1) (a) places an obligation upon States parties to make primary education compulsory and free, whereas article 28(1) (b) requires states to make secondary education available and accessible to the child.
d) Article 17 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights stipulates that every individual shall have the right to education.
e) Zimbabwe has canvassed these international law principles through domestication which means bring these international laws into local laws. The Zimbabwean Constitution provides for the right to education in Section 27 which states that ‘the State shall take all practical measures to promote free and compulsory basic education for children…’ Further in the declaration of rights, Section 75 entitles ‘every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe to a basic State- funded education…’ The Education Act in Section 4 demands that ‘every child in Zimbabwe shall have the right to school education’.
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) representing citizens countrywide, therefore wish to publicly advise the Government of Zimbabwe, Ministry Officials, School Officials and members of the School Development Associations and Committees of the following declarations.
1. Parents will cease to pay school fees and all levies for primary level from this point forward.
2. Parents also cancel all debts accrued.
3. For secondary schooling, only the USD 10 tuition fee and statutory stipulated USD 5 levy will be accepted and paid.
4. Demand that immediately through policy and practice stop disrespecting the right to compulsory free primary and secondary education. Additionally, the government should investigate and penalise teachers or school heads who practice discrimination by chasing children who can’t pay fees from schools and allow accessibility by all children;
Education is an inheritance and a right! It must be FREE! Imfundo yilifa njalo lilungelo – Dzidzo inhkaka nekodzero.
August 2016 school fees boycott Woza Moya
see also WOZA statement
State of the Nation March
Matabeleland Civil Society Organisations Press Statement
Following the unredeemable police brutal action against protests that took place between 1 – 25 July 2016 in Beitbridge, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, The Matabeleland Civil Society Organisations (MCSOs) would like to urgently call on the Zimbabwean Government to immediately engage citizens and listen to their grievances as regards the state of the nation and its socio economic meltdown. Failure to do so may result in serious civil strife and unrest as has periodically been witnessed in the past few weeks.
It is noted with concern that, while citizens were acting well within their constitutional rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights and other sections of the Constitution, police officers in the above mentioned areas took extreme measures to crush protests, thereby leading to violent clashes, beating of protesters, arrests and thereafter extremely inhumane treatment of detained demonstrators while in police custody. Of further concern isthe vicious retributive action taken by the police in following up after demonstrators, which led to the death of an infant and assaults on innocent civilians residing in and around Burombo flats in Bulawayo. Police heavy handedness during and after the protests is condemned in the strongest terms as many people were left suffering injuries caused by the use of force and tear gas.
As Matabeleland civil society organisations, we would like to unequivocally state the following:
1. We condemn the brutal beatings, torture, indiscriminate and careless use of tear gas and arbitrary arrests of minors and adults for exercising and enjoying their fundamental rights. We therefore appeal to all officers of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to honor and respect their Police charter and the Bill of Rights in the constitution of Zimbabwe to protect human life, human dignity and human rights and in particular children’s safety and peace of mind.
2. We call on the Government to;
-Genuinely and urgently engage citizens and listen to their grievances as regards the state of the nation, as Failure to address the socio economic meltdown may result in continued serious civil strife.
– Investigate and prosecute all human rights violations detailed in the attached report.
– Immediately repeal statutory instrument 64/2016 and review all laws that hinder citizen’s right to trade and earn a living.
– To respect, protect and fulfil fundamental rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights.
3. We call on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to take its mandate and investigate, document and make recommendation on the human rights violations in this report.
4. We call on citizens to peacefully continue to demand their fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
5. We call on the regional and international community to ensure the plight of Zimbabwean citizens remain on the agenda
6. We call on the SADC, in particular the Heads of States summit to be held in Mbabane, Swaziland as from the 15th to the 17th of August 2016 to priorities the plight of Zimbabwean citizens and directly address the issues raised in this report.
Endorsed by the following Institutions:
1. Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association
2. Habakkuk Trust
3. National Youth Development Trust
4. Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe
5. Radio Dialogue
6. Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
7. Zimbabwe Christian Alliance
8. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
NINE hundred and sixty members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) at 2pm on 6 May 2016 began 4 protest at separate locations in Bulawayo central business district. Police Reaction Squad of six had already been observed monitoring certain locations in the city since early morning.
At 9th Avenue and H. Chitepo avenue WOZA members remained undeterred and began their protest under the watchful eyes of the police officers who had no option but to escort the protest along their route. All four protest converged at the intersection 10th Avenue and H. Chitepo and began their final march to the Mhlahlandlela Government Complex. At the complex, the gates had been shut by security guards denying members access to deliver the petition and police officers quickly made formation blocking the entrance into the main gate at the complex.
In anticipation of this blocking tactic, WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu had earlier delivered to the Resident Minister and Provincial Education department an open letter to Minister of Primary Education, Minister Dokora.
WOZA members, proceeded to conduct their protest programme undisturbed at the entrance to the complex. The programme included a speech by Magodonga Mahlangu defining the message to the Minister and calling on parents to defend their children against state brainwashing. Members then sang the African national anthem ‘Nkosi Sikelela iAfrica’ and recited the ‘Lord’s prayer’ before peacefully dispersing and going to their homes.
At the government complex Police officers in civilian clothing parked by the Drill hall and watched the procession. Uniformed officers noted their presence and went to consult with them on what to do with the crowd. At this time another vehicle with 7 Reaction anti Riot police officers drove out of Drill Hall and also parked next to the vehicle with plain clothed officers. These officers also then asked for instructions and were told “vakanetsa tichavarova” shona for ‘if they cause trouble we will beat them up”. Another police officer who was driving our of Drill hall called the reaction police officers and gave an instruction that they should ensure the demonstrators are not blocking the entrance into Mhlahlandlela offices, he also emphasized that they should not beat them “musavarove”, he said in shona.
During the march and at Mhlahlandlela complex, members distributed the Woza Moya newsletter detailing the issue for members of the public. People put their hands out of cars to receive it and others came to their shop door steps asking for publication.
The activity cause debate amongst the general public with many people saying they had not understood what it was all about but now they had information, they would not allow their children to pledge. One foreigner from Malawi said the government had chosen a wrong time to implement new things as the people are suffering and are waiting for socio-economic development rather than nationalism stunts. Some said that the national pledge which is forced on children will not develop or change the economic and declining education system of the country so Minister Dokora must try something else instead.
After the closing slogan was shouted out members peacefully dispersed escorted by police officers until they reached the corner of Herbert Chitepo and 10th avenue.
WOZA Bulawayo members will march to hand over an open letter to Minister of Primary Education Minister Dokora. The open letter covers the view of members, adults and children who object to the manner, spirit and implementation of the national pledge.
Open leter to Minister Dokora 6may2016
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.
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
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members numbering around one thousand converged upon the Executive Mayors office in fife Street Bulawayo to urge the majoy to stand up for the constitutional rights of vendors.
As the members began their activity at city hall having marched from 11 different locations, a council staffer handed WOZA national coordinator a formal response to the WOZA open letter of 24 June 2015.
The letter confirms council position that the deadline will not be adhered to until council and stakeholders together find and expand vending sites.
The mayors letter closing calling for ‘good sense will prevail and we can be allowed enough time to organise ourselves as Bulawayo’
WOZA applaud the antiRiot police for restraining themselves and merely observing proceedings.
WOZA members keenly watch for news of a response from Mininster Chombo to the Mayor and hope it will promote peace and dignity.
see the mayors response here:
see pictures at https://twitter.com/radiodialoguefm/status/614368793494728704