WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) member, Bertha Sibanda, appeared in Tredgold Magistrates Court Bulawayo charged with contravening section 132 of the Code that is publicly exposing herself and being a nuisance. She was granted bail of $100 on condition that she resides at her given address and that she must not interfere with witnesses. She appeared before Court 2 presiding magistrate Mr. Mthethwa. She is defended by Kossam Ncube deployed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. She will appear for a further remand hearing on 4th March 2013.
The outline of the state case reads, “Charge C/S 77 (a) of the criminal law codification and reform act Chapter 9:23 “Public Indecency”. The complainant is the state. It reads; “4. On the 14 February 2013 at about 1600hrs, a group of women was brought at Z.R.P Bulawayo Central by Byo police reaction group following an unnotified gathering at Southampton Building. 5. Accused was amongst the other group of women that followed at Byo Central protesting against the police officers who had taken their partners. 6. Whilst gathered at Z.R.P Byo Central courtyard, accused Bertha Sibanda indecently exposed herself by taking off her blouse and skirt and remained wearing a pant in a public place and within view of Police officers and the crowd that was gathered at Z.R.P Byo Central courtyard. 7. Accused was arrested by number 9916561 cst Nkenjana who escorted her into the charge office where a report was opened. 8 accused acted unlawful.”
WOZA wish to make known that disrobing is a form of non violent protest practiced in many cultures and recognised by the foremost scholar of Nonviolence Professor Gene Sharp. Professor Sharp’s authored 198 methods of protest and symbolic public acts. Protest disrobings appears as number 22.
WOZA wish to object to the selective application of the law and waste of court resources in this case. “It is clear that if you are a members of Zanu PF you can strip without consequence in front of the American ambassador but if you happen to be a member of WOZA; you are denied access to food, held in police custody for 4 days then you are arraigned before court that will continue to use scarce resources to persecute you by prosecution. WOZA abbreviated protest checklist (Gene Sharp)