Hundreds of members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) took part in peaceful street actions in 10 areas of Bulawayo today. The community-based demonstrations targeted local shops and businesses demanding affordable food on the shelves and an end to selling to cronies and the uniformed forces out the back door. The protestors also delivered an open letter to business owners and the ministers of Industry and Commerce and Home Affairs to demand meaningful economic reforms, rather than the unthinking slashing of prices. There have been no reports of arrests to date from any of the protests.
Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA) then completed a morning of protest by marching for four blocks through central Bulawayo to TM Hypermarket with the same demands. This was MOZAâ€™s first demonstration on their own. Plain-clothed police officers were seen collecting up the open letter after the protest and presumably it will be delivered through them to the respective ministers.
Activists targeted shops in Nkulumane 5, Mpopoma, Matshobana, Mabutweni, Njube, Nkulumane 12, Tshabalala, Pumula Old and North and Magwegwe. In the city centre MOZA targeted OK Bazaars and TM Hypermarket.
The open letter carried by the protestors outlined several demands to both businesses and government, including the request that 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; that the Price Control Task Force be reshuffled and be selected in a transparent manner and that government stop harassing shop owners and allow them to stock and trade freely and honestly at the price set. A copy of the open letter in full can be found below.