Members of WOZA and MOZA held four community-based protests in Harare and Chitungwiza today, taking to the streets of Domboramwari, Glen View, Kuwadzana and Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.
In Domboramwari, 100 women and men marched from the main water point to the shopping centre, carrying balloons that read â€˜Stand Up for Your Childâ€™ and handing out flyers urging people to vote in the coming elections. The group chanted slogans in the shopping centre for some time before dispersing without incident.
In Chitungwiza, approximately 150 people marched several hundred metres to Makoni Shopping Centre, again handing out flyers and generating much excitement from the Saturday-morning shoppers. As the group was dispersing, a ZANU PF campaign vehicle and police vehicles were seen driving towards the group. At the time of writing, the welfare of Chitungwiza demonstrators is still being ascertained. The song being sung in Shona by the marchers was â€˜our children want food, schooling â€“ police, if you harass them, we will be on your backsâ€™
In Glen View, a group of approximately 50 people began marching from Glen View 3 Shopping Centre. It soon became clear however that the balloons and the flyers being handed out, which include childrenâ€™s games, were causing great excitement amongst the children in the area and many children rushed to join in the procession. As more and more children joined in, it was decided to disperse the procession before it reached the agreed end point as there were concerns for the welfare of the children should police approach.
The final demonstration of the day was held in Kuwadzana where about 75 women and men marched for several hundred metres to Kuwadzana Shopping Centre. Again the peaceful group, with its carnival atmosphere, attracted great attention from shoppers in the market and in the centre. Bicycle police were observed attending the scene shortly after the crowd dispersed. The song being sung in Shona by the marchers was a duet by WOZA and MOZA. The song depicted a child asking their parent to pay school fees and both parents saying there was no money, with the father saying he only had enough money for one pint of beer.
The peaceful protests were to urge people to â€˜Stand up for your Childâ€™ and to encourage Zimbabweans to vote and to vote wisely for candidates that will deliver a future for the children. WOZA has taken a position to mobilise Zimbabweans to vote for any candidate that they feel will deliver social justice rather than follow blindly party loyalties.
Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Republic Police in clear contravention of their powers under the new Public Order Security Act (POSA), banned toyi-toying yet did not seem to pay too much undue notice to the peaceful WOZA demonstrations.
To see the flyer that the demonstrators were handing out to passersby, click here.Â Stand Up for Your Child flyer 3