4 women remain in custody

WOZA members arrest themselves in solidarity outside ZESA headquaters in Harare
WOZA members arrest themselves in solidarity outside ZESA headquaters in Harare

The four WOZA women arrested at the ZESA headquarters in Harare yesterday, Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani, remain in police custody. They have still not been formally charged. Their lawyer, Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was granted access to them this afternoon. They are in good spirits despite the appalling conditions in Harare Central Police Station. Law and Order officers will decide tomorrow morning what charges they will prefer against the four activists. Due to the public holiday on Monday, if the women are not taken to court tomorrow morning they will remain in custody until Tuesday at the very least.

It has also emerged that a 23-year-old MOZA member, Timothy Katyora, was beaten in Harare Central Police Station yesterday by six uniformed officers. The young man was with a group of activists who presented themselves at the Charge Office attempting to hand themselves in in solidarity with their arrested comrades. Timothy was hauled away from the rest of the group into the guard room and beaten over the head by six officers, who were questioning him constantly about what he was doing there. After being beaten for several minutes, he was chased out of the police station. Timothy received medical treatment for bruising and headaches this morning.

The arrest and continued detention of the four women for exercising their constitutional right to demand a fair service for the electricity that they pay for makes a mockery of the Independence celebrations that no doubt will be taking place across Zimbabwe this weekend. 30 years later, the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans still do not enjoy the fruits of freedom. The promises of the liberation war have not been delivered to Zimbabweans who struggle to survive every day, wondering how they will feed their children tomorrow. Human rights and dignity denied to women, men and children who wish that the great achievement of 30 years of independence from colonial rule was something that could be celebrated. There is very little to celebrate in the cold, dark cells of Harare Central Police Station.

Please continue to call Harare Central Police Station on (+263 4) 777777 or (+263 4) 736931 or (+263 4) 725803 or (+263 4) 733033 or (+263 4) 721212 to demand that the WOZA activists be taken to court tomorrow and that they not be mistreated in custody.

Watch footage from the demonstration here: ZESA demo Hre 16.04.10