At noon Saturday 4 March, Glory Ncube arrived in Robert Sinyoka to visit her sick mother. She was arrested by plain clothed police driving a cream double cab. They drove her to her home in Old Pumula and thoroughly searched her home for WOZA material. They then drove past Nomsa Sibanda’s house and seeing her outside, grabbed her without occupants of her house even realising. It seems they then came across Monica Shema and Beatrice Ngwenya on the road waiting for transport to town and promptly grabbed them too. All four activists were taken to Bulawayo Central Police station. Human Rights lawyer Kossam Ncube managed to see them but was told to return on Sunday at which point an investigating officer could have been appointed.
Nomusa Sibanda is a nursing mother of a one year old.
WOZA members are reporting heavy presence of police and army and ‘youth’ who are drunk and violently beat up anyone indiscriminately. These police officers have been going around telling people to be in their homes by 8:30pm and if they disobey they will be severely beaten. Many members have witnessed beating of people as they try to go about their business. The same security forces are also telling people to never group in more than 3 people and if they do, they are beaten. The police have also been conducting serious ‘stop and search’ of people in all suburbs and also in town. Member’s recall last seeing this level of security during the 1982 crack down by the 5th Brigade. The country seems to be in the grip of an undeclared state of emergency.
Relatives feeding the four women confirm they have swollen faces and hands. Nomsa was unable to hold or feed her baby brought to her Sunday morning.
WOZA wish to call on SADC guarantors of the global political agreement to urgently send a delegation to Zimbabwe to visit the suburbs and observe this crack down by security forces before there is loss of life. Additionally, we ask for them to hold police accountable for their proper role in society instead of arresting people arbitrarily when they are going about their business peacefully.