Mid afternoon today 9 March, the three Dube women were finally released. As a face saver, police made them sign warn and cautioned statements charged with ‘blocking the pavement’. If police can find witnesses they would have to proceed by summonsing them to appear in Court. But no police officers seem to be forthcoming as witnesses or as investigating officers. WOZA view this as a victory for the naming and shaming of Officers Ngwenya and Mdawini who tortured collegues arrested earlier in the week.
Woza Moya!! Aluta continua!
Previous post for background – Second night in jail for 3 despite cops refusing to prosecute
Today is international Women’s Day and our three colleagues, Eneles Dube, Janet Dube and Selina Dube, arrested at the 7 March Women’s Day protest remain in custody for a second night. The Lawyer attending the case, Lizwe Jamela was himself arrested this morning so could not attend our members until they were released. As of close of business today, Law and Order officers admitted to Mr Jamela that as a result of the release of the previous 4 colleagues without charge, they cannot prosecutor this matter and had refused to accept the case and returned it to the arresting department. The head of this department could not take a decision and passed the docket to the Officer Commanding Bulawayo District requesting instruction on how to proceed.
Meanwhile our 3 colleagues remain in the hellhole that is Bulawayo central police station. There is no flushing toilets; no food and we have to bring food in to every meal and risk theft of this food by officers; no blankets; no access to medication by those on anti retrovirals; no access to water; filthy cells and harassment by police officers. They have not had the right to see a lawyer.
The arrests saga seems to have become difficult to follow so we provide herewith a recap of the arbitrary arrests since 28 February 2011.
28 February 2011 – Three men, Gift Nkomo, Proud Pandeya, Noah Mapfuma of Entumbane suburb in Bulawayo are arrested, tortured and held for 48 hours before being arraigned with $50 each bail and surrendering of travel documents. They are reporting to the Law and Order Department of Bulawayo Central Police station twice a week and will reappear in court on 16 March 2011. Charged under C/S 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23: “Acting together with one or more other persons with him/her in any place realizing that there is a real risk or possibility of disturbing peace, security or order of the public”.
28 February 2011 – the afternoon of the same day, another 4 arrested. The 3 women and one man – Sitshiyiwe Ngwenya, Joyce Ndebele, Moreblessing Dube, Kholwani Ndlovu of Mabutweni Suburb in Bulawayo are held for 48 hours and tortured before being arraigned with $50 each bail and surrendering of travel documents. They are reporting to the Law and Order Department of Bulawayo Central Police station twice a week and will reappear in court on 16 March 2011. Charged under C/S 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23: “Acting together with one or more other persons with him/her in any place realizing that there is a real risk or possibility of disturbing peace, security or order of the public”.
1st March 2011 – Fourteen women from Mabutweni Suburb of Bulawayo are arrested late afternoon at a burial society meeting – 4 WOZA members, rest members of the public. Released late the same night without charge.
4 March 2011 – Another 4 women from Pumula in Bulawayo are arrested. They are Glory Ncube, Nomsa Sibanda, Monica Shema and Beatrice Ngwenya. After 48 hours and a solidarity protest by WOZA members, they are released as the state refused to prosecute the four. They had been tortured and Monica had money stolen from her by arresting police officers.
7 March 2011 – Three women, Eneles Dube, Janet Dube and Selina Dube, part of the peaceful protest are arrested by Riot Police and taken to Bulawayo Central Police station. They are hidden away from lawyer’s access until they manage to get a phone call home to ask for food. The remain in custody for a second night despite the fact that the Law and order department of the police responsible for this kind of case do not wish to process them for court as a result of the previous four released without charge. They await district commissioner’s further instruction. These three women seem not to have been tortured but access to them has been limited to verify this.
At this time we ask members of the public for solidarity in the form of phone calls to Bulawayo Central Police station calling for the release of these activists. Please call +263 9 72515 and ask for the ‘DISPOL’ who is the Officer Commanding Bulawayo District. If you fail ask for Detective Sergeant George Levison Ngwenya and ask him to change his violent ways.