Trial of Williams and Mahlangu postponed to 22 January 2009

Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, leaders of WOZA, appeared in Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court this morning before a packed courtroom. They were on trial for charges relating to the combined cases of the 16 October 2008 case and a 19 June 2004 arrest. The state, represented by Mr. Shawarira, was not ready for trial however and so Magistrate Msipa postponed the trial until 22 January 2009. All bail and reporting conditions were removed after an application for relaxation by the defence.

Williams and Mahlangu were arrested on 16th October at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex. They were part of a group of 200 demanding that the humanitarian crisis in the country be de-politicised and declared a national disaster. They were denied bail by Magistrate Charity Maphosa and detained in Mlondolozi Prison for three weeks before being granted bail through an appeal to the High Court. They were placed on strict bail conditions, which included reporting to police twice a week and not being allowed to travel outside a 40 kilometer radius of Bulawayo without written permission from a magistrate.

The pair had been with C/S 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23: “any person who acts together with one or more other persons present with him or her in any place or at any meeting with the intention or realising that there is a real risk or possibility of forcibly disturbing the peace, security or order of the public …”

On Friday 28th, the State summonsed Magodonga Mahlangu for a arrest in 2004 under c/s 7(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act chapter 9:15 – “acting in a manner which is likely to lead to a breach of the peace or to create a nuisance or obstruction”. Jenni Williams did not actually receive the summons although her name is reflected in the summons given to Mahlangu.

Both cases were combined into one trial.None of the state witnesses were present in the courtroom for the 2008 matter. Only one of the state witnesses for the 2004 matter was present.

Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu look forward to travelling outside of a 40 kilometre radius of Bulawayo and thank all friends who offered their solidarity.

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Reader Comments

This is proof of the sickening, disturbing fact that people around the globe continue to be silenced by governments unwilling to think and act in a humanitarian fashion. Kudos to these brave women for standing up for rights that so many people take for granted but remain well out of reach for others.

Its sweet music to hear that BRAVE WOMEN are alive and are closer to FREEDOM. WE are praying for your souls, come JANUARY 22 2009 U WILL BE FREED COZ your freedom is the freedom of the suffering masses who are two scared or are too occupied looting and fattening their external accounts at the expense of their fellow countrymen. Jennie and Godonga, your efforts will free the enslaved, from magwegwe to dangamvura.You guys are TOO BIG FOR THE FALLING satanists. The world is watching and God will judge that day each man will answer for his sins. Hope they did not cut your nails Godonga. Happy FREEDOM

When victory arrives we shall remember these women and so many of us will be ashamed ukuti omama went before us to exorcise the demon. A few more will be ashamed that they let the demon use them in abusing their very own mothers and wives. Everyone in Zimbabwe comes from somewhere and there is a mother in that somwhere who has looked after them, made sure they were fed and well and these women remind me that mothers are never wrong and no matter how much you deny their effotrs, they remain stedfast and have a conviction that they will prevail. Bt the most beautiful thing of all has to be this:
when they overcome and victory is certain, they will not rub it in. Their victory is in seeing the kids and husbands restored to a proper family again

Good luck with the trial, and I hope governments will see the worsening situation in Zimbabwe and finally take action to bring forth changes.