AT noon today 700 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise marched through central Harare to the offices of the state-owned Herald newspaper, handing out Valentine cards, red roses and abbreviated copies of WOZA’s report on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe. No arrests have been reported at the time of this release.
In typical WOZA fashion, six protests started separately and converged on the offices of the Herald. The peaceful groups sang as they marched, handing out roses and Valentine cards to excited Saturday shoppers who rushed forward to accept the gifts. At the Herald offices, the peaceful protestors chanted slogans for a few minutes before leaving a copy of the report, a Valentine rose and a WOZA scarf at the door before dispersing without incident.
The report, entitled ‘Hearts starve as well as bodies – give us bread but give us roses too! Democratising Zimbabwe – an opportunity to shine!‘ is a snapshot of community activists’ views on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe one year after the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU). It also urges Zimbabweans to participate in democratizing Zimbabwe.
The Valentine cards handed out by the marchers read: “It is not enough that bread has returned to our shelves. Our hearts are also starving for a people-driven constitution. We demand a living constitution that will give us bread and roses too! Just like the thorns on a rose, love comes with pain, we must be willing to fight through the pain to get our new constitution. Demand your Rose – stand up for love. Shine Zimbabwe Shine!”
Songs sung by the peaceful protestors included: “We want our constitution; we want our rose“, “love is needed in Zimbabwe urgently“, “it is difficult to live in a country where thorns are in our way, we need to kneel and pray” and “if your heart is troubled, trust in the Lord (John 14:1).”
The peaceful protest today was a test of civic and media freedoms under the GNU at a time when the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) is being publicly debated in Zimbabwe.
A full copy of the report can be found at the following link: Hearts starve as well as bodies: a WOZA perspective on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe