Watch video footage of the demonstration here: WOZA ZESA demo Harare 15.04.10
In his Independence Day address today, President Robert Mugabe spoke of the need for Zimbabweans to “foster an environment of tolerance and treating each other with dignity and respect irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation.” At the same time, four WOZA activists, Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani were spending their fourth day in the cold, dark, filthy cells of Harare Central Police Station. Their crime? Exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest and asking electricity service provider, ZESA, to improve their service and revise their flawed billing system. The demonstration in which the four women were arrested, together with 61 comrades who were released without charge later the same day, was entirely peaceful. The women have not been formally charged by police and yet have been subjected to an extended detention. Is this the tolerance, dignity and respect that the President is referring to?
Detention in appalling conditions is the reality for human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. 30 years of independence from colonial rule is an achievement worthy of commemoration. How much sweeter would it have been if the party that helped to liberate the people of Zimbabwe was now not actively involved in their oppression? It is time that the promises of the liberation war are delivered to the people of Zimbabwe.
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 ask police officers why they are continuing to detain the WOZA activists and insist that they not be mistreated in custody.
To read a copy of the yellow card the WOZA protestors were delivering to ZESA, click here: ZESA yellow card
To read a copy of WOZA’s report on electricity services in Zimbabwe, click here: WOZA report on ZESA