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Four Bulawayo Women Arrested and Tortured

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.

8 make bail and police confirm looking for organisers

EIGHT WOZA members arrested during a protest against the on the 24th of May 2011 appeared at Western Commonage Magistrate Court on 26th of May 2011. Those arrested were Grace Moyo, Stella Chivunge, Sikhangezile Sibanda, Simangaliphi Msimanga, 16yr old Cecelia Ncube, Siboniso Siziba, Miriam Moyo, and Memory Matandare with her 3month old baby Rejoice. The accused were represented by Human Rights Lawyer Kossam Ncube and appeared before Magistrate Shepherd Munjanja. The Public Prosecutor was Fiona Ncube-Dhenere represented the state.

They were formally charged with two counts the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act 9:23. Count 1 is Section 41(a) – Intentional engaging in a disorderly or riotous conduct and count 2 Section 46(2) (f) – Encumbering or obstructing the free passage along any street, road, thoroughfare, sidewalk or pavements.

As the state was opposing bail a hearing had to be conducted. The state called Investigating officer Detective Assistant Inspector Nhlanhla Ncube from Pumula Police station to give evidence.  He argued that police are not done with the investigations as they want to arrest the organisers of the action. He told the court that since January police have been on the lookout for Woza organisers and they want those in custody to lead them to the organisers. Defence attorney argued that this matter was not to be put on the shoulders of the current accused who should not suffer as a result of police incompetence to do their work.

After an adjourned the Magistrate Shepherd Munjanja indicated that it is the duty of the police to investigate first before arresting and not to arrest and investigate. He reminded the police prison cells are not place to keep people who have not been proven to be guilty while police officers are doing their investigations. He granted them $100 bail each, and ordered them to report every Friday at Pumula police camp until the finalisation of the matter. The defence applied to challenge the charges on the next remand date which is the 9th June 2011. All the accused pleaded not guilty.

The charge and statement taking procedures were done 8 times with all statements being torn up and ‘they did not make sense’ so finding a charge was problematic and it is amazing with this background that the investigating team went further to want to refuse bail and indicated that they want to arrest the organisers since January. Noting the evidence made by the police officer under oath is a confirmation of the police harassment of WOZA Human rights Defenders and direct proof that there is no political will to implement respect for freedoms of assembly and expression and promises contained in the political agreement. It is also direct contempt for a Supreme Court ruling obtained by Williams and Mahlangu for a 2008 arrest. It is promising to note that the magistrate reminder to the police that they must investigate then arrest is a reprimand for the police force that prefer to employ persecution by prosecution as standard practice and it is hopeful that in the next sitting he will rule for these frivolous charges to be withdrawn.

It is sad to note that arresting officers initially asked for deport fines to be paid but members said they had not committed any offence and demanded their right to appear in court. The just action at that point was to release the eight but they could not be humble and proceeded to detain them. The whole afternoon on Tuesday, they could not find a police station to detain them and the law and order department also refused to receive the case saying that arresting officers were overzealous must finish their own dirty work and even questioned why they were even arrested in the first place. The arbitrary arrest of Human Rights defenders is an urgent call for security sector reform.

WOZA members remain in custody; concerns for safety of 18 year old girl

82 members spent last night in police custody. The four mothers and a minor reported at 8 am this morning as instructed.

ALERT! The young girl, Clarah Makoni, arrested yesterday with Angeline Karuru, as they took food to Luveve Police Station is missing. She was moved to Central Police station and beaten and threatened with torture by electricity but was eventually released last night. Karuru was also beaten and tortured but remained in custody and was released at midday today (Friday). Makoni was told to report back to Bulawayo Central Police Station at 8am this morning and did so, although she was obviously very ill and was vomiting.

Last contact with her was a phone call at 8:17 am this morning from a Bulawayo number 69661. She indicated that she was feeling unwell but had been assigned two police officers who were accompanying her to show them the home of Magodonga Mahlangu. Mahlangu advised her to tell the officers she was unwell and to insist on being taken for medical attention. Nothing has been heard from her since although lawyers have been informed by police that she has been released with her colleague.

Makoni was also tortured during the Valentine’s Day arrests in February, suffering inflamed kidneys and yesterday’s beating could have aggravated these past injuries.

The rest of the group are still in custody. They are expected to be taken to court this afternoon but given past experience of police delaying tactics, the group is prepared to spend the weekend in custody.

Bertha released on $100 bail

WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) member, Bertha Sibanda, appeared in Tredgold Magistrates Court Bulawayo charged with contravening section 132 of the Code that is publicly exposing herself and being a nuisance. She was granted bail of $100 on condition that she resides at her given address and that she must not interfere with witnesses. She appeared before Court 2 presiding magistrate Mr. Mthethwa. She is defended by Kossam Ncube deployed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. She will appear for a further remand hearing on 4th March 2013.

The outline of the state case reads, “Charge C/S 77 (a) of the criminal law codification and reform act Chapter 9:23 “Public Indecency”. The complainant is the state. It reads; “4. On the 14 February 2013 at about 1600hrs, a group of women was brought at Z.R.P Bulawayo Central by Byo police reaction group following an unnotified gathering at Southampton Building. 5. Accused was amongst the other group of women that followed at Byo Central protesting against the police officers who had taken their partners. 6. Whilst gathered at Z.R.P Byo Central courtyard, accused Bertha Sibanda indecently exposed herself by taking off her blouse and skirt and remained wearing a pant in a public place and within view of Police officers and the crowd that was gathered at Z.R.P Byo Central courtyard. 7. Accused was arrested by number 9916561 cst Nkenjana who escorted her into the charge office where a report was opened. 8 accused acted unlawful.”

WOZA wish to make known that disrobing is a form of non violent protest practiced in many cultures and recognised by the foremost scholar of Nonviolence Professor Gene Sharp. Professor Sharp’s authored 198 methods of protest and symbolic public acts. Protest disrobings appears as number 22.

WOZA wish to object to the selective application of the law and waste of court resources in this case. “It is clear that if you are a members of Zanu PF you can strip without consequence in front of the American ambassador but if you happen to be a member of WOZA; you are denied access to food, held in police custody for 4 days then you are arraigned before court that will continue to use scarce resources to persecute you by prosecution. WOZA abbreviated protest checklist (Gene Sharp)

Practice the spirit of Ubuntu for the love of Zimbabwe

WOZA calls on Zimbabweans to practice the spirit of Ubuntu for the love of Zimbabwe
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) will conduct their traditional Valentines Days peaceful protests, handing out red roses and calling on public office bearers to practice the spirit of Ubuntu (I am because we are) and realise that they represent people, and should do by respecting their own and the peoples dignity. This activity comes at a time when the nation is shocked by revelations’ of obscene salaries being earned by office bearers. As this looting continues unchecked, the economy crumbles.

The anniversary of the referendum soon approaches on 16 March 2014 but very little has been done to harmonise laws so that the full richness of the constitution can provide much needed dignity to citizens and empower them with ways to check theft of public finance, corruption and to recall representatives who have been missing from their constituencies since the July 2013 election.

Valentine’s Day also comes at a time when the promise of free primary education a foundation of the liberation war and a clause in the constitution declaration of rights is in disarray. School levies have skyrocketed and corruption in schools has now reached unacceptable levels. Members of WOZA report that more children are being chased away from school. The Basic education Assistance Module, (BEAM) has been bankrupted and has been discontinued, when just one month’s salary of former CEO of the Premier Services Medical Aid could have paid fees for hundreds vulnerable children. During the peaceful marches WOZA will be exposing these injustices and demanding the urgent activation of the constitution, with the delivery of primary schooling as a priority to be met by 30 December 2014.

WOZA also support the joint position of civic society regarding the need for more transparency and accountability by public officials. The statement by CSOs calls for the government to take urgent action to restore sanity by “instituting a commission of enquiry tasked with further investigating the obscene salary saga, ‘tenderpreneurship’ and any other underhand dealings taking place in the public sector”. The statement also calls for the dismissing all those found to be on the wrong side of the law. WOZA along with CSOs also expects the dismissing all board members implicated, naming and shaming them and also calling on them to right the wrong by paying back the money or donating to BEAM.

WOZA ask members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to respect the right to protest and petition contained in the constitution and ask them not to trample upon the roses of love. Valentines Woza Moya 2014

WOZA Statement on International womens Day 2017

International Women’s Day Theme – “Be Bold for Change”
The Zimbabwean State translated this to Theme –
“The woman we want is bankable, business minded, brainy, beautiful bold, blessed and balanced”

March 8 of every year signifies an important milestone in the gender race as we commemorate the International Women’s Day. On this occasion, members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are joining women in the world over and Zimbabwe, to commemorate this day. However WOZA commemorates this day with a heavy heart as women continue to lose their lives whist giving life, childbirth should be a time for celebration not mourning. Women toil daily, scavenging to put food on the table trying to turn the dream of a decent meal into a reality for their children.

The day showcases social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women in its advocacy to create awareness of the contribution of women to the development of society as positive agents of change. This year’s theme, ‘Be bold for change’, could not have come at a better time, especially when change is the talk of the day in the country but no one is walking that talk. There is a lot of active change that is required in order to bridge the gender discrepancies that exist in our country and restore democracy.

The international theme challenges each individual to be leaders within their spheres of influence by engaging in practical non-violent actions to narrow the gender gap and help women and girls realize their full potential. The Theme as selected by the Zimbabwe government is little more than window dressing in a country with a crashing economy and patriarchy becoming more entrenched daily.

Zimbabwean women have more progressive laws, policies and constitutional rights compared to the Rhodesian women. These Rhodesian woman white or black could put three decent meals on the table and go about her informal trading without much harassment. When pregnant Rhodesian women only had to register to arrive to deliver her child carrying only baby clothes. In the Independent Zimbabwe of today, women with all their so-called racial equality, progressive laws can hardly put one meal on the table. She cannot afford the pricey maternity fees which only covers a bed. She is required to bring bandages, gloves, scissors, water drips, needles, clipper to tie the umbilical code, methylated spirit and cotton wool. If unlucky to need an operation she has to bring a complete kit including the scissors used to cut your abdomen. The pregnancy nightmare could continue with your detention under guard in hospital if you cannot pay the bill. Even then if you don’t pay in full, birth records of your child are withheld.

With this comparison of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe WOZA note that Independence Day 2017 looms. Zimbabwe will turn 37 but there will be no joyfulness on that day as women don’t feel independent despite the protracted liberation war. It is women who face the brunt of injustices perpetrated by the state in the socio, economic and political arena making them slaves to a political elite calling the shots. WOZA calls on institutions, organisations, state leaders and citizens to take an honest look at themselves. As they self-introspect WOZA pray they realise that this suffering is alien to democratic systems, structures, beliefs and gender parity – it is imposed by dictatorship and patriarchy.

Zimbabweans accept that the time has come to actively change our state of affairs. The onus is on the whole population of us women by and large to challenge the status quo for change to be effected. Cognizance has to be taken to the fact that it is our right as humans and as women to be heard and hold those around us accountable as we play our citizenship role. Instead WOZA suggest the theme for International Women’s Day should be WOMAN – TAKE CHARGE

SHE must TAKE CHARGE to ensure gender perspectives be integrated into policy decisions, legislation, development plans, programmes and all other spheres of life.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE to demand Zimbabwe fulfil obligations to ensure all citizens enjoy all human rights which include socio economic, cultural and political rights.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE of food production to bring food security through all sustainable farming projects and agro businesses.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE of balancing her life though business and social volunteerism and participation in community upliftment.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE and demand government support the right to earn a living and trade in all business spaces be there street or board room.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE and demand government harmonises the constitutions so that all laws supporting the full realisation of women rights are fully implemented.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE and bring into being a free, quality and equitable education for our girl children that will enable them to live quality lives.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE of political spaces and campaigning so that genuine candidates are selected in all party primary elections processes. Candidates who must have the message of gender equality, equity and social justice drummed into their heads so they can’t sleep at night thinking of how they can deliver their election promises.
SHE must TAKE CHARGE of rebuilding their lives after the recent floods have rendered them homeless. As we stand in solidarity with the many including our members in Tsholotsho we note the deafening silence of the government making no effort to deal with the situation and restore their dignity.

To the Women of Zimbabwe, we say ‘arise’ and swim against the tide and support the SHE that is TAKING CHARGE and also take a turn to TAKE CHARGE yourself. Rise up and take your positions in the socio-economic realm of this country. Innovation and transformation is key in changing the dire situation we find ourselves in as the women of Zimbabwe, thus now is the time to TAKE CHARGE and non-violently challenge individuals and institutions to become more engendered.

As WOZA we will play our role in supporting, empowering and amplifying the voices of women as they TAKE CHARGE to deliver accountable governance to the nation.

WOZA members beaten after Harare demo – one badly injured

Whilst the three people arrested after the WOZA demonstration in Harare on Tuesday were released after paying a fine and without being harmed, it has emerged that riot police beat at least 10 WOZA members as they were dispersing near Angwa Street. One woman’s elbow was badly dislocated after being beaten with a baton stick across her arm. She is in severe pain and will be in plaster for at least a month.

It has also emerged that four members of MOZA were also arrested after the demonstration. They were driven around the streets of Harare for some time and asked to point out WOZA leaders. When no leaders were identified, the four men were asked if WOZA had plans to disrupt the Zanu PF congress, which was due to be held in Harare the following day. Upon hearing that the demonstration was to mark Human Rights Day and the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, the four men were released unharmed and without charge.

These injuries perpetrated against members directly contradicted what WOZA leaders were told by riot police when stopped near Parliament. When asking the group to disperse, members of the riot squad assured WOZA’s National Co-ordinator, Jenni Williams, that they would not beat the demonstrators but they could not allow them to progress to Parliament. It is obvious however that violence has become so ‘normal’ for the Zimbabwe Republic Police that it is the only response that they know when faced with citizens that peacefully exercise their freedoms of assembly and speech.

Update on arrests of May 28

13 WOZA women and one man remain in custody ten days after being arrested on May 28th. They were participating in a demonstration calling on the government of Zimbabwe to stop the orchestrated violence in the run-up to the presidential run-off election. The women are being held at Chikurubi Prison, in the women’s remand section, while the man is held at Harare Remand Prison.

On May 30 they were admitted to bail in the magistrate’s court, but the State immediately indicated that they would appeal, and were given seven court days to file. The appeal will now be heard on Tuesday, June 10. However, the State has still not filed their papers, saying they will be filed on Monday, with the result that the lawyer from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights acting on their behalf has not been able to view the State’s arguments opposing bail. Meanwhile all the accused appeared in the magistrate’s court on Friday June 6 and were routinely remanded until June 20. It is our hope however, that the State’s case against bail will fail when it is heard on the 10th, and all will be released.

The demonstration for which they were arrested took place in the context of escalating state-sponsored violence against the opposition MDC, a campaign designed to destroy party structures and intimidate voters not to support the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai when the run-off election is held June 27th. More than 50 opposition activists have been killed, thousands have been tortured and injured and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes, making it impossible for them to vote. WOZA was protesting against this violence when they were arrested. Since their arrest the violence has increased and many more victims have poured into clinics, hospitals, and morgues, homes have been burned and families displaced.

All of the arrested face charges of participating in a public gathering with the intent to provoke public violence. Jennifer Williams faces two additional counts of causing disaffection among the police and publishing false statements prejudicial to the state. The charges are based on legislation clearly in breach of the Zimbabwean constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. If they are brought to trial, the constitutionality of these sections of the law will be challenged.

In spite of the stringent conditions which exist in Zimbabwean prisons, all the WOZA members are in good spirits and strong in their commitment to resist oppression and work for social justice. They continue to be visited and taken food. When at the prison they are permitted to eat, but on the day they were taken to court they were refused food while other prisoners were eating, because they are “political”.

WOZA believes that in the current conditions no election can fairly reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. ZANU PF was the clear loser in the March 29th elections but they continue to hold the people hostage. WOZA calls on the international community to recognize the need to find ways to stop the violence, and introduce a healing period under the auspices of an internationally-authorised transitional government. Only then will it be possible to return to a viable electoral process to determine the genuine wishes of the Zimbabwean people.

We also call on the international community to lend support to those WOZA and MOZA members brave enough to stand up publicly in their own terrorized nation to protest the violent actions of a ZANU PF government which has lost the mandate to rule.

Request for remand for Jennifer Williams and 13 others – May 2008

REQUEST FOR REMAND

Station: HARARE CENTRAL Prosecutor’s Ref: .R: 1696/05/2008
Section: C.I.D LAW AND ORDER HARARE. DR 06/06/08 C.R.B. No: 3884-97/2008
Investigating Officer: 037428G D/ASS INSP. NYONI Prison No.
(Note: In the case of joint accused, all are to be included on same Request for Remand Form)

Section A
Accused: (full names, N.R/R.C., etc.) JENNIFFER WILLIAMS  Age: 46 yrs
(2) MAGODONGA MAHLANGU  Age:35 yrs
(3) TRACY LEIGH DOIG Age: 33 yrs

Arrested (date) 28th MAY 2008 Time: 1200hrs
ACCUSED 4 TO 14. SEE ANNEXTURE

Section B
Offence(s) – CONTRAVENING SECTION 37 (1) (c) (ii) OF THE CRIMINAL LAW (CODIFICATION AND REFORM) ACT CHAPTER 9:23 “participating in a gathering with intent to promote Public Violence, breaches of peace of bigotry”

Allegation(s) – On (date) 28TH MAY 2008 at (place) CORNER JULIUS NYERERE AND NKWAME NKHRUMA AVENUE, HARARE the accused (state what the accused did) ACTED IN COMMON PURPOSE AND PARITICIPATED IN AN UNLAWFUL GATHERING DRIVING VEHICLE REGISTRATION NUMBER AAQ 7338, A NISSAN PATROL AROUND THE CITY CENTRE HOLDING, DISPLAYING AND DISTRIBUTING BANNERS AND PLACARDS PLUS FLYERS WITH INSCRIPTIONS SUCH AS: “Robert Mugabe you have become known to us for violence”, From 2 April 2008 the Government organized a retribution campaign to target those who allegedly voted for the opposition”, “Over 40 people have been shot dead in cold blood”, “Women Directors of NGOs are on Government hit list”, etc. INFORMATION WHICH IS CALCULATED AT PROMOTING PUBLIC VIOLENCE, BREACHES OF PEACE OR BIGOTRY.

Evidence (state facts linking accused to the commission of crime/offence, e.g. accused was found in possession of stolen , radio, etc)
1. VEHICLE REGISTRATION NUMBER AAQ 7338, A NISSAN PATROL WHICH ACCUSED WERE USING WAS RECOVERED.
2. ACCUSED FOUND IN POSSESSION OF BANNERS, PLACARDS AND FLYERS

Value of property stolen/potential prejudice (Frauds, etc.) $……… Value of property recovered $…N/A

Bail – not opposed/opposed/on Police bail: Yes/No (If yes $…………………………………………………………
Reasons for apposing bail are:
1. Accused has known record/previous conviction (state)
2. Accused has pending cases at court (quote Station, C.R/CRB No.) BYO CENTRAL CR 1018/6/04 CRBs 4196-4206/04 and BYO CENTRAL CR 180/6/07 CRBs 310-2/07
3. Accused is likely to abscond (give reasons e.g. has no family, no house, etc)
4. Accused is likely to interfere with evidence/witnesses (give reasons why you say so) THERE ARE OTHER OUTSTANDING ACCUSED WHO EVADED THE POLICE DURING THE ARREST AND ARE STILL AT LARGE WHO NEED TO BE FOLLOWED UP.
5. Accused is likely to commit other offences (give reasons): THEY HAVE THE POSSIBILITY OF COMMITTING OTHER/SIMILAR OFFENCES AS THEY HAVE OUTSTANDING COURT CASES.
6. Any other reason(s): THE ACCUSED ARE HIGHLY MOBILE AND CAN MOVE FROM ONE CITY/TOWN AND CAN BE HARBOURED ELSEWHERE BY THEIR ORGANISATIONAL COLLEAGUES STREWN AROUND THE COUNTRY, RAISING DIFFICULTIES OF LOCATION THEM IF GRANTED BAIL.

Section D
Date investigation should be completed 12 June 2008 possible number of witnesses SIX (06)
Date: 29/05/2008 Signature: …………………..(Rank) D/ASS/INSP.(No.) 037428 G
Checked: Officer/Member-In-Charge

Section E
Officer/Member-In-Charge
Z.R Police

A N N E X T U R E
ACCUSED PERSONS

4. NOLWANDLE SIMUNYE Age: 25 yrs

5. CELINE MADUKANI Age: 34 yrs

6. MELBA NHAVHAYA Age:58 yrs

7. ALICE KASINAMUNDA  Age: 42 yrs

8 . CLARA MANJENGWA  Age: 30 yrs

9 . VERONICA CHISHAMBWA Age: 52 yrs

10. REJOICE CHAUKE Age: 38 yrs

11. LILIAN NTEFULA Age: 27 yrs

12. TARISAI ZHEKE Age: 24 yrs

13. VERINA MUCHEGU Age: 46 yrs

14. MANDLENKOSI MOYO Age: 32 yrs

Magistrate to give ruling on bail application on Friday 24th October – Williams and Mahlangu remain in prison

Magistrate Maphosa has reserved judgement on the request for bail for Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu until Friday 24th October as the “court is very busy”. Bail hearings are normally heard on an urgent basis. Williams and Mahlangu will therefore remain in Mlondolozi Female Prison until that date.

The bail hearing was heard in the absence of Williams and Mahlangu who had not been brought from Mlondolozi as prison authorities claimed that they had no fuel. This being despite the fact that the WOZA support team had been informed yesterday by one of the prison guards at Mlondolozi that they did currently have fuel. Two prison vehicles were also observed by the WOZA support team travelling at great speed into Bulawayo on Sunday afternoon.

The defence lawyer, Kossam Ncube, had also been given permission yesterday by a senior prison officer at Mlondolozi, Mathanire, to bring Williams and Mahlangu to court in his own vehicle if transport was not available. Upon arrival at Mlondolozi this morning however, Ncube was informed that it would not be possible after all by Superintendant Dlamini.

The hearing finally went ahead in their absence before Magistrate Maphosa. Prosecutor Chifamba called another state witness, Detective Sergeant Ncube from the Law and Order Section of Bulawayo Central Police Station to testify.

Ncube claimed he believed that bail should be denied because of pending cases against them, citing four different cases dating back to 2004. None of these cases are actually pending but the witness tried to claim this was because Williams and Mahlangu could never be found to be presented with their summons! On cross-examination however, he could not deny that the two accused had actually appeared in court for all of these cases. Following the cross-examination of the state witness by the defence, the court adjourned for lunch.

After lunch the magistrate heard the arguments of the two attorneys. The state had three main arguments: propensity, that the accused were of no fixed abode and that they had cases pending against them. Chifamba argued that the four cases mentioned by the state witness showed that the two accused had committed similar offences on several occasions and were likely to do so again. He claimed that the court should ignore the fact that these were not serious crimes. He also claimed that because the state witness had testified that he had tried on several occasions to locate the two at their homes, and they were not there at the time, obviously they did not live there. His third argument was that the case relating to a July 2007 arrest that is currently before the Supreme Court is pending and therefore Williams and Mahlangu wilfully lied to the court when asked if they had any cases pending against them.

In reponse, Kossam Ncube cited a 1922 judgement (States vs Shaw) that ruled that when arguing propensity, only convictions should be considered, not mere charges. He also cited a 1973 South African case (State vs Fourie) that ruled that with regard to propensity, only violent crimes should be considered. He went on to argue that neither Williams nor Mahlangu have ever been convicted of any crime.

With regard to the accusation of the two having no fixed abode, Ncube argued that there is no legal requirement for persons to remain at their given address 24 hours a day on the off chance that police may come looking for them. Just because Jenni Williams was not at home when police came looking for her last year does not mean that she does not live at the address that she has given. He also raised questions about the admissibility of police notes that the state had entered as evidence that police could not find Williams at her given address. The notes merely stated that summons could not be served, not the reasons why. The police officer who had made the notes was also not present in court. Ncube asserted that Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu had never defaulted on a court appearance and therefore did not constitute a risk, a fact that the state witnessed concurred with.

Ncube went on to argue that in fact none of the cases mentioned by the state are in fact pending as they had been removed off remand in all four cases. Williams and Mahlangu did not therefore mislead the court when they stated that they had no pending cases against them.

He also reminded the court that the alleged wrongdoing was not a very serious one and that to deny bail for an offence that carries the sentence of a fine would be prejudicial to the two accused.

Following the argument, Magistrate Maphosa pronounced that she would reserve her judgement until Friday 24th October at 11.15pm. Attempts by the defence to bring the ruling forward were rebuffed with the claims that ‘the court is very busy.’

The on-going detention of Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu and the delaying tactics and machinations of the state are a clear violation of their rights and the power-sharing agreement signed by the political parties in September 2008. It is further evidence that ZANU PF has no desire to act in good faith.

WOZA therefore calls on all friends in the region and internationally to protest the ongoing detention of Williams and Mahlangu, particularly ahead of the SADC meeting on Zimbabwe next week.

Useful telephone numbers:

Bulawayo Central Police Station: +263 9 72515/61706/63061/68078

Mlondolozi Prison: +263 9 64228

Bulawayo Attorney General’s Office: +263 9 77651/61603

Harare Attorney General’s Office: +263 4 781769/774586

Bulawayo Public Prosecutor: + 263 9 63173