Category Archives: WOZA Moya newletters

Police fail PEACE test

ONE thousand five hundred Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members participated in peacefully marching to hand over a list of demands to local and national government on Thursday 19th in Harare and in Bulawayo on Friday 20th September. These peaceful protests were met with the arrest and brief detention of nine members, and over 30 members are nursing wounds inflicted with police baton sticks. Ten of these members had to be taken for medical attention and 3 underwent X-rays to verify level of injury. WOZA leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were arrested on both days in both protests.

The consultation to determine key demands took place as the new cabinet and council began to take oath and begin to work. After compilation of these views, WOZA leaders then planned the launch protests to coincide with the United Nations declared International Day of Peace commemorated on 21st September. Over ten thousand members provided their demands for WOZA to submit and follow up in terms of lobby and advocacy engagement.

WOZA has commemorated International Day of Peace in preceding years, however this year, WOZA members wanted to bring a deeper understanding of the kind of peace required as it has been a word too cheaply used in the last year. WOZA decided on peaceful protest as the means to launch their demands so as to test the new government and police commitment to new constitutional clauses. A test failed by 100 percent.

The 600 members marching in two formations, found it hard to start their procession as police officers quickly beat them. The few who managed to regroup and marched to the Parliament of Zimbabwe found that police officers still blocked access to parliament and did not respect member’s right to petition. When the activists tried to disperse, orders barked in the Shona language to ‘bata munhu’ (grab that person) resulted in violent use of force to arrest three WOZA leaders curtailing their right to assembly outlined in the new constitution. As Magodonga Mahlangu tried to climb over the closed tail gate of the police Landrover. She asked for it to be opened so she could better enter the gate and the response from the senior ranking officer was to bark the order for them to ‘kanda munhu’ (beat the person). Police officers then beat her on her head and back further defeating her attempt to climb in. When she objected four police officers roughly picked her up handling her all over her body and threw her into the vehicle.

For the next 3 hours, the drama shifted to the Harare Central police station. The trio were repeatedly asked why they had been arrested and different police departments refused to ‘process’ the trio for formal charges or detention. Most of the blame was heaped on the police reaction group who had arrested the trio without considering if any offense had indeed been committed. After a tour of several offices and hours of waiting, a law and order police officer politely asked the activists and their two lawyers to accompany him. Arriving at the front entrance of the station, he merely pointing outside and said please go.

In Bulawayo the 10 am protest at the offices of The Chronicle newspaper in 9th Avenue was the venue for over 1000 WOZA members. Marching in 10 different formations all converged at the public media outlet and sang songs and chanted slogans in line with the objective of describing the kind of peace needed in Zimbabwe. As the protest program was coming to an end, the police reaction group swooped trying to beat members causing chaos. WOZA leaders managed to pull the members back to the Chronicle entrance trying to calm members down so as to disperse the protest peacefully. As the protest was dispersing some police officers demanded the members sit back down. Senior officers then attended and contradicted this order causing more chaos and delaying the protest dispersal. As Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu tried to explain to the senior officers that their junior officers had blocked the dispersing process by threatening to beat anyone who did not sit down, an order was given for Jenni Williams’s arrest. Magodonga Mahlangu and 4 other members then got into the police vehicle and hundreds of members followed to the police station.

As had happened in Harare, the activists arrival at the police station brought a contradiction. The officer commanding Bulawayo Central Chief Inspector Musvuti said he had merely wanted to discuss with Williams the need for WOZA to apply for permission to conduct a protest. Although the Chief Inspector now seemed to be genuine about engagement, Williams refused to allow the meeting to continue citing the forceful manner she had been brought to the station and the scenes of police violence visible from the Chief inspectors office balcony. The hundreds of members, who had followed the arrested leaders, had thronged the vicinity of the police station and were being beaten with over 50 police officers indiscriminately wielding their baton sticks. One member collector Mutete was violent beaten on the head and pushed in front of an oncoming vehicle by and officer who shouted in the Shona language ‘uraya munhu’ (kill that person). In a clear case of gender discrimination, police commanders had stationed two groups of police officers at the road corners and their task to ban the free movement of any woman to the police station entrance.

The majority of bystanders applauded both protests. In Bulawayo a man was overheard commenting. “Amapholisa kawekele omama laba abakwenzayo kuhle kakhulu. Akakho olesibindi sokutshela uHulumende ngesikufunayo, yekela basikhulumele (The police force should leave these women because what they are doing is good. No one is brave enough to tell the Government about our demands, let them do it for us)

WOZA recognize that it is positive that the police have not charged or detained in police cells members arrested during the last five protests. It is unfortunate that despite this positive development, the police reaction group continue to beat and arrest members casually bringing them to the police station and presenting them for detention. WOZA call for the urgent retraining of members of the police reaction group in respecting human and constitutional rights when dealing with crowd control situations. WOZA call on police command to audit the methods under which orders flow through command channels and on too many occasions orders and contradictions as officers seek to throw their superior power and egos around.

WOZA declare their peace day campaign a victory. Many police officers took time to read the Woza Moya (Come Holy Spirit) newsletter reflecting the demands and the placard messages. The Police officers will have discovered a very relevant demand for ‘A public plan of action as to how the police force will be transformed into a police service and the setting up of the independent police complaints mechanism as stated in the constitution.’

WOZA Moya September 2013

Woza Moya September 2013

Peace must deliver freedom and development

WOZA delivered this petition to parliament on 19 September 2013 – the response was beatings with baton sticks and a 3 hour detention of 3 WOZA leaders, Williams, Mahlangu and Nyamanindi before police politely ‘showed the 3 the way out’!

The 21st September is celebrated the world over as a day of Peace. Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members will also celebrate this day by presenting their peaceful demands to local and national Government. Our theme: PEACE must deliver FREEDOM and DEVELOPMENT for all!

WOZA members selected this theme as a way to explain to their political leadership that Zimbabweans cannot enjoy ‘peace’ in the absence of or without FREEDOM and DEVELOPMENT. Members have heard so many statements that there is peace in Zimbabwe, that elections were held in peace. It seems that there is too much showing off about PEACE that the word is becoming too cheaply used. The time has come for politicians to respect our right to genuine peace that comes with enjoyment of our freedoms and development. For too long these rights have been sanctioned or abused by politics. We want the sanctions to be lifted on our rights and we want an end to rule by politics and demand Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act be given a chance to rule. WOZA consulted members on their immediate demands to the new national and local governments and submit the following lists.

Service delivery DEMANDS to the new local government
1. Firstly we want to thank council for complying with the ministerial directive for 100% debt forgiveness.
2. We await road reconstruction and maintenance to reduce accidents, the President also promised infrastructure development.
3. More clinics and improved health including a better treatment by health care professionals in clinics and hospitals.
4. A more meaningful education system and a boost to the education facilities and decent salaries for teachers.
5. A consulted and genuine programme to ensure plentiful supply of affordable clean water.Proper Water and Electricity billing systems and the installation of water meters and prepaid meters in all houses.
6. Swift response to sewage bursts and blockages and repairing of trenches and sewer pipes. Provision of sanitary facilities such as clean public toilets.
7. Ensuring a clean environment through efficient and regular garbage collection service and provision of garbage bins. Council to conduct a serious clean up exercise in public places such as beer halls and bus terminuses.
8. Provision of decent housing for all and proper home ownership schemes in the older township communities.
9. We demand for stakeholder participation and consultative decision making in all budgets and equal employment opportunities without tribalism or political discrimination.
10. Provision of hawkers licenses and affordable license fees to vendors and tuck shop owners.
11. Council must introduce income generating projects such as clubs, gardening, sewing to help women to reduce poverty.
12. Repair dilapidated structures such as, community buildings and stadiums. The provision of recreational and training facilities for the youths to reduce criminal activities such as theft, drug and alcohol abuse. Maintenance of street and tower lights.
13. Lastly we want ZETDC to convene public hearings to explain why they are not implementing the political directive for 100% debt forgiveness.
DEMANDS for the new Government

1. An IMMEDIATE and public plan of action as to how parliament is going to undertake the harmonisation of laws to bring them into line with the new constitution. The Zanu PF manifesto can never replace our Constitution and so such talk must stop.
2. EMPOWEREMENT – Despite the spirit of gender equality in the new constitution, women are being actively sidelined out of national processes. Prove us wrong by publicising and implementing the affirmative action policy plan for women and the vulnerable and less privileged groups in society e.g. the elderly, widows, children, orphans and the disabled.
3. JOBS – publicise the policy plan for the creation of the promised employment. Starting with the resourcing and re-opening of Industries and creation of a climate for investment and cooperation of manufacturing our own goods so the scrap yards can become functioning business once again.
4. ECONOMIC RECOVERY – publicise a consulted economic recovery plan which includes attracting foreign investment. If there is a proper climate for genuine business partnership, investors will not mind a 49% shareholding. But threats of invasions will chase even the poorest investor. Indigenization programmes should be implemented with proper long-term planning and not theorized to make the elite more rich.
5. Provision of funding for the mining and agricultural sector to ensure increased productivity and food security to boost the economy
6. We demand fair and equitable distribution and management of community resources. If we are as rich a country as the President said they why are we so poor? Natural resources must belong to the local communities and they must see and understand where they have made profits and where there are losses. We demanded devolution of power in order to bring development to a community level and we still demand it.
7. Allow civic organizations to operate freely without fear and intimidation.
8. We demand an urgent plan of how free primary education and affordable secondary education promised in the constitution will be delivered by 2014.
9. A plan of action to end corrupt practices by all people, even those in political power positions.
10. Sufficient and attractive salaries for civil servants, doctors and nurses to avoid brain drain but full implementation that civil servants must not belong to any political party. We expect an audit of this soon and very soon.
11. Resourcing water pipeline projects in order to curb water shortages resulting in durable water supply. Research and feasibility studies for the construction of more dams necessary for all towns and cities.
12. A public plan of action as to how the police force will be transformed into a police service and the setting up of the independent police complaints mechanism as stated in the constitution.

Finally the 21 September 2013 marks the launch of the WOZA ‘mother your vote’ campaign. The vote cast on 31 July 2013 must be nurtured and cared for as a new born baby. It must be taught to sit, stand, walk and run. This child called ‘Vote’ cannot be neglected as the child called ‘Zimbabwe’ has been neglected. WOZA thinks of the new political leadership as the co-parents of our child ‘Vote’. WOZA members, the mothers of the nation, intend to keep reminding the political leadership that they have to be responsible and good parents. To do this WOZA members will play a game of TAG with the political leadership. Wikipedia explains the game called TAG as a game played that involves one or more players chasing other players in an attempt to “tag” or touch them or make them it! In the game some players always try to escape being touched or made ‘it’. Watchful WOZA members will be hoping to make the politicians ‘it’. Being made ‘it’ means you are playing your co-parenting role of our child called ‘Vote’. Politicians, including the Executive, Cabinet Ministers, MP’s, Senators, Councillors, please participate in giving ‘Vote’ a good life. This may be a game and we may be using it to make a friendly point but this game of TAG will be a very serious game.

WOZA Moya May 2013

Woza Moya May 2013

WOZA Moya February 2013

Woza Moya Feb 2013

195 arrested during Valentines Day protests, 50 beaten, Bertha remains in custody

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members in Harare and Bulawayo conducted their traditional Valentine’s Day protests and both protests were marred by beatings and arrests. This is the 11th year WOZA has conducted such a protest and this year’s theme is under the theme – One Love.  One hundred and ninety five were arrested then released after some hours but one woman remains in custody.

At 2 o’clock on 13 February 2013, Harare members marched towards parliament in two separate formations.  Riot Police based at Parliament disrupted the both protests and fired 5 canisters of tear gas to disperse the over 1000 strong protest sending members and bystanders scurrying for cover. Many people were affected by the tear gas and some children were seen crying. Business came to a standstill due to this indiscriminate use of force to disrupt a peaceful protest.

Over 25 members had to seek medical attention including the 8 members who were arrested at parliament and beaten by the 8 Riot police during the 20 minute wait for the police van to take them into custody. A ninth bystander a male, had his cell phone taken and was separated from the others and beaten for over 20minutes between the police reaction group headquarters in Harare’s Cramborne Barracks and Harare Central police station.

The 8 arrested were Jennifer Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa, Hilda Murapa, Enia Mazambare, Tambudzai Manangazira, Siphetheni Ndlovu and Maria Majoni. As the women arrived at the Police station, the receiving police officer chided his uniformed colleagues for ‘arresting WOZA’ and told them to take them away. For over 2 hours no progress was made and it was unclear if the 8 were in detention or not but their liberty was obviously curtailed. After they were release all 9 including the bystander spent another 3 hours lodging a formal complaint about the beatings, tear gas and abuse they had suffered. A police report number is available for the complaint. All nine then were taken to hospital for treatment and x-rays for the brutality meted out on them at Parliament.

On 14February 2013 members in Bulawayo conducted their Valentine’s Day protest. Members decided to march to the police Headquarters in 9th Avenue, at Southampton House. Members wanted to demand that the Police respond to formal complaints about police beatings and brutality. Police brutality prevailed during a Water protest on 12 November. WOZA then marched to hand over a protest on 29 November but no response was forthcoming.

The 4pm protest began with smoothly but when the 8 protest groups number 800 members neared Southampton house, Riot police swooped and began indiscriminately beating members. WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu managed to regroup the protest and after many skirmishes managed to get the members to sit down on the pavement so that official proceedings could begin. As this began senior ranking officers repeated order for Riot officer to beat the two activists who were still recovering from the Harare protest assault.  Police officers began arresting any male person they observed with a camera, numbering 6.

The police boss then requested Williams to go upstairs to the officer to dialogue with the police provincial leadership. After obtaining assurances that nothing would befall the members and that the 6 men arrested would return with Williams, her and a colleague went upstairs.

The meeting was to be short-lived as the officers were obviously not cooperative and kept blocking progress by insisting on a formal letter requesting an appointment to receive feedback on the many complaint letters.  The meeting came to an abrupt end when Williams was telephoned by Magodonga Mahlangu to say all the participants had been arrested by the Riot Reaction group and taken to the Bulawayo Central Police station. Williams then walked out of the meeting and handed herself into custody with 179 other members. The 6 male members were also still in custody at Southampton house.

The same police bosses who had attempted to meet Williams, then arrived at the station and misled the meeting with Williams had been fruitful and that they did not know why or how the members came to be in the police station but that they should leave immediately. Williams then addressed members say they would leave police custody but only if the missing 6 male members were also released as they had all been together. Without any further dialogue the officers barked order to the Riot Reaction group to remove the 180 members forthwith from the police station.  A few members were then beaten again.

It transpired that of the six men that remained in custody only 1 is a WOZA members, the others bystanders who took photos of the protest. They were this night tortured by intelligence agents and then released home for the night with instructions to return at 9am on 15 February.

The woman, Bertha Sibanda is in custody for ‘indecent exposure’. She was one of the 180 in custody and she stripped naked in the police station in frustration at not having her complaints addressed. She is one of the 11 members who were in a Water protest that police violently disturbed and was subjected to tribal insults about Gukurahundi when she lost family to this massacre. complaint police harrasment to ZRP 13nov incident and Follow up letter 14 Feb13 police complaint

Meanwhile 6 members had medical attention, one of who has to have 3 teeth pulled due to batons stick injury to her mouth. Several members have reported being called by police officers requesting information about the protest plans and made the offer of money for information. Two of the calls were made from Bulawayo number 60248 Code (00 263 9). WOZA suspect this number to be of an intelligence office. WOZA invite activism to assist us in holding this intelligence office accountable for harassment and beating of WOZA members in an attempt to curtail their right to protest.

WOZA handed over their demands contained in the February 2013 Woza Moya Newsletter.  Woza Moya Feb 2013

Mayor no show as Police block WOZA protest to City Hall

WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise members numbering 150 made it to the steps of the City Hall Mayors office but senior ranking police officers blocked their access to engage the Mayor and the Mayor did not attend to address the aggrieved members, his voters. This was the third day of protest bemoaning the Bulawayo water woes.

Four of the five protests were disrupted at the start of their march by police officers who grabbed their banners and placards and threatened to beat the members.

The 3 days series of protests followed meetings with council officials in their suburban offices. Since 1st November, over 800 members conducted deputations or sent delegations to council officers to lodge complaints about water problems. Officials at most of these centres referred members to Council officers in Tower block where technical staff work and to the Mayor at City Hall.   As a result the Monday protest was to Council Tower block, Tuesday to the Government complex where the Ministry of Water is housed and then the final protest to City Hall.

WOZA has been communicating with the Council PR Department and received a letter dated 29 October 2012 (BMN/W1/27), from the Town Clerk. This is the last paragraph in full, “Bulawayo City Council is committed to entering into a dialogue with you and your members to discuss more issues regarding the water crisis and water shedding. Council is available to provide further information to clarify issues on water raised by your organization.” Following up on this as a genuine invitation WOZA found their way blocked by Police on all 3 days of the protest campaign.

Those that made it to the steps of City hall on 14 November 2012, were greeted by very senior uniformed and those wearing plain clothes. The officers’ primary objective seemed to be to disperse the protest and attempted to take WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu to the police station which is located across the road to discuss the water problems. When asked if they had a mandate to act officially for city council they failed to give a plausible answer.

Dispersing the protest, Williams advised members gathered that negotiation with police to secure an address by the Mayor had failed and that the invitation issued by the Town clerk a false promise of dialogue. The WOZA leader then advised members to mobilise the ‘recall petition processes for Bulawayo councilors to be recalled by the electorate as they had failed to meet members or deal with the water crisis.

WOZA demands included the following
1.    City council and the Minister of Water must convene public hearings and come up with a consulted plan of action on the water problems.
2.    Members demand an END to water load shedding that extends beyond 24 hours and keep to timetables.
3.    City council must supply water purifying tablets
4.    City council must devise more effective methods of supplying residents with clean water in an orderly manner.
5.    There is already an outbreak of diseases and the health delivery systems cannot cope with the queues and demand for drips and medication. The Health Department must also have a disaster management plan in place for all residents to inspect and be able to input to.
6.    Demand increase to 100 litres per family per day from water bowser allocation, 40 litres is not enough for a family of five.
7.    Stop charging penalties; we are already penalised by the water crisis.
8.    Please help control fairly the access to boreholes and stop unscrupulous opportunists pretending to ‘own’ the borehole.

Demands to the minister
9.    Firstly we have to make these demands through the Mayor due to centralised power and lack of access.
10.    Honourable Mayor, tell the Minister that he must be accountable. He has made many empty promises but not delivered a single promise. He promised the water crisis would be dealt with by the first week of October but a month later we are thirsty. He must explain what he has done with the money he told us he had in his pocket.
11.    We demand that the minister also conduct a consultative process and come up with a comprehensive plan to bring water to Bulawayo. We demand this be done in a non partisan way separated from anyone’s political ambitions.
12.    Honourable Mayor we demand that you tell him and all your councillors that we are tired of being used as political tools. We demand constitutional devolution so that we can determine our own destiny. We are sick and tired of perennial problems and politicisation of our basic rights. Bob Marley sang these words, “you fool some of the people sometime but you can’t fool all the people all the time.’

Although the officers tried their best to be professional and no members were beaten, they still violated rights to freedom of expression and assembly of the participation and barred access to elected city officials. WOZA would like to nonetheless commend the officer commanding Bulawayo Chief Inspector Rangwani for finally realizing that arrests and beating will not deter the WOZA members. We applaud his effort to professionalise police response and encourage him to continue on this path to respect for democracy.

79 members and 2 babies arrested for WATER protest


SEVENTY NINE members and two babies are under arrest at Bulawayo Central police station for staging a peaceful protest at the City Council Tower block on the water issue. At noon 12 November 2012. A 16 year old girl was handcuffed so over an hour as they officer concerned could not locate the handcuff keys.   – see the demands here Woza Moya WATER November 2012

Initially 150 members were arrested as police swooped but 70 were refused entry into the police station.

The peaceful protest targeted Tower block where most city council staff work as a way to pressurize them to refuse to implement oppressive disconnections and to adhere to water load shedding timetables.

Upon arrival at the Tower block council security guard immediately threatened to call the Riot Police which created increased tension. A senior council security officer then attended and promised that no Riot Police would be called. He then requested WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu accompany him to see the Director of Water. It was as they climbed the 6 flights that Riot Police swooped arresting the seated members awaiting the Director of Water.

Many of the members attending the protest have not had water for weeks and when it comes it is dirty and undrinkable.

Lawyers have been deployed to attend to those arrested whom include Magodonga Mahlangu.

Constitution Reform Statement on Members Consultation

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have completed a member’s consultation regarding political developments in Zimbabwe. The activity was conducted to keep members briefed on the situation that prevails but also to consult members on what position the organisation should adopt around the constitutional and political scenarios that could play out.

The workshop consultation was conducted in Bulawayo and Harare and of 27 areas of Matabeleland North and South drawing 14 457 participants with 447 being men.  This figure 14457 members is 17% of our membership of 85 000 countrywide.

Members expressed concern over the continued political squabbling affecting progress. They expressed concern that the constitutional reform process is far too dependent on political negotiation and not enough of the politicians listening to the views of their political party members and ordinary citizens.

Members are also unhappy with the manner in which the Zimbabwe Republic Police continue to disrupt peaceful protests thereby helping politicians to sideline citizen voices. Members called for intervention by SADC and the UN on police harassment of WOZA members and activities. During the WOZA ‘Occupy for Devolution’ series in Bulawayo members were beaten by plain clothed police officers with thorny twigs. The officer concerned is named Brain and is based at Pumula police station. Further to this on 27 June Wednesday 2012 and
101 members were arrested on orders of officer commanding Bulawayo. This officer act with impunity and is a ‘law unto himself’, it is on his orders that members were arrested 30 minutes before any protest began. The Zimbabwe Republic Police are operating on a political agenda and must be held accountable. Although WOZA have submitted many complaints to the Joint Operating and Monitoring Mechanism (Jomic) they have done nothing but use those complaints as scrap paper.

As there continues to be no meaningful economic reform economic instability is affecting the cost of basic commodities.  Job losses continue to be the order of the day in Bulawayo and in other centres and no concern is paid to this problem. To make matters worse, Police continue to loot from members trying to survive by vending.

The culture of impunity and the using of the ‘peoples name’ to loot from activities that should be genuinely conducted in the nations interest continue unabated. COPAC has become a liability and waste of resources which will continue through the second all stakeholders’ conference process.

Members were gravely concerned about the continued deployment of militia and war veteran in the community.

These members were also asked if they are registered voters and results polled as follows: The overall number of registered Bulawayo members was 60%.  Male members registered was 51% and women 62% registered. Harare registered members was 72%.  Male members registered was 73% and women 72% registered.

The overall number of registered Matabeleland rural members was 70%. The number of male members registered was 74% and women 69% registered. The high number of registered members here is due primarily to ease of access to voter registration centres due to Zanu PF attention on rural areas as a method of vote buying or rigging. Members in rural areas also do not have proof of residence challenges.

There were more significant numbers of members registered in Harare and in the rural areas.  The main reasons explained is one of marginalisation which justifies the need for devolution. Bulawayo members have not been able to easily access documents for various reasons. Some members cannot afford to travel to the capital Harare to get their birth certificates and the local office is inefficient at providing these. Many people of this region were affected by the Gukurahundi massacre and lost parents for who they cannot obtain death certificates and therefore cannot have their births registered. Mobile registration centres do not function properly or only process a few people a day before closing.

Members gave the main reasons they have failed to register as voters as follows:
• Many members are Aliens and some who were registered in 1980 were de-registered for allegedly being an alien.
• Do not have the interest in elections
• ignorance
• Were out of the country for a long time and many found it not necessary to register.
• Some were still under age
• Do not have the necessary documentation e.g. birth certificates and Identity cards.
• Many are not home owners and rent a room from a landlord. So as ‘lodgers’ they cannot prove residence so cannot register.
• Have got some interest in registering but it’s a long and difficult process to renounce the foreign citizenship even though they do not
like being classified as alien when they had previously voted as Zimbabweans.
• Have lost interest in voting due to the violence that is associated with voting.

Members were united in their criticism of the political opposition for compromising far too much and accused them of looking more their self
interest than the people will.  Members said they only have a 45% trust of the opposition. Members also criticised them for not being
realistic on the failing of the President Robert Mugabe. He has a record of back tracking and does not keep to agreements and on a whim
will launch another violent campaign against Zimbabweans

As the campaign report was being finalised a draft was released and required study. WOZA note the following points of interest to members:

a) Free education and adult basic education. There is also further education which the state should make available.
b) Gender equality specified in many sections and the removal of restrictions by traditional culture.
c) President, cabinet, ministry permanent secretaries and all commissioners limited to two five year terms limit.
d) A devolved system of government with some forms of elected officials and specified resource control.
e) A more transparent sharing of power with the presidential running mates system.
f) We have proportional representation which does bring a more democratically implemented.
g) We got more democratic electoral systems and a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with extended powers.
h) Total abolishment of the Death penalty for women.
i) Most political leaders in legislature, civic servants, security sector must no longer involve themselves in politics or be impartial.
j) A National Peace Commission that will deal with transitional justice issues.
k) A National Prosecuting Authority and reduced power for the Attorney General.
l) An independent complaints commission so we can hold security sector accountable.
m) An expanded bill of rights, including social, economic, political and cultural rights.
n) The right to demonstrate and petition and rights to liberty more clearly defined.
o) A non-discrimination clause and 16 official languages.
p) Domestication of international instruments to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
q) A  Constitutional and Electoral Court.

WOZA members provided their leadership with a mandate to begin a vote YES campaign if their main requirements were included in the draft. We wish to place on public record the following outstanding issues from our member’s requirements:

a) We do not see clearly spelt out and reduced executive presidency power, including the age limit we wanted; removal of the president
right to deploy troops and the right to make appointments.
b) More reasonable land and agricultural reform clauses
c) It is unfortunate that our view that Traditional leaders do not belong in the legislature or Senate but in their home constituencies.
d) We do not see a clearly spelt out Dual citizenship clause which shows political blinkers and short sightedness in the extreme.
WOZA will use the second all stakeholders’ process to campaign for the inclusion of these issues. In the meanwhile WOZA call for an end to
further interference, egos and political posturing.

These are our demand on the political leadership of the country:
1. No more compromises from MDC and MDC T on the draft constitution or we will refuse to accept it.
2. Zanu PF must for once allow the peoples and their own members view to carry the day. The people spoke clearly that they no longer want a
highly centralised unitary state. The child called DEVOLUTION has been born. It is a child conceived by the people, the majority being
mothers of the nation. Born out of a reluctant coupling of politicians and people. The baby’s face may not look like we wanted but it is a
citizen by birth – allow the people to give it life and help it grow.
3. We demand the 17 July 2012 draft be urgently printed in all languages and provide sufficient time to study it and advance us our political rights in section 4:24 which will allow us our right to meet and demonstrate peacefully as part of civic awareness raising role.
4. A transparent and accountable system to call for the second all stakeholders conference with full participation of all sectors of
society and provision for inclusion of stakeholder input.
5. An efficient and speed census process resulting in a proper delimitation process new voters’ roll.
6. A vote by Identity card in the referendum and an easier registration system for the election that follows.
7. We call on the SADC monitoring team to begin work and to push for full GPA implementation and an end to police harassment of WOZA
8. Please will members of the international community to refuse to lift sanctions until the finalisation of the Draft after the
referendum process.
9. We call on the UNDP to continue to fund the constitution making process but with conditions that make sure we have progress and the
people’s views are genuinely sought and taken into account and that there are not inflated budgets
10. WOZA call on Civic Society leaders and workers to avoid grandstanding but to take their role seriously this time round. In
1999 and 2000, there was a NO campaign which failed to correctly provide Zimbabweans with a proper picture of what was at stake. Many
of us were not properly and responsibly consulted. Please do not take people for granted this time round.

A message to the people of Zimbabwe: This is your time to shine and exercise your democracy, don’t let the politicians speak for you or
take you for granted.

Members march on parliament

FIVE HUNDRED members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched in 2 separate protests converging on parliament at 2pm 25th June2012. This protest is part of the WOZA Occupy campaign to push for the release of a draft Constitution. The campaign features an occupation style of protest, a method illustrating the exercising of the right to peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and expression. The first group marched past four Riot police who are always stationed at Africa Unity Square gardens. As they awaited the arrival of the second procession, Riot police came out of the side door of parliament and began to disperse the protest threatening to beat the members. A parliamentary officer tried to argue that the protest had a legitimate demand and presence at parliament but the police and plain clothed intelligence officer ignored him and chased away members who were still at the door.

One of the WOZA leaders confronted the senior police officer saying to him, “if you beat one of us you will have caused a problem and we will not disperse.” It seems this message was taken to heart and no one was beaten.

The dispersing group joined up with the second procession and a stand-off ensured. The police officers stood in a line trying to block the protest surging forward back to the door of parliament. This prompted the activists to sit down to hold their ground. The police officers retreated watching for some minutes as the protest continued peacefully.

After some minutes WOZA National coordinator Jenni Williams officially dispersed the protest indicating that the message had been delivered.

Large groups of members then proceeded several city blocks towards the bus terminus continuing their singing and sloganeering. No arrests were made.

The protest message contained in the flyer being distributed will be as follows: – Politicians be warned stop your bickering and scheming and release the draft. – Demands an end to police and military occupation of our streets. – Provide notice to them that WOZA members will mobilise a nationwide boycott of any Election called without a new Constitution and referendum. – The protest also serves to demand end to elite occupation of our systems of government and counter the calls for another government of national unity.

Some Constitutional demands being made by WOZA members – The head of state /government has too many unchecked executive powers for a Democracy. – Removal of excessive powers of the Attorney General and makes this position serve only as legal advisor to president and proposes to create a National Prosecuting Authority.           – Gender equality not male domination in parliament – 50/50 non negotiable. – The reduction of the number of Constituencies from 210 and introduction of a devolved house of representatives. – WOZA members feel that the issue of dual citizenship is vital to create a climate where Zimbabweans can come home to help rebuild and develop their country.