Category Archives: Constitution-making

WOZA to vote YES in Constiutional Referendum

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have conducted 600 workshops in the last 2 weeks to familiarise members with the 15 February 2013 Draft Constitution. The workshops were conducted in Bulawayo, Harare and rural Matabeleland with participation of 16 562 members with 18 percent of those being male members. Time and resources did not permit the programme to be conducted on all 85000 members.

A feature of the workshop was an internally authored Draft Constitution Assessment tool. The tool prepared an overview as to 92 key demands that WOZA members have made over the last 3 years. Of the 92 demands, 60 were included in the Draft, 17 were partly acknowledged and 15 were not achieved. During the workshop, members were asked if they would be voting on 16th March 2013 and 100 percent said they would turn out on the day and vote YES for the Draft.

WOZA call on the government of national unity partners to walk the talk about zero tolerance for violence in all its forms and to ensure the police will act impartially to allow citizens to enjoy all their rights before during and after the referendum.

WOZA call on Zimbabweans to turn out in their millions and exercise their right to vote peacefully and to vote YES for the parliamentary select committee draft constitution.

Bertha to spend weekend in custody

Bulawayo members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were arrested and beaten continued to seek medical attention. Five where remained in custody last night were 4 men and 1 woman. The men were released but Bertha Sibanda was detained and remains in custody at Bulawayo Central Police Station. All of those arrested were denied access to food delivered by WOZA leader Jenni Williams. The officer in charge of Bulawayo foolishly told Williams that the 5 were not hungry.

Bertha Sibanda is charged with contravening section 132 of the Code that is publicly exposing herself and being a nuisance. She was very traumatised by the police refusal to respond to WOZA’s formal complaint about her treatment in a Water protest on 12 November 2012. She joined the Valentines Days protest in order to follow up on the complaint. The events of that day were similar to the Wednesday in Harare and Thursday in Bulawayo situation whereby junior officers indiscriminately arrest WOZA members, then the senior officers refused to allow the arrests. In November instead of recognising the mistake with humility, they bundled her and 10 others into a vehicle and dumped them at a cemetery out of town. Just as she did on Valentine’s Day, Bertha and her colleagues had undergone severe beating, tribal insults by police officer Mukoshi. WOZA have since demanded he be disciplined but this request has been ignored. http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1370

Also during the protest, a male member Lucky Ncube was arrested. Although he was never charged with anything, his crime seemed to be having a camera. He was later released at 11pm with the 3 bystanders who had also taken photographs. During the evening in custody, he was taken Law and Order Department room 5. Whilst there he was made to him remove his trousers as a humiliation. He was also made to remove his shoes and beaten with whip under his feet. This type of torture is termed ‘falanga’. Its common use if to inflict pain without evidence of bruising as the soles of the feet hide such injury. The officer suspected to have conducted this torture is Z. Moyo. Lucky was also asked if he knows the party Zanu PF and accused of trying to discredit Zanu PF by publishing photographs. He was threatened that Zanu PF is the party that can spill blood which is the language often used by police officers who have become partisan. He was then released at 11pm and followed by police officers for several city blocks until he managed to obtain transport to go home. It is assumed that the police officers wanted to determine if you would make contact with WOZA leaders including Jenni Williams who had been conducting a vigil outside the police station. At 10:30 pm, police officers had chased the women away.

The Valentine’s Day protest is part of the annual ‘love’ protest, this year’s theme is – One Love.  During the two protests in Harare and Bulawayo one hundred and ninety members were arrested plus 4 bystanders who simply took photos with their cameras. We estimate over 50 members were beaten with the hard rubber baton sticks that Riot Reaction Group police carry. WOZA medical support team have provided pain killers and muscle rub to most of these members but 13 had to attend for professional medical attention.  Two additional members had to be taken to the hospital today – one due to a blow to the head and another had 3 stitches to her inner lip and lost 3 teeth due to police beatings.

Pressure on Parliament from WOZA 16 Days protest

FIVE hundred members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched in two separate processions to Parliament at noon on 27th November 2012. This protest is the launch of the WOZA 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence under the international theme: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women! But WOZA will use a shortened version – PEACE NOW!

The protest groups merged 5 meters from Parliament entrance and closed the distance between them and a squad of Riot police manning the entrance door into Parliament. As the activists arrived, Police immediately tried to send them away from the door but the determined human rights defenders began their protest program. The program included the singing of a Shona language song and kneeling in prayer.

WOZA National coordinator Jenni Williams then went to the entrance to deliver the Woza Moya Newsletter containing the 16 Days demands. Two ‘shivering with fear’ parliamentary officers managed to take the document before being shoved out of the way by glaring intelligence officers. The intelligence officers attempted to ensure Williams only spoke with them. As this engagement happened Williams was roughly pulled by the arm from the back by a suited man who seemed to be a parliamentarian intent on violence, he pulled Williams out the way to get into the chamber.

Seven members then made short speeches outlining the demands.  A male member chanting a WOZA slogan ‘you strike a woman and you strike a rock’ to the amusement of male bystanders, spoke of the need to remove the Zanu PF militia who are now manning boreholes and politicizing the distribution of water.

The protest programme was then closed with more slogans. Journalists who were in attendance then began to ask questions of Williams and other participants and a mini press conference ensured. Impatient Riot Police took exception to this and became loud in their attempts to disperse Williams and the journalists.
Many members of parliament were seen looking through the windows and smiling their encouragement. WOZA pray that they took time to read the list of demands contained in the Woza Moya newsletter.

No members were beaten or arrested during the protest and apart from over zealousness on the part of some junior officers who threatened to beat members at the back of the protest, police behaved with restraint.

WOZA members demand a strong Declaration of Rights a.    Equality – right to equality on basis of gender – women to have equal access to jobs and employment, equal pay, to acquire land and inherit property. b.    Right to education – free but quality primary and affordable secondary education and access to vocational education. As a way to correct the injustice of the past 10 years of prioritising defence over education we demand this right be fully justiciable. c.    Right to protest and assemble freely (section 4:16) and the police to respect this right and to protest without clearance. d.    The Right to personal liberty and right to be informed of the reason for arrest.  We want the right to free and safe streets and personal security. e.    Affordable and quality health care. f.    Clean water, sanitation, clean environment. g.    There should be a better provision for children’s rights and expansion in the bill of rights including social economic political and cultural rights. For example the right to earn a living (protection of informal sector). h.    Labour rights – the right to strike, safety, non-discrimination in employment on ethnic basis

WOZA members general DEMANDS
1.    A Ministry of Women’s Affairs to promote affirmative action
2.    There must be separation of powers and members feel that devolution will help promote total people participation in how they want to be governed.
3.    Members said the executive must not interfere with the judiciary and must let the judiciary be independent and for justice to prevail in the country.
4.    Members said they want the rule of law to be protected and promoted in the new constitution.
5.    Members want to see a change in the police force behaviour and in the way they do their job. They believe that the presidential appointment method is the root cause for politicisation of the security sector.
6.    Members want equal representation of women in all elected institutions and commissions.
7.    Strong Human Rights Commission that will fully recognise and protect all human rights ensuring that all cases of human rights are dealt with.
8.    National Peace commission for transitional justice which will provide for restitution from perpetrators for Gukurahundi crimes and those victims will be compensated.
9.    Culture Commission to promote traditional culture that respects human rights
10.    Development Commission to identify disadvantaged and provide affirmative action
11.    Independent Land Commission for distribution of land ensuring that women benefit the most as they are serious farmers.
12.    A strong Provincial and Local Government. Members want a devolved system of government and that can effectively administer devolution for development within its region and ensure natural resources develop their immediate community. Members said they want devolution of powers ‘high and low’ but are prepared to accept a start toward this system and develop it by amendments to the constitution. They do not accept Zanu PF’s version – decentralisation as it has already been in place and has not resulted in shared and devolved decision making.

a.    Members said they want policy change. They want to elect their provincial governors as a principle of democracy.   b.    Members want a Local authority that has the power to control natural resources and make all development decisions.  c.    Fair distribution of revenues between centre and provinces.

Bulawayo members march to demand Draft release

Two hundred and fifty members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched in five separate protests at 2pm 10th September 2012 in Bulawayo. The march was to demand the release of the Copac draft constitution, calling for the second all stakeholders and referendum without any further delay. All five protests managed to reach the targeted destination which was The Chronicle newspaper. WOZA routinely target this state controlled paper in order to test if their protest and the issues will be covered. The peaceful protest brought 9th Avenue to a standstill with everyone attempting to photograph and encourage the activists to demand the draft constitution.
Although riot police were deployed they did not reach the 9th Avenue officers of the newspaper before the protest dispersed. WOZA is conducting a head count to ensure no arrests were made.

Meanwhile two members were ordered by the court to erase their graffiti did so at noon on 10th September 2012 along the Luveve road in Bulawayo. The two faced cruel and inhuman degrading treatment by law and order officers who were present. One of the police officers, Z. Moyo forced the two to remove their hats whilst and paint over the phrases in the blazing hot summer sun. They then made them remove other phrases not in the court order and threatened to make them remove more phrases during the afternoon. The prosecutor advised them that they were only to fulfil the order of the court for two phrases namely ‘no to a snap elect…’ and ‘go register to vote’.

Painting trial update

Nine members arrested during a graffiti road writing exercise on 2nd July 2012 have been sentenced in four separate trials held in Western Commonage Court in Bulawayo. Eight of the nine members were convicted and given harsh sentences with one being acquitted. The women spent three days in custody in Bulawayo central police station. The graffiti exercise was conducted to popularise the constitutional reform content. Members wrote phrases in non-permanent paint called ‘road liner’ paint but the magistrates found them guilty of ‘disfiguring property’ namely the tarmac road.

The charges were Section 47 (2) (d) of the Road Traffic Act 13:18 which reads “making marks on the road without a reasonable cause which is liable to a level 6 fine or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months. They were defended by Paul Moyo a private lawyer deployed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Miriam Ngcebetsha and Ottilia Dube were ordered to remove their phrases at 11am Monday 10th of September before being sentenced on 12 September 2012. They will remove the phrases in the company of the prosecutor with traffic police officers stopping the traffic as they perform this sentence. They painted the phrases – ‘no to a snap elect…’ and ‘go register to vote’. The phrases are located in Matshobana (at the Rio bus stop/turn off) along the Luveve road after the flyover (6th ave ext).

Some of the phrases written on the road are “Devolution of power; No to death penalty; Fire Chihuri, Tomana and Mudede; Boycott snap election and go register to vote.” Many roads in Bulawayo and Harare still proudly carry these messages.

In the first week of August, just after the trials began, an unidentified police officer contacted WOZA to warn members to expect the worst from the trials. He said the Police Commissioner (Augustine Chihuri) was very unhappy with the audacity of WOZA to call for his firing defending himself by saying he was legitimately appointed by the president. The Police Commissioner is alleged to have ordered harsh sentences. Additionally the commissioner ordered that Law and Order department police officers attend every trial and report on progress. Apart from the obvious attendance by these police officers in court it was difficult to substantiate this order as the judiciary is supposed to be independent. However the handing down of the harsh sentences seems to confirm political interference. In further confirmation of political intervention, city council staff were deployed along the Khami road (11th Ave extension) to paint over the phrases to prevent the dignitaries driving that route from ‘seeing and reading’ the phrases.

Eunice Moyo, Mpikelelo Moyo and Teresia Phiri were given one month imprisonment or $100 fine. Their phrase is ‘no to death penalty’.

Sibongile Lumbile was sentenced to two months imprisonment, one month suspended for five years on condition that she does not commit a similar crime, or $100 fine which she paid. Phrase which was incomplete is ‘Devolutior’ (she was arrested before she could finish writing the N in the word.

Catherine Dhliwayo was acquitted of all charges but Vigilant Lunga, Violet Dube who handed over their paint splattered clothes to investigating officers who brought these as exhibits, were sentenced to six months imprisonment, three months suspended for five years on condition that they will not commit the similar crime within that period or 105 hours of community services. Violet Dube will serve these hours at Western Commonage Court and Vigilant Lunga at the Western Commonage police station. They were also ordered to go and erase the phrase that they wrote on the road. Phrase is ‘Devolution of power’.

WOZA thank Mr. Paul Moyo and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for legal defence. WOZA pray for a successful reduction of the harsh sentences from the High Court in the case of the four members who have submitted appeals.

WOZA wish to recognize the contribution of the members to furthering the constitution reform agenda. “You suffered the terrible conditions in the cells and harassment of police officers but won gender equality and many constitutional reform victories which are seen in the draft. May Zimbabweans appreciate your sacrifices when the draft constitution passes into law!”

Constitutional Draft content victory ‘sweets’ cannot be stolen from our mouths

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members express concern the once again the word ‘election’ dominates the political rhetoric and that the Copac draft has once again become hostage to political posturing and egos. WOZA call for the immediate resumption of Constitutional reform processes leading to the second all stakeholders’ conference and the setting of a date for the referendum.

WOZA members provided their leadership with a mandate to begin a vote ‘yes’ campaign if their main requirements were included in the draft. Members also provided a mandate to conduct a boycott campaign for any elections conducted without significant reforms in place.

In June 2012 WOZA members were consultation on political and constitutional developments. Members estimated that they had lost confidence and trust in the MDC. Some members measured their level of trust at 45%. A result confirmed by recent Freedom House and MPOI surveys. Both MDC parties in the government, political analysts and academics must realise that there were no ‘undecided’ people, no people ‘fearful’ of disclosing their support in this sample. The people in the WOZA consultation were ordinary women – brave and blunt and giving the opposition a 45% trust rating.

As the MDCT launch their ‘YES’ campaign, they must be warned that WOZA is watching and listening. WOZA challenge the MDCT and MDC to push for additional reforms on the age limit for presidential candidates and further reduction of presidential powers. Additionally WOZA suggest the removal of the word ‘unitary’ in the preamble which describing the state and insertion of the word ‘devolved’.  Zimbabweans were clear that they no longer want a highly centralised unitary state.

Members also warned about the tendency of President Robert Mugabe to back track on agreements and this too has come to pass with ZANU PF refusing to respect their own signatures on the Copac draft and have practically rewritten their own draft. Once again ZANU PF pretends national interest whilst telling blatant lies.

WOZA members see their views in the draft and will not allow ZANU PF to misrepresent our views. WOZA have campaigned tirelessly for reforms and the victory ‘sweets’ cannot be stolen from our mouths.

The ‘victory sweets’ are represented by this content in the Copac draft.
a)    Free education and adult basic education.
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 demand the immediate finalisation of second all stakeholders’ conference dates.  A transparent and accountable system to call for the second all stakeholders conference participation of all sectors of society and provision for inclusion of stakeholder input.

Members are also unhappy with the manner in which the Zimbabwe Republic Police continue to disrupt organisation activities and letters of complaint delivered to the police and to the Joint Operating and Monitoring Committee (Jomic) remain ignored. (See letter of complaint which is attached) WOZA complain of police harrasment ZRP Jomic

We demand that cabinet summon the Police Commissioner and instruct him to allow full and unfettered peaceful meetings and protests as an advance of section 4:24. This section is necessary part of the referendum preparation phase civic awareness work. If he is not prepared to allow citizens this space then we call for his immediate dismissal.

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
members
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.

Graffiti messages – Judge for yourself

WOZA women spent 48 hours in the hell hole that is Bulawayo central police station cells. During that time the police hid two of them away in an office denying access to them. Police officers lied that they had rushed Sibongile Lumbile to hospital, instead they ignored her breathing problems and made her sit hidden away in an office thereby denying her access to food for the night. Food has to be brought in by the support team as the police arrest people whom they cannot feed.

The activists had an extra day in custody due to the police homicide department refusing to accept the case and process the activists for court. The excuse – WOZA can only be dealt with by the notorious Law and Order department! Police in this unit are plain clothed intelligence officers who  target opposition voices in Zimbabwe. Officers in this department have pursued WOZA and its leaders on political orders as if WOZA is a public enemy rather than a women’s movement peacefully fighting for social justice.

These are just some of the reasons one of the messages painted on the roads reads ‘Fire Chihuri’ – he is the police commissioner appointed by the President and leads a partisan police force.

Judge for yourself but send us your views or questions regarding this! To help you here are the messages reflected in the police docket put in court papers. The police are accusing the ladies of writing the following messages on the main roads:

Sibongile Lumbile accused of writing ‘DEVOLUTION’. Catherine, Violet and Vigilant accused of writing ‘DEVOLUTION OF POWER’ Mpikelelo, Eunice and Teresia accused of writing ‘NO TO DEATH PENALTY’ Miriam and Ottilia accused of writing ‘No to snap elections and Go and register to vote’

WOZA would like to also acknowledge the hundreds of members who participated in the Monday write-in of messages all over the western suburbs of Bulawayo and Harare.  These are some of their messages they wrote: Free + safe streets/ Freedom of peaceful protest /We want Separation of powers /Gender equality /Free primary school education/ Devolution for development /No to death penalty /Women demand equal pay /Women demand Protection from violence/ Informal trade + licenses /Young President 2 terms /Fire Chihuri /Fire AG Tomana /Fire Mudede /Referendum first /Boycott snap election /Resources for development /Remove militia /Refugees in our own country

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Graffiti Members released on $50 bail

NINE members arrested on Monday 2nd July 2012 finally appeared in Western Commonage Court 5th July 2012. They were granted bail of $50 each and will reappear in Court on 18th July 2012. All of the members had to seek medical attention due to the poor custody conditions. Sibongile Lumbile being in bad shape as she was never taken to hospital but kept in an office and the police lied about her whereabouts thereby meaning she did not get to eat the food brought bought in by the support team till the next day.

They were charged and appeared in Court in four separate batches under Section 49 as read with part 2(a)(vi) of the Third schedule of the Criminal (Codification and Reform Act).  Which reads “Any person who wantonly or mischievously dislodges or disfigure any property shall be guilty of criminal nuisance and liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 ($200) or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months. They were defended by Paul Moyo a private lawyer deployed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

The delay in bringing them to court was a result of the Homicide police refusing to deal with WOZA as they argued that WOZA is dealt with by the Law and Order Department of the police.

The nine members were arrested on suspicion that they were part of the members writing messages on the tarmac road, a form of Graffiti.  They were arrested in different suburbs of the city around Bulawayo from 7pm to 11pm on Monday night. This is part of the campaign to demand the draft constitution and calling for the firing of political presidential appointees – police commissioner, Attorney general and the registrar general.

WOZA was formed 10 years ago to provide women with a platform to speak out on issues affecting their daily life. Peaceful protest forms a key mandate for the members to speak out in a country where the media is state controlled. The writing of messages also forms part of the communication tools of campaigning as it provides an ‘in your face’ promotion of opinion and educates citizens on topical issues.

WOZA would like to acknowledge the solidarity and support statements from Civic organisations and the MDC. We are thankful that all nine members were released and are sure they appreciate the solidarity.

Members to spent second night in custody

All nine members arrested in Bulawayo on Monday night, including the missing two were located at Bulawayo Central police station. On 3rd July they were formally charged with Criminal Nuisance Section 46 schedule 2a (vi) any person dislodges or disfigures any property and were expected to be taken to court on 4th July but this did not happen so they will spend the second night in custody.

Indications are that the Police Law and Order department have refused to deal with the case and have referred it to the Homicide Department.  Officers of the Homicide Department visited the home of a member who lives near Western Commonage police station demanding that she attend the Homicide offices in town by 9am on Thursday 5th July 2012.

Sibongile Lumbile, one of the arrested members was last night rushed into hospital as she became unwell due to the horrific conditions in Bulawayo Central police cells. She was having breathing problems and was very cold as there are no blankets and it is mid-winter.

In a separate incident at 11pm on Tuesday 3 July 2012 four police officers arrived at the home of a member Shingirai Mupani who lives in Pumula suburb in Bulawayo. They demanded that she accompany them telling her that they only wanted her to take them to the homes of Williams and Mahlangu to arrest them for the graffiti painting spree in Bulawayo.  She refused to accompany them. One of those police officers is ‘Brian’. He was responsible for beating members with thorny trigs in a sit in protest 2 weeks ago.   It seems the police officers objected to one of the messages painted calling for the firing of the police commissioner Augustine Chihuri.

On Saturday 30 June 2012, the dogs of Magodonga Mahlangu were poisoned. She rushed them for urgent medical attention but could not save one of the dogs.  She has reported the matter to the police but has had to insist they open a docket.  WOZA is concerned that this was not a normal criminal incident as her home is highly secured but just vindictiveness by state security agents.

Arrests:2 members missing; 7 denied breakfast

Arrests but 2 women cannot be located at any police station, 7 denied breakfast

NINE Bulawayo members were arrested the night of 2nd July 2012 and are being held in custody at 3 different police stations. They were arrested in 2 separate incidents. This is part of the occupy and demand the draft constitution campaign that WOZA have been conducting since May 2012.

The seven who are women arrested at 10pm spent the night at Western Commonage police station but this morning they were loaded up into a police van at 9am.  It seems the police officers have taken them to where the messages have been painted in the road and are taking photographs.  They are Vigilant Lunga, Violet Dube, Theresa Phiri, Catherine Dhliwayo, Eunice Moyo, Mpikelelo Moyo and Sibongile Lumbile.  They were denied food this morning so have not eaten since last evening.

Some of the painted messages read: Fire Chihuri (the partisan police commissioner); devolution for development; we want separation of powers and we want education.

The two members arrested in Matshobana at 7pm are Miriam Ngcebetsha and Ottilia Dube. Their whereabouts are not known and the support team is going door to door at every police station looking for them.