Category Archives: Community Views and Activities

WOZA Harare members love tokens rebuffed by police beatings

ABOUT 980 Harare members took part in the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Valentine’s Day protest to Parliament in Kwame Nkrumah Street. Marching peacefully in two formations, members were undisturbed and reached parliament to find over 30 Anti Riot Police blocking the entrance to Parliament, signing songs to deliver a message for respect and activation of the constitution.

Members then gathered close and 10 speeches were made outlining the demands on parliament and the situation of women and children in Zimbabwe. WOZA National coordinator and Celina Madukani then went into the august house reception to deliver the petition and roses. However they were informed that the clerk of parliament, and the speaker were in a meeting together and could not be disturbed. The activists realising that this was another delaying tactic decided to leave the petition on the reception table.

These misgivings had proven correct as the anti riot police had begun to disperse and beat the peacefully signing women outside. Over 10 members reported being beaten from behind as they disperse and all had visible swelling and bruising on their upper arms. The beatings were carried out by anti riot officers in black uniforms and it is unclear why their uniform differs from the normal blue uniform.

As part of the protest WOZA members handed our red roses and summary constitution pocket books to bystanders. Unfortunately WOZA did not have many copies and people hung around asking for these and many followed the procession trying to lay their hands on the constitution. The desperation for information evident to all those who were distributing information. WOZA wish to call on parliament and civic society at large to make greater effort to fill this knowledge and information vacuum. Zimbabweans have always shown a hunger for information but they seem to be intentionally disempowered. Zimbabwe seems to have a parliament that neglects awareness raising on the Constitution, a year later no such program has been started. Members of Parliament also seem to ignore the need for such a program during house sessions.

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were followed through the city centre by obviously high ranked suit wearing intelligence officers until they managed to outsmart them and leave the city centre.
see yesterday briefing statement here http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1520

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

Zimbabweans +solidarity friends beat the drum of peace and development to break the silence of violence

WOZA calls on Zimbabweans to beat the drum of peace and development to break the silence on violence

WOZA joins the rest of the world’s activists in campaigning for an end to gender-based violence in the year 2013. To mark the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the organisation chose to look beyond the sphere of physical violence to consider the position of women in a society which perpetrates systemic violence and socio-economic disadvantage. Violence against women includes the range of abuses committed against women that stem from gender inequality and women’s subordinate status in society relative to men.

WOZA, an organisation of human rights defenders campaign against violence in all its forms all year long, but chose to march on women human rights defenders day 29 November 2013 to raise the profile of this special day. WOZA will march the same route they marched on this day in 2006 to launch their peoples charter. On this day over a hundred members were beaten and arrested, broken limbs of adults and a baby the brunt of police baton sticks.

To mobilise for this special day, WOZA conducted a survey amongst a total of 7 180 of its members, with 6 428 being women, to investigate their perceptions of women’s position in their communities. Special attention was paid on whether women’s economic status was improving or deteriorating. Members were asked to comment on a series of statements arrived at as a result of the discussion around the ZANU PF Elections theme, the “Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) and the continuing engendered analysis of development on how women were fulfilling their role in their homes and in society. Since the universal 16 Days of activism campaign calls for more substantial responses on the part of governments to act with due diligence in protecting and preventing gender-based violence, members were also required to give comments regarding benefits from government development programmes.

The results were clear. 81% of WOZA Harare and Bulawayo members do not believe that women are respected and do not believe that violence against them has ceased. 89% of member do not believe that they will be able to benefit from the ZANU PF’s indigenization policies, and 68,2% expressed that the police harassment and criminalization of women informal traders must stop for socio economic growth but many called for job creation as an alternative. All believed that women were working very hard to create food security for their families, but many noted that this was done against all odds. The vast majority believe the development situation in their communities had deteriorated. They do not believe that ZANU PF will implement the new constitution effectively. The responses show great disillusionment with and distrust of government and a keen sense of the disadvantages felt by women in spite of their hard work to provide for their families. The scars that women bear today are not just a result of physical violence but are deep rooted in years of poor governance by the state, emotional and psychological manipulation in the home, community and workplace as well as deliberate marginalization of women in all spheres of life. It does not need to be physical violence for women to bear the scars of abuse.

In a list of demands contained in the report, WOZA members demand Free primary education was promised, but children are still chased away from school due to non-payment of fees; A programme and funding plan for the better roads promised by the president in his inauguration speech and an initial position was taken against the proposed urban toll gate project. Members also demand land, inputs and to be shared equally among men and women and in a non partisan framework. Moreover, women and youth are waiting for the re-opening of industries to create employment and the detailed plan as to how these firms will create 2 million jobs with a living wage as promised during campaigns.
The same group of citizens demand income generating projects for women and these projects should be distributed in a non partisan system. The vulnerable and the disadvantaged in communities, such as the elderly, the orphans, disabled and widowed are still suffering and being made to complete food aid forms to no avail. WOZA members demand home ownership; city council should build homes for people and there should be transparency in the distribution of stands. Residents are tired of being lodgers and paying high rentals. Last but not least, they demand the ZimAsset programme to urgently provide affordable and nutritious home grown food and to put women first in all the ZimAsset implementation programmes

WOZA made additionally recommendations on a number of premises that include devolution, activation of the constitution, working public institutions, community involvement, civic education, as well as justice and fairness.
Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/wozazimbabwe or find us on Facebook Woza Zimbabwe

See the full report on our website at the following link
http://wozazimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/WOZA-Report-Zim-beat-the-drum-of-peace-and-development-to-break-the-silence-on-violence.pdf

Harare members petition parliament

EIGHT hundred members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) began two separate peaceful protests at 2pm on Monday 2 December 2013. Their objective to march to parliament and hand over a petition. The petition being a research report produced under the 16 days of activism against gender based violence – Zimbabweans beat the drum of peace and development to break the silence on violence.

Both protests began without incident and converged on the Kwame Nkrumah entrance of parliament at 2:15pm. WOZA national coordinator began to negotiate for someone to officially receive the petition. A female officer was assisting and asked Williams to please request silence from the singing members. Members then observed non violent discipline and sat down on the hot tarmac with the blazing sun on their heads.

Seconds dragged to many minutes and it became apparent the clerk of parliament would not attend to receive the petition. Police officers, schooled in the culture of harassment continued to attempt to disperse the protesters and tried to scatter members by attempting to drive their truck into the crowd. Despite this obvious attempt to curb the right to protest, WOZA members remained resolute and started to sing a shone song saying – we also have rights!

After a 30 minutes wait, Williams was directed to the counsel to parliament, Ms Gladys Pise who received the petition and provided proof.

WOZA national coordinator, Jenni Williams then addressed members informing them that the petition had been delivered and asked members to go peacefully home and await a formal response from parliament. WOZA members then formally left parliament with the police officers still obviously restraining themselves in frustration at the new constitution clauses on respect for the right to petition.

WOZA express dismay that the police in Bulawayo seem to have not had the same training on the new ‘right to petition’ as the Harare police officers seem to have had. Once again the Bulawayo police officers have shown that there is selective harshness in responding to protests in Bulawayo. WOZA members are still shocked that Bulawayo police bosses ordered the deployment of police dogs to run the peacefully protesting members out of town. WOZA expects to take legal action against the police for wrongful arrest and for curtailing the right to protest and use of maximum force against members.

29 November is Women Human Rights Defenders Day

WOZA calls on Zimbabweans to beat the drum of peace and development to break the silence on violence

WOZA joins the rest of the world’s activists in campaigning for an end to gender-based violence in the year 2013. To mark the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the organisation chose to look beyond the sphere of physical violence to consider the position of women in a society which perpetrates systemic violence and socio-economic disadvantage. Violence against women includes the range of abuses committed against women that stem from gender inequality and women’s subordinate status in society relative to men.

WOZA, an organisation of human rights defenders campaign against violence in all its forms all year long, but chose to march on women human rights defenders day 29 November 2013 to raise the profile of this special day. WOZA will march the same route they marched on this day in 2006 to launch their peoples charter. On this day over a hundred members were beaten and arrested, broken limbs of adults and a baby the brunt of police baton sticks.

To mobilise for this special day, WOZA conducted a survey amongst a total of 7 180 of its members, with 6 428 being women, to investigate their perceptions of women’s position in their communities. Special attention was paid on whether women’s economic status was improving or deteriorating. Members were asked to comment on a series of statements arrived at as a result of the discussion around the ZANU PF Elections theme, the “Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) and the continuing engendered analysis of development on how women were fulfilling their role in their homes and in society. Since the universal 16 Days of activism campaign calls for more substantial responses on the part of governments to act with due diligence in protecting and preventing gender-based violence, members were also required to give comments regarding benefits from government development programmes.

The results were clear. 81% of WOZA Harare and Bulawayo members do not believe that women are respected and do not believe that violence against them has ceased. 89% of member do not believe that they will be able to benefit from the ZANU PF’s indigenization policies, and 68,2% expressed that the police harassment and criminalization of women informal traders must stop for socio economic growth but many called for job creation as an alternative. All believed that women were working very hard to create food security for their families, but many noted that this was done against all odds. The vast majority believe the development situation in their communities had deteriorated. They do not believe that ZANU PF will implement the new constitution effectively.

The responses show great disillusionment with and distrust of government and a keen sense of the disadvantages felt by women in spite of their hard work to provide for their families. The scars that women bear today are not just a result of physical violence but are deep rooted in years of poor governance by the state, emotional and psychological manipulation in the home, community and workplace as well as deliberate marginalization of women in all spheres of life. It does not need to be physical violence for women to bear the scars of abuse. In a list of demands contained in the report, WOZA members demand Free primary education was promised, but children are still chased away from school due to non-payment of fees; A programme and funding plan for the better roads promised by the president in his inauguration speech and an initial position was taken against the proposed urban toll gate project. Members also demand land, inputs and to be shared equally among men and women and in a non partisan framework.

Moreover, women and youth are waiting for the re-opening of industries to create employment and the detailed plan as to how these firms will create 2 million jobs with a living wage as promised during campaigns. The same group of citizens demand income generating projects for women and these projects should be distributed in a non partisan system. The vulnerable and the disadvantaged in communities, such as the elderly, the orphans, disabled and widowed are still suffering and being made to complete food aid forms to no avail. WOZA members demand home ownership; city council should build homes for people and there should be transparency in the distribution of stands. Residents are tired of being lodgers and paying high rentals. Last but not least, they demand the ZimAsset programme to urgently provide affordable and nutritious home grown food and to put women first in all the ZimAsset implementation programmes WOZA made additionally recommendations on a number of premises that include devolution, activation of the constitution, working public institutions, community involvement, civic education, as well as justice and fairness.

See the full report on our website at the following link WOZA Report Zim beat the drum of peace and development to break the silence on violence

African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights accept WOZA case

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has received formal notification from the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) that a recent communication, outlining continued human rights abuses perpetrated against WOZA members, was accepted during the 14th Extraordinary Session held from July 20-24, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. By accepting the communication, the ACHPR requests that the Zimbabwean government respond to the rights violations included in the document.

The communication number 446/13 was taken by Jennifer Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, and WOZA against the Republic of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Lawyer’s for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Washington-based Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) now have 60 days to argue for admissibility of the case.

The nature of the complaint is that the Republic of Zimbabwe – which ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on May 30, 1986 – has routinely violated WOZA’s right to peaceful protest and assembly. The communication, which was initially submitted in April 2013, documents a lengthy series of arrests, beatings, arbitrary detentions, and general physical harassment of WOZA members for over a decade between 2003 and 2013.

Formed in 2002, WOZA is a mass civic movement with a countrywide membership of approximately 85,000 citizens. WOZA lobbies and advocates on issues pertaining to women and their families in Zimbabwe and participates in a range of peaceful campaigns, both locally and internationally. WOZA’s principal aim is to mobilise Zimbabweans, particularly women, to demand social justice and educates its members about their rights and freedoms and encourages them to fully participate in important civic processes. WOZA conducts civic education programmes and teaches its members nonviolent ways to advance and protect their basic human rights.

The Tale of Two Trials

Bertha Sibanda (55), a Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) member, who is on trial charged under the Public Indecency and Public Exposure Act, appeared on trial in Tredgold Magistrate Court, Bulawayo. She appeared before Magistrate Ms Charity Maphosa on Monday 30th September 2013 for continuation of trial and was defended by Kossam Ncube. A ruling is expected on 9th October 2013.

On the same day, Magodonga Mahlangu also appeared on trial in court one before Magistrate C. J. Mberewere, charged with making offensive calls without reasonable cause. Defense lawyer, Nontokozo Tachiona applied for Mahlangu’s discharge when the stated closed its case. The complainant, MDC T ward chair for Matshobana in Bulawayo, and the two state witnesses contradicted their own evidence and disassociated themselves with their statements prepared by the law and order department of the police who insisted the matter be prosecuted. The Magistrate will rule on if Mahlangu must take the stand in her own defense and present witnesses for the defense on 8th October 2013. (For more info see this link http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1463)

Bertha Sibanda was amongst 180 WOZA members who were arrested during the Valentine’s Day protest on the 14th of February 2013. She was detained after the rest of members were released as she had removed her outer garments whilst in the Bulawayo Police station courtyard.

Mr. Shepherd Nhamburo prosecuted for the State, leading evidence that on Sibanda removed her skirt and blouse in public in full view of the police who were arresting the protesting group of WOZA women.

The business before the court on 30 September was for the accused person and defense witnesses to take the stand. Ms Sibanda told the court that she stripped following an instruction from the arresting police officers who shouted bvisa (a Shona language word meaning remove your clothes).

She said, “Police officers shouted ‘bvisa’ to the group and I asked them if we should removed our clothes and they responded with same word ‘bvisa’. I asked them about three times if I should go ahead and they still maintained that we should strip.”

According to Sibanda, there was nothing wrong with her stripping since she only stripped after enquiring if she should do it and got an affirmative response from the police officers. “I thought they wanted me to strip following the arrest. I have information from other people’s narrations that women are required to remove their clothes when they are arrested,” explained Sibanda.

Two witnesses, both members of WOZA arrested on the day in question, Hlalaphi Ndlovu and Joyce Ndebele took the stand and both maintained that the instruction to remove clothes came from the police officers. The members felt that the command shouted to the group of arrested women, misled them to think that they were under arrest and expected to remove their clothes in the courtyard. The two said that they did not strip as WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu stopped them told them to sit down and await for formal procedures after a telephone conversation with WOZA leader Jennifer Williams.

Ms Mahlangu took the stand on 1st October 2013 when the trial resumed. She testified that she had stopped the mass undressing after calling Jennifer Williams to advise her that over 180 members had been arrested. Williams had been part of the protest and Officer Commanding Bulawayo District Chief Inspector Maninge had asked her to come upstairs to his office so as to discussing the cause of the protest. When Mahlangu called Williams to advise of the arrests, Williams was in the office of the chief Inspector and she immediately advised him of the news and announced to him and to Mahlangu on the phone that she was walking out of the meeting as the police boss had obviously not negotiating in good faith by arresting members.

Williams duly arrived at Bulawayo Central police station with the police boss. He had addressed the protest promising that no one would be arrested whilst Williams meet with him and his police staff. Williams and members seated in the courtyard refused to leave pending the release of Bertha and 8 male members but Chief Inspector Maninge ordered the Police Reactions group to beat anyone who refused to leave the police station despite them having been brought there under arrest by the same Police Reaction group.

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) would like to thank Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for their continued support in deploying their members to defend WOZA human rights defenders as they face persecution by prosecution by a police force selectively applying the law.

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.’

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 take right to protest complaint to African Commission

On 13th April 2013 Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) legal representatives from Washington based Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) filed a communication to the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights during its 53rd session in Banjul, The Gambia.

The applicants in this communication are Jennifer Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu and WOZA. The two WOZA leaders have been arrested over 50 times in the 10 years of WOZA’s existence. Williams has filed as the official representative of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

The communication demonstrates Zimbabwe’s clear and systematic pattern of suppression of WOZA’s rights to engage in peaceful protest and public demonstrations. It details over 24 incidents of violations over the course of two years of the Applicants’ rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, non-discrimination, and equal protection of the law-all protected by the African Charter.

Article 6 of the Charter states that every individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily arrested or detained. Article 9 of the Charter, protects the right to freedom of expression, and states that every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his opinions within the law.

WOZA are of the view therefore that the right to engage in peaceful protest is an “essential and constituent element of democracies” and anchored by the twin pillars of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Pending the finalization of this matter the two activists and WOZA members have requested the African Commission to grant provisional measures interdicting the Republic of Zimbabwe from interfering in any way with the Applicant’s right to peaceful protest and public demonstrations, particularly in the time period between the date of filing this communication and the 2013 Zimbabwean elections. In particular, the Applicants requested the African Commission to interdict the Republic of Zimbabwe to refrain from arresting or detaining the Applicants and other members of WOZA when they are engaging in peaceful protest and public demonstrations as protected by the Charter.

The applicants also requests that the Commission orders the Republic of Zimbabwe take measures to facilitate the right to engage in peaceful protest and public demonstrations and remove any restriction of the rights of freedom of expression and assembly in law or practice that is incompatible to the Human and Peoples Rights Charter.

The timing of this communication is due to escalation of repression on civic society organisations and the shrinking space for exercising and protecting human rights as Zimbabwe gears for harmonised election.

WOZA took this course of action after the Zimbabwe Republic Police have failed to respect the Supreme Court ruling of 26 November 2010. (Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu v. Phathekile Msipha, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, Judgment No. SC 22/10). The ZRP continue to clamp down on WOZA and the repression has taken the form of criminalising peaceful processions and WOZA gatherings. The police have disturbed hundreds of peaceful processions, indiscriminately beating and arresting over 3000 members. During the 10th peaceful processions of Saint Valentine’s Day on 13 February, in Harare and in Bulawayo on 14 February 2013, police deployed tear gas, beat and arrested members.

Additionally, WOZA members who were marching on 13th November 2012 to demand Bulawayo city council adhere to water load shedding timetables and that the council deal with politicisation of water supply were beaten, insulted and dumped at a graveyard. The level of tribal insults and the symbol of dumping the members at the graveyard are serious threats against the organisation and its members. WOZA analysis points to a more direct tribal repression being practiced in Bulawayo by Police officers based there. This repression is part of the marginalisation of the region despite the fact that the orders carried out by Bulawayo police officers originate from the same command structure in Harare.

Despite this harassment by Police officers, WOZA have painstakingly attempted to engage the police leadership. Specific request have been that they follow the legal guidelines on dispersing peaceful protests rather than perpetrating abuses. When this failed, letters of complaint were written and ignored. The Joint Monitoring and Operating Committee (JOMIC) refused to deal with WOZA complaints arguing that their mandate was to focus on political parties despite clear requirements detailed under the global political agreement.

After the so-called Arab spring, repression increased and the Supreme Court ruling became completely ignored, leaving the human rights defenders without a route to hold the Police accountable and their right to assembly and peacefully express their views severely diminished.

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), a civic movement with a countrywide membership of over approximately 85,000 women and men formed in 2002 to lobby and advocate on issues affecting women and their families in Zimbabwe. WOZA participates in a variety of campaigns locally and internationally and has conducted hundreds of peaceful protests and public demonstrations in Zimbabwe since 2002. WOZA’s express aim is to mobilise Zimbabweans, especially women, to demand social justice and it educates its members about their rights and freedoms and asks them to fully participate in all civic processes. WOZA conducts civic education programmes and teaches its members nonviolent ways to speak out about their issues.