High Court application lodged – Williams gets more threats

UPDATE – MATTER HEARD AT 9AM AND JUDGEMENT RESERVED!!!!!

ON 15 June 2011, Police officers were served with the copies of urgent chamber application submitted on 14th June to the High Court by WOZA. They were served by Kossam Ncube, the defence lawyer. The matter has been set down for 9am Friday 17 June 2011 before Justice Mathonsi. woza-urgent-chamber-application-14-june-2011. woza-draft-provisional-order. jl-williams-woza-affidavit . woza-cert-of-urgency

The relief sought from the court is in the form of an order compelling Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Officer Commanding CID Law and Order Section Augustine Kubvoruno Commanding CID Law and Order Section at Bulawayo and Chief Superintendent P. R Moyo, the Officer Commanding CID Law and Order Section at Bulawayo Central Police Station and the Officer In Charge CID Law and Order Section at Bulawayo Central Police Station to remove all police officers from the house and the yard outside with immediate effect and to bar the police from removing anything whatsoever from the house. WOZA are requesting the High Court restore back to the organisation full and undisturbed occupation of the house. The Suburbs house is under armed police guard.

The reaction from the police officers upon being served with court documents was more threats and intimidation. Officer Ngwenya complained directly to the Human Rights lawyer that he was mentioned in WOZA press statements and that he will now have to ‘deal personally with Williams’, this is the second time he has made such a threat upon the person of Williams. He went on to vow that even if the court orders them to leave the premises, they will continue to guard from outside the house until they can get Williams and search the house and vehicles parked in the yard.

On Friday 10th June WOZA members had gathered to finalise their petitions and power cut timesheets in Suburbs, Bulawayo. WOZA planned to hand these over to the Parliament Committee dealing with the electricity issue. Police officers so desperate to protect their ‘power company’ – ZETDC from the successful ‘anti abuse of power petition campaign’ and they pounced like hyenas threatening peaceful women. They broke the gate and forced their way in assaulting a lodger and are still occupying the house 6 days later. The excuse is that they are looking for subversive documents that oppose the government but we suspect that they have ‘planted’ evidence over these days they have been in sole control of the house.

The House of Assembly Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals Management is holding public hearings on ZESA, in response to the outcry over electricity supply and cost. There has been wide militarisation of state enterprises, and ZESA Holdings is no exception. In April last year it was intelligence agents masquerading as security officers who enforced the arrest of Jennifer Williams at ZESA in Harare during a peaceful protest. The same scenario prevailed on 10 May when a journalist was arrested at the Bulawayo also by Security officers. We therefore expect ZESA have prevailed upon the police to prevent WOZA from continuing their ‘anti abuse of power’ campaign and issuing the threatened ‘red card’ to ZESA.

The officers leading this oppression are Law and Order police, namely George Levison Ngwenya, Lindani Mpofu, Chikango, Nkomo, Chuchu, S. G. Ndlovu, known as MaNdlo and another know as Moyo. These officers are involved in oppression of human rights defenders and some of them are involved in the torture of members during detention in March of 14 members.

WOZA lawyer Kossam Ncube was at the scene 20minutes after the raid to attend but was threatened and chased away. lawyer-complains-law-and-order-byo
The Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee is yet to respond to WOZAs report. letterhead-to-jomic

Woza Moya February 2007 Valentine Edition

To all Zimbabweans from WOZA with love on Valentine’s Day 2007
THE PEOPLE’S CHARTER giving YOU a BETTER LIFE – a BETTER ZIMBABWE

When WOZA was formed in 2003, brave women responded to the call to come forward. They heard the word ‘woza’, opened their hearts and came forward to join a non-violent struggle. Five years later, the struggle for a better life, a better Zimbabwe still continues. Every day, women and men are still coming forward to join WOZA and are still willing to sacrifice to turn our dream of social justice into a reality.

On 29th November 2006, Zimbabweans joined hands in Bulawayo to launch the People’s Charter at Mhlalandlela Government Complex. On that day our hearts were filled with hope that the authorities would for once listen to our cries, accept the People’s Charter and together we would find a new Zimbabwe. Unfortunately on that day the blood of Zimbabweans was spilt as riot police brutally assaulted women and men, mothers, and their babies. Many are still receiving treatment. Those police officers will one day be judged. Two weeks later, members, some still nursing the bruises and injuries they received in Bulawayo, went to Harare on 12th December to deliver the People’s Charter to Parliament. We commend the police officers on duty that day for allowing WOZA the space to deliver the Charter to Parliament.

As we continue with the non-violent struggle we need more than ever the solidarity of Zimbabweans and friends in the Diaspora. We also call on all politicians and heads of organisations, both inside and outside Zimbabwe, to join hands with us to respect the wishes of Zimbabweans by endorsing the Charter and becoming ‘People’s Charter Champions’.

We remind members of the armed forces of Zimbabwe that they are our children and we love them enough to discipline them with our tough love. In 2007 it will no longer be acceptable to beat mothers and babies saying you were only following orders. Self-interest may feed your family for a day but we want your family to eat what and when they choose to eat forever. Freedom does not belong to a small group but should be enjoyed by every one – they must join us in demanding the promises of the liberation war.

Now as we plan for our fifth Valentines Day, we reflect on past themes and messages. In 2003 we asked Zimbabweans to learn to love again. “Say no to hate and violence in all its forms and yes to love. Love us, respect us and allow us to be women. Love us today and everyday.”

In 2004 we said, “our beloved Zimbabwe is crying – we must defend our right to love and let love overcome hate.” “The Power of Love can conquer the Love of Power” was our message in 2005. Last year we marched for ‘Bread and Roses’. Bread signifying the need for affordable basic commodities and roses signifying our need for dignity and the better things in life.

As we prepare to march for a BETTER LIFE – A BETTER ZIMBABWE, we salute the bravery of our comrades and Zimbabweans who need courage to survive every day in a country that has fallen apart. We send you lots of love and ask you keep hope burning in your hearts. We want to live a full life and not die heartbroken! It is said that Zimbabwe now has the lowest life expectancy in the world. Women are only expected to live to 34 and men to 37. Right now the hospitals are empty – there is no medication, nurses and doctors are on strike whilst the mortuaries are piled up with the bodies.

Together we must continue our work to demand that the dreams contained in the People’s Charter are realised – make sure you stand up to be counted! We ask you to join us – join your brothers and sisters who believe that a better Zimbabwe is possible. Join us in saying that LOVE can bring a brighter day.

DREAMING OF A NEW ZIMBABWE – THE PEOPLE’S CHARTER

Zimbabweans, united and resolute, announce:
That after 26 years of independence, the freedoms and equal opportunities we were promised have not been fulfilled;

The dreams we had of a good life – of dignity, comfort and security – have become nightmares. Zimbabweans must dream once again and turn their dreams into a living reality.

We must keep in mind, however, that we deserve better and we must not be afraid to believe that we have the right to a brighter future and we have the right to contribute to building it.

And therefore, we, the people of Zimbabwe, women, men and children, of all races, tribes and religions, come together with respect for each other and as equals to adopt this Charter, knowing that united we can deliver its possibilities;

And we undertake to work together with strength, courage and hope, until all Zimbabweans can live in a genuinely democratic country in peace and with dignity.

AS WE DREAM OF A NEW ZIMBABWE WE KNOW THAT NEED NEW LEADERS ……….

The Leaders We Want
All leaders shall be responsible, care for the people they serve and take their issues and problems to heart, taking action to develop their communities;

Leaders at all levels shall respect all people equally, listen to their concerns, consult them when making decisions and feedback to them;

Leaders shall understand that they will be held accountable and accept that the people who elected them have the right to criticise policy;

Leaders at all levels shall publicly renounce corruption and nepotism;

Traditional leaders (chiefs and headmen) shall not be chosen by politicians but by traditional methods. They shall be non-partisan and stay in the communities they serve, rather than sit in Parliament.

THESE NEW LEADERS MUST DELIVER ……….

Good Living
There will be enough food for everyone;

All basic commodities shall be available and affordable. If necessary, there shall be price controls to make sure that everyone has access to them;

Every person shall have access to decent, affordable housing. Rents shall be lowered and there shall be respect for property rights;

All areas, both urban and rural, shall have affordable access to the services necessary for safe, healthy living – clean water, proper sewerage and sanitation systems and refuse collection;

All areas, both urban and rural, shall have affordable, regular access to electricity;

There shall be a regular, affordable public transport system that provides adequate coverage of all areas of Zimbabwe. The elderly should be allowed free local travel;

The vulnerable in our society shall be protected; the elderly, widows, people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and the disabled shall be properly cared for by the state;

All people shall have the right to rest, sports and recreation.

OR WE WILL DISMISS THEM ……….

Join us in holding ALL leaders accountable – TOGETHER we can get leaders who will give us a BETTER LIFE – A BETTER ZIMBABWE

8 make bail and police confirm looking for organisers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arrested members detained and released into lawyers custody

Members arrested in the protest Tuesday spent the night at Luveve Police station before being released into their lawyer’s custody Thursday on condition that they come to be formnally charged in Western Commonage Magistrates Court on 26th May 2011.

The final number of arrested rose to 8 women and a 3 month old baby Rejoice. Tuesday afternoon dragged to an end with many police stations refusing to receive the arrested questioning why they were even arrested in the first place. The mother and baby were allowed to sleep at home and report Thursday morning.

The charge and statement taking procedures were done 8 times with all statements being torn up and ‘they did not make sense’ so finding a charge is still a challenge. The notorious law and order department Police officers at Bulawayo Central also refused to receive the accused and said the officers who arrested them were overzealous must finish the job.

Warn and Cautioned statements were redone 25 May  and they were charged under the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act: conduct likely to disturb the peace.

The members are Grace Moyo, Stella Chivunge, Sikhangezile Sibanda, Simangaliphi Msimanga, 16yr old Cecelia Ncube, Siboniso Siziba, Miriam Moyo, and Memory Matandare with her 3month old baby Rejoice. Today is Africa Day in Zimbabwe and electricity cuts will as usual average 6 to 18 hours.

Six released, another six & baby arrested in a ‘Power’ Protest

SIX women arrested appeared in Tredgold Magistrate Court on Monday 23 May and were granted bail on condition they lodged $100 bail each, report fortnightly on Fridays at Western Commonage Police Station. They appeared before Magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa, with public prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa. They were arrested on the night of Wednesday 18th May.

According to the State outline, the charge is malicious damage to property and three people are still at large.  The complainant is Bulawayo City Council represented by Lengama Douglas Ncube of the Engineering department.

The six were represented by human rights lawyer Kossam Ncube and Godfrey Nyoni. The lawyers notified the court that they will challenge the charge on the 6th of June which is the next time the six will appear in Court for a remand hearing. Lawyers also put into court record that the accused were denied food and that the police officers threatened them with death and disappearance and verbally abused them by referring to them as prostitutes. Under this duress, five of the accused admitted to the charge. This took place in the absence of their lawyers despite officers being well aware of the legal team. Over the weekend two homes were raided without any search warrant but not arrests were made.

The state case is based on ‘malicious damage to property’ but they will have to prove what repairs are needed and how they have calculated the damage at US$345.00 when the paint used is normal road paint which is used to draw traffic lines and fades over time.

150 WOZA members in Pumula, Bulawayo today marched to their local Electricity company office carrying a mock coffin to symbolise the burial of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC). They began their march from a nearby shopping centre, intending to march past the police station to the ZETDC office but a vehicle drove out and dispersed them.

Police officers on bicycles then chased the activists but many managed to double back to the door of ZETDC to deliver the yellow cards and coffin. A drama ensured with residents shouting at police officers to stop chasing people as they do not have electricity themselves. All the police officers seem to come out to pick up and read the yellow cards, flyers and placards.

As the protest dispersed, six members, Simangaliso Msimanga, Grace Moyo, Pretty Chivunge, and Sikhangezile Sibanda and Memory Matandare with her 3month old baby and another have been arrested and handcuffed. Lawyers have been deployed.

Woza Moya January 2007

EDUCATION FOR ALL BY 2000”
“We were promised silver and gold – but paid in words without meaning” (comment from a social justice consultation in Matshobana, Bulawayo)

In 1980 one of the first promises of the newly independent government of Zimbabwe was education for all – an important reason many had joined the liberation struggle for.

Education in Zimbabwe in 2007 – a broken promise
In 1980, free primary education was introduced and many Zimbabweans benefited. New schools were built and Zimbabwe had the highest literacy rate in Africa. This was what people had sacrificed for and it was what the people had been promised. But in 1992, the government chose to betray children and their parents. It chose to sacrifice education and health to keep its cronies happy – the army and the civil service. In 2006, the betrayal went even deeper. Fees increases of over 1000% put education beyond the reach of many and even more increases this term has meant that, in 2007, education has become the right of only the rich.

27 years after Independence, Zimbabweans have been forced to face the harsh reality that the leaders that we elected to represent us have seperated themselves from the will of the people and are copying the worst behaviour of past colonial masters. Not only have they failed to deliver the promises of Independence, they have become too high and mighty for people who elected them. The much talked about Government promise from the 1980s of ‘Education for all by 2000’ has become just another of the government’s adverts full of empty words without meaning.

27 years later – the children of Zimbabwe have a different experience
Peter Makoni (13), like any other teenager, has a dream – he wants to be a medical doctor. Sadly he has to live with the reality that he might have to settle for much less; his dream along with his future has already been stolen. “I know that this dream might not come true because my parents cannot afford to send me to a school where there are well-equipped laboratories and libraries and where I can learn the science subjects I need to make my dream come true. So instead I have to go to Emakhandeni Secondary School where they don’t teach science and my parents still have to pay more than $67,000 a term plus stationery. Even this they cannot afford.”

Peter shares one textbook with five other pupils but he says that this is ‘normal’ because he has never known better since he went through the same situation even in primary school. “I am one of the lucky ones because at least I have managed to stay in school, most of my classmates’ parents have failed to pay the ever increasing fees and most of my classmates have had to drop out. I am also worried that I may not be able to finish my studies,” he says.

According to the United Nations, as recently as 2000, 90% of young Zimbabweans went to primary school – the highest attendance in Africa. By 2003 that figure has fallen to only 65%. (The Zimbabwe Standard)

The children know the reality behind those statistics however. At 17, Edina Chando, who stays with her aunt in Matshobana, is not too sure if she will be able to sit for her Ordinary Level examinations. “My parents have passed away. I stay with my aunt while my elder brother who lives in South Africa contributes towards my schooling. But I am not sure if I will be able to finish my education because the fees just keep going up.” She remembers when they used to get exercise books in primary school and wishes things had stayed the same. But secondary school has not been very kind to them. With 12 classes per each form and only four available rooms, most of the time they have to learn huddled under a tree. “How am I supposed to concentrate when I have to sit under a tree half the time? Its very uncomfortable.”

“Most of our teachers work on a temporary basis, maybe for only one term at a time, and are not qualified to teach. Even the qualified ones are not paid well so they do not seem to really care about us or whether we understand our studies. I do not like this and wish our teachers would care for us. We have been paying for computer lessons for a long time but we have not had a single lesson. The computers are all locked up in a storeroom and you begin to wonder what we are paying for?” said Edina. She too, like Peter, dreams of being a medical doctor some day.

Edina says she has learnt so much about the pre-independence era, which she has no problem believing because she goes through most of the same problems in an ‘independent’ Zimbabwe.

Today children learn about the injustices that caused their parents to take up arms and feel they ought to do something similar to ease some of their problems. As Christine Choruma (13) put it, “Things are not working for us in schools and I just wish we as school children would organise ourselves and carry out peaceful protests until the leaders try to correct the scales that have been tipped in favour of the rich,” she said.

What people have been telling WOZA about their experiences of education:
· In Gweru, parents are summonsed to appear in court when they fail to pay their children’s school fees on time and are now living in constant fear of being hauled before the courts for failure to pay their children’s schools fees.
· In rural Insiza, if fees are not paid on time, the schools tell the chief who forces the parents to appear before him and to pay a fine per child for the appearance, on top of the outstanding fees.
· Parents pay book levy but are then forced to buy books or children have to share textbooks – where is this money going?
· Children are chased from school for non-payment, for improper uniforms, for not having textbooks. Parents pay for the whole term but the child will only have been in class for a few weeks – how will they be able to pass their exams when they are at school for such a little time?
· So many shortages – teachers, classrooms, desks, chairs, equipment, books
· Who is BEAM (Basic Education Assistance Module) helping?
· Children are forced to fundraise through sponsorship or civvies days – but where is this money going?
· What happened to the promised free education for adults who had missed the opportunity to be educated during the war?
· With fees rising every term, how can we afford to send our children to school? They have to drop out and we are afraid they will become thieves and prostitutes.

WOZA has listened to what people have had to say and their demands have been incorporated into the People’s Charter. The people have spoken and these are their demands:

The People’s Charter – Educating the Nation:
Every child shall have equal access to an education without any form of discrimination. Those who cannot afford it shall have access to financial assistance;

Primary education shall be free and secondary education affordable as we were promised in 1980;

All students shall have a good quality education, taught in classrooms with enough resources – books, desks and equipment.

There shall be enough qualified teachers committed to educating the next generation. We must respect their contribution enough to give them a living wage.

WOZA believes that education is essential for any nation to succeed. We believe in the right of children to an education and we believe that, together, Zimbabweans can succeed in defending their children’s rights.

Let all those who LOVE Zimbabwe join hands to turn our dream of social justice into a reality.
JOIN US in demanding our children’s RIGHT to education!

WOZA declare a victory after successfully launching The People’s Charter at Parliament in Harare

More than 800 members of Women Of Zimbabwe Arise and Men Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) today marched to Parliament in Harare to launch the People’s Charter. Two groups started at different locations in central Harare, converging on Parliament at the same time. Upon arriving at Parliament, the two groups were met by riot police and arrested.

Police hold members of WOZA/MOZA outside Parliament in Harare

Police held the group of approximately 350 people, who were sitting peacefully, for more than an hour in front of the Parliament buildings before unexpectedly releasing them. WOZA/ MOZA members were made to sit for more than an hour under police guard whilst riot and uniformed police were seen conferencing and seemed to be in a dilemma as to what to do with the group. Several people, including parliamentarians, came out of the Parliament Buildings to observe the proceedings and to read the placards the group was holding, and many took copies of the Peoples’ Charter.

Members had come from all around the county to join the march – from Bulawayo, Mutare, Chegutu, Gweru and some rural areas. After the brutality with which police attacked WOZA members in Bulawayo two weeks ago, members had braced themselves for a similar response. They were surprised however upon being told that they could go back to their homes after being warned that they were demonstrating illegally and that they were not allowed to walk or even sit like they were doing! What was even more surprising was that Jenni Williams, WOZA’s National Coordinator, was invited to address the group before they dispersed.

At one stage a senior police officer asked the group who the leaders was and when he was told everyone is a leader, he then took five members from the main group, including two men and an elderly woman on crutches, loading them onto the back of a police vehicle and taking down their names. A Human Rights lawyer who was on site questioned this and some time later the five were made to rejoin the rest of the group.

The response to the People’s Charter from Zimbabweans all over the world has been overwhelming and today was no different. Pedestrians in downtown Harare rushed to receive copies of the Charter from the marching groups and in fact, the only WOZA items that remain in custody tonight is the People’s Charter and placards including those calling for 2008 Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

The reaction of the Zimbabwe Republic Police today was a victory for WOZA’s non-violent strategy and for the power of social justice. The WOZA leadership would like to commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police for showing that they are human beings also requiring social justice in their lives. However WOZA would also like to warn them that if they are turning over a new leaf it should be apparent every day, not only today but also in the future.

Having successfully launched the Charter in Harare and Bulawayo, WOZA is now planning to roll out launch demonstrations across the country. We will be coming to a town near you! Join us in demanding a socially just Zimbabwe.

Police arrest, beat and release 17 year old Professor Nkala

SIX women arrested on Wednesday 18 May 2011 were finally located by lawyers who had to search go door to door at suburban police stations. They located them at 3 police stations, Sauerstown, Hillside and Donnington. The six are Teresia Phiri 45yrs, Janet Dube 45 yrs, Juliet Nyathi 29 yrs, Thobekile  Ncube 37 yrs, Sibekezele Nkomo 30 yrs, and Loyce Ndlovu whose age is yet to be determined. They had not eaten for 24hours as a result of being hidden away from lawyers and relatives. Human Rights lawyer, Kossam Ncube was finally granted access at 2pm Friday. The six were charged with contravening section 140 of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23, malicious damage to property. They will spend the weekend in custody until they appear on Monday the 23rd of May at Bulawayo Magistrate Court at 8am.

Two of the women had been beaten upon arrest and had been prodded with a charged pistol until reaching the police station, 2km away from the arrest point. When arriving at Western Commonage police station, police officers compared their names to their ‘list’ of WOZA activists. They were then taken to Bulawayo Central where they were split up to the suburb stations.

WOZA has been aware that members of the ruling Zanu PF party were being asked to get the names of WOZA activists and give the names to the police. As political debate rages on about election dates and Zanu PF activists enjoy the freedom to move about forcing people to sign their anti sanctions petition, the politicised police force has been ordered to increase repression on human rights defenders. It is sad to note that the affordable electricity WOZA Defenders are campaigning will have more direct impact on ordinary people than the anti-sanctions petition of Zanu PF.

On Friday morning, a police vehicle was seen in Iminyela suburb with Thobekile and Janet on board and they went to 3 homes trying to secure the arrest of further members. Finding the women not at home, CID law and Order Detective Assistant Inspector Chikango then arbitrarily arrested a hostage – 17 year old Professor Nkala, leaving a note summonsing his mother Mavis Sibanda to follow to the Law and Order Department of Bulawayo Central.

Professor was interrogated and then released late afternoon but DAI Chikango followed him home and took him away again. He returned home 30 minutes later having been beaten to divulge the mobile number of another leader.

The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23, Section 140 Malicious damage to property reads: Any person who, knowing that another person is entitled to own, possess or control any property or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that another person may be so entitled, damages or destroys the property.
(a) intending to cause such damage or destruction; or
(b) realising that there is a real risk or possibility that such damage or destruction may result from his or her act or omission; shall be guilty of malicious damage to property, and liable to.
(i) a fine not exceeding level fourteen or not exceeding twice the value of the property damaged as a result of the crime, whichever is the greater; or
(ii) imprisonment for a period not exceeding twenty-five years;

Six WOZA women arrested for wanting power for the poor

SIX members, all women, were arrested along Khami Road in Bulawayo and detained at Western Commonage police station between 8 and 9pm Wednesday.  The women are from Iminyela and Pelandaba suburbs. The members were arrested by police officers who accused them of painting messages on the road. The messages read- ‘power to poor people’ ; ‘no lengthy load shedding’ ; ‘prepaid meters now!’; focus on the electricity crisis in Zimbabwe.

WOZA fear torture of members, 14 members were tortured while in custody in March 2011. This morning, food brought by relatives and lawyers access was denied by Assistant Inspector Purazeni, the officer-in-charge at Western Commonage police station whose officers arrested the six, he is said to have indicated that the orders came from above.

WOZA, a women’s movement identify electricity supply as directly targeting the role of a woman in the home. As a result WOZA have lobbied the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for close on 5 years to provide an affordable and regular service. A multi faceted protest strategy is used peacefully targeting local and city based company officials.

These arrests follow  a 10th May protest to the Bulawayo electricity power station to launched a 6 week ‘Power to Poor People’ Campaign to ‘discipline’ the ZETDC for its daylight robbery to consumers. Members are also continuing to engage suburban office of the power company with consumer deputations to deliver ‘yellow cards’ with their demands.

The campaign demands are:
1. Stop cheating fixed meter consumers, we demand prepaid meters.
2. Please provide cheaper firewood, candles and matches, we do not want to destroy our environment by cutting down trees.
3. We are tired of 18 hour power cuts -provide proper timetables of load shedding.
4. Urgently put in place a proper and transparent billing system. Stop sending metered consumer’s estimates, send ACTUAL bills.
5. Create a smoother process of customer’s claims for  compensation.
6. Review recruitment policy and bring salaries to decent levels with our current economic record. Professionalise staff performance and honesty. No more luxury cars we need transformers.
7. We will record the exact hours we receive electricity for the last 2 weeks of May while we get petition signatures which we will take to Parliament and demand they review your monopoly and poor service. You have cheated us for long enough, after we submit our demand to parliament we will organise a RED card Campaign. Be warned POWER TO THE POOR – ZERO service ZERO bill. HOKOYO!!

The campaign includes obtaining signatures to a petition dubbed the ‘Anti Abuse of Power’ Petition; completing of a time sheet of power cuts and the delivering of a ‘yellow card’ to the company.   WOZA has campaigned for affordable and available electricity since 2006 with its ‘power to the people’ campaigns. In response to a campaign demand the company have just advertise power cut schedules but have indicated that there will be longer cuts as this is winter in Zimbabwe.

Please help save our activists from torture by calling +263 9 403996 up to 8 speak to Assistant Inspector Purazeni,  the officer-in-charge at Western Commonage police station or call the Law and Order Dept on +263 9 72515. Please remind them to conform to international standards of detention and ask them to allow WOZA members to lobby for and power for all to enjoy.

Note: A ‘Deputation’ or Delegation is one of the forms of nonviolent direct action from the 198 methods authored by scholar Gene Sharp. Members met and select a smaller group to ‘represent’ them in delivering their demands to an official of an organisation viewed as violating people rights.

Police bash activists demanding an end to abuse of power

At noon, five processions began with approximately 2 000 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise; all five protests were disturbed by riot police officers who indiscriminately beat the peaceful activists. The small group who had made it to the Lobengula Street office of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) managed to deliver the yellow cards to the door but police quickly ran to beat them. WOZA leaders are still confirming that no arrests have been made and that the injured have all been assessed and attended. Six members have already attended the WOZA triage team to receive medication but the team are following up on an estimated 40 members who were witnessed being beaten.

One of the injured is Jenni Williams who managed to make it to the office entrance. In an obviously racial targeting, every time other members crossed the road to join Williams at the office steps, police officers ran to beat them trying to make sure they would not manage to congregate. At this time, members started to sing Mapurisa; Musandishungurudze (police officers do not harass us)

Seeing that police were intend preventing a gathering on the steps, a huge group of members managed to regroup a block away and made a fast seven city block dash for the fife street office of ZETDC. At this office, the peaceful protest occupied the front entrance causing the security guards, one armed to lock the door. The hundreds of frustrated activists spent 20 minutes toyi toying (danced) and sang – ZESA Into oyenzayo siyayizonda  – (ZESA we hate this thing you are doing). Members were dispersed with a speech by Magodonga Mahlangu who told people that police had beaten members at the main ZETDC office so we had to relocate to this office to call on ZETDC to provide prepaid meters and stop disconnecting people.

The police officers left behind at the Lobengula street office were shortly joined by a contingent of 30 riot police helmets and shields displayed only to find the protest had relocated down town.

The office staff, were heard to support the solution of prepaid meters, one officer asked why the Riot police had disturbed their visitors who had a genuine grievance.  Many bystanders joined the protest upon hearing that the issue was related to electricity. There was a general booing of the police for beating the women when they are also affected by the power cuts.

The load shedding schedule means that most people cannot get their rest as the electricity comes from 10pm to 3am. Most areas of Bulawayo have not had electricity from 5am this morning and many go for days without power or reduction of their bills.

This protest signals the beginning of a 6 week ‘Power to Poor People’ Campaign to discipline the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for daylight robbery. Along with a protest launch, the campaign will feature the signing of a petition dubbed the ‘Anti Abuse of Power’ Petition; completing of a time sheet of power cuts and the delivering of a ‘yellow card’ to the company.   WOZA has campaigned for affordable and available electricity since 2006 with its ‘power to the people’ campaigns. It is also hoped that today’s protest will put pressure on the company to stop disconnections until they are able to deliver a better service to their customers.

Demands are:                                                                                                                                                    1. Stop cheating fixed meter consumers, we demand prepaid meters.
2. Please provide cheaper firewood, candles and matches, we do not want to destroy our environment by cutting down trees.
3. We are tired of 18 hour power cuts -provide proper timetables of load shedding.
4. Urgently put in place a proper and transparent billing system. Stop sending metered consumer’s estimates, send ACTUAL bills.

5. Create a smoother process of customer’s claims for compensation.

6. Review recruitment policy and bring salaries to decent levels with our current economic record. Professionalise staff performance and honesty. No more luxury cars we need transformers.
7. We will record the exact hours we receive electricity for the last 2 weeks of May while we get petition signatures which we will take to Parliament and demand they review your monopoly and poor service. You have cheated us for long enough, after we submit our demand to parliament we will organise a RED card Campaign. Be warned POWER TO THE POOR – ZERO service ZERO bill. HOKOYO!!

Last year, the response of the company was to have their security arrest WOZA leaders who spent 6 days in custody, 3 of those days the Independence Holiday.
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Ten members arrested in three batches from 28 February to 7 March who were tortured in custody had charges withdrawn before plea by the state at 8:30 am on 10 May when they appeared at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court. Inside sources confirm that the state decided to respect a Supreme Court ruling obtained by Williams and Mahlangu for a 2008 arrest. The ruling granted that the two women had been wrongfully arrested and detained and, as a result, had their rights and fundamental freedoms violated. The full bench of the Supreme Court also found that the state had failed to protect the activists from this abuse.  The two had spent 3 weeks in Mlondolozi Prison after a peaceful protest. Yellow card link – http://wozazimbabwe.org

/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/yellow-card-zesa-2011.pdf Petition link – http://wozazimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/may-2011-petition1.pdf Time sheet link – http://wozazimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/power-cut-time-sheet1.pdf