Bulawayo members to march 13Feb2015

Zimbabwe joins citizens of the world in commemorating Valentine’s Day, a day to give each other a red rose that represents LOVE. Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members, the majority of them are women and some brave men are still drawing attention to the need for LOVE in Zimbabwe.
The love WOZA members wants is LOVE that brings dignity.
Dignity will help us rebuild our lives and our country.
Dignity also comes from Zimbabweans being able to exercise and enjoy all their rights including the right to earn a living.
This year our theme is – Demanding Dignity – Demanding Women’s Empowerment!
These are the roses we want from our Government!

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members have been conducting Valentine’s Day marches since 2003 demanding LOVE from their Government and asking Zimbabweans to chose LOVE over hate. After 13 years of Valentine’s Day marches, we still need and want the same things.

While we recognise progress it is only words and no deeds to match these high and mighty words.
1. The election promise was one million jobs but lip service was not followed up by the promised jobs. Members continued to try to survive by informal trading.
2. Members thought the ZimAsset would bring jobs, but the document once again lifted our expectations only to crash them down. The very people who wrote the document are ignoring it and enriching themselves.
3. The Constitution has a good complement of the issues we wanted, including the right to earn a living and the right to protest but we are tired of hearing that they are still aligning the laws. Stop making excuses and let us enjoy our Constitution.
4. Even the latest monetary policy is full of promises for empowerment, will these promises be delivered?

WOZA has been busy conducting civic education programmes for members to ready themselves for socio-economic empowerment – we are marching now to say we are ready to receive rapid empowerment.
We have read the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe ‘Chapter 2-National objectives’, sections 13 on National development , 14 on Empowerment and employment and section 15 on Food security and Chapter 4 section 51 – right to human dignity’. We understand that the word ‘Republic’ means –
A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them.

We – the supreme citizens – elected representatives who immediately forgot about us. They squabble amongst themselves occasionally sending nonsensical directives like introducing prepaid water meters and removal of vendors from the streets. Chombo where is the directive to create jobs? Instead you order the City council to chase vendors off the streets. Mr Chombo enough is enough with your nonsense please reread the national objectives and put Zimbabweans – women – first.

Whilst members wait for the promised jobs, they survive on informal trade which is their source of livelihood and disregarding this survival strategy will increase poverty. Members stated that through vending they are able to feed their families, educate their children, clothe them and pay rent for a decent standard of living. The solutions are clear and known – but lack implementation – the root cause of prolific informal trading is lack of employment. Directives issued that only address the effects – informal traders everywhere – will not fix the problem.

As the supreme citizens, we demand our elected leaders convene an urgent country wide consultation to map a collective way forward on how to create one million jobs and revamp the economy putting women and youth at the centre of the economic empowerment action plan.

WOZA members in Bulawayo Water Rights March

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members are to participate in a ‘Right to Water’ civic society organised coalition march at 10am friday 14 november 2014 in Bulawayo. The march will start at the Egodini bus terminus and end at the city Hall. The City Mayor is expected to address participants along with civic society leaders.

The march focus is against the installation of prepaid water meters which Civic Society leaders view as a violation of the international instruments covering the right to water. The march sees the launch of a petition drive for residents of the city to get council to reverse the decision to install prepaid meters.

Bulawayo Residents Right to Water Campaign – SAY NO to Prepaid Water Meters Petition

In late 2013, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) revealed that it would be introducing prepaid water meters as a means of water management in Bulawayo, with the concept set to be piloted in Cowdray Park’s Hlalani Kuhle area. With prepaid water meters, people pay for water up-front before accessing it, in the same manner that they purchase airtime first before being able to make calls. Research by Bulawayo civic society organisations found that prepaid water meters are unworkable in poor communities such as Cowdray Park, and indeed anywhere else in Zimbabwe due to the current economic situation. They would inevitably lead to residents consuming less water than they need for a healthy life, leading to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera. Consultations have also revealed that the majority of residents of Bulawayo are against the move. BPRA in association with several CSOs in Bulawayo is thus carrying out a Right to Water Campaign, which among other things seeks to compel the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to reverse its decision to install prepaid water meters.

• The BCC resolution seems at odds with the new constitutional dispensation which reads – every person has a right to A) safe, clean and potable water B) sufficient food. These two points are interlinked as the one feeds the other and help people survive!
• Pre paid meters will destroy the spirit of “ubuntu” as people will no-longer be free to share water – this is a taboo in our culture.
Sign this petition and JOIN the campaign for the RIGHT TO WATER. Together we can make BULAWAYO CITY COUNCIL (BCC) REVERSE its decision to install prepaid water meters.

CHECK OUT THE MARCH PHOTOS AT facebook.com/woza.zimbabwe

Constitutional Court Hearing set for 1 October 2014

WHRD Alert – Miriam ordered to Byo central

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) received a call from a member, Miriam Dlamini in Makokoba, Bulawayo to report that 3 plain clothed police officers from the Law and Order Department of Bulawayo Central police station arrived at her home at 10am 12 June 2014. The officers were lead by one identified as Nyandende, mobile number +263 772 306 699.

The officers found her children playing outside and told them they wanted to search for ‘iSitshebo’ (relish or food. Also a slang term for someone who needs to be killed). The children told them they only have food in the fridge, but the officers insisted to enter without showing a warrant. They proceeded to search the home indiscriminately and finding no ‘food’ they took 3 booklets entitled ‘Building Democracy with WOZA’ from her book shelf. Their manner harassing, they asked for Miriam’s phone number. They subsequently called to harass Miriam demanding her attendance at Bulawayo Central within 30 mins.

Miriam is enroute there with a representative of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and WOZA is concerned at to how she will be treated or what the case could be about. Miriam has previously been arrested and is one of 13 members who were subjected to tribal insults and dumped at the cemetery during a peaceful protest about water shortages.

As this is the notorious Law and Order department who do not do health inspection for food on premises, WOZA assume this is harassment related to the recent Constitutional Court victory. WOZA leaders Williams, Mahlangu, Manjengwa and Madukani took the Ministry of Home Affairs, police commissioner and attorney general to court for conditions in Harare police cells.

WOZA scores another Supreme Court win

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders arrested in April 2010 took a challenge against the state on intolerable conditions they were kept under for 5 days. On 5 June 2014 the judgement was finally delivered by Justice Ziyambi in Harare. The court directed the first (Co-Ministers of Home Affairs) and second respondents (Police Commissioner and Attorney General) to
‘take all necessary steps and measures within their powers to ensure that at Harare Central Police Station
a) All holding cells shall have clean and salubrious flushing toilets with toilet paper and washing bowl.
b) The flushing toilets to be cordoned off from the main cell to ensure privacy.
c) A good standard of hygiene shall be maintained in the holding cells.
d) Every person detained in police custody overnight shall be furnished with a clean mattress and adequate blankets.
e) Adequate bathing facilities shall be provided for all persons detained in police custody overnight.
f) Every person detained shall have access at all times to wholesome drinking water from a source other than the tap above the toilet.
g) Women detained in police custody shall be allowed to keep their undergarments including brassieres, and to wear suitable footwear.
Whilst WOZA members morale is boosted, members will celebrate when these conditions are a lived reality.

WOZA would like to acknowledge the courage of the four members – Jennifer Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Celina Madukani and Clara Manjengwa for taking this case and remaining committed to defending women’s rights.
WOZA pay tribute to Advocate Lewis Uriri and Dzimbabwe Chimbga and Bellinda Chinowawa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for legal support and for believing that members rights had been violated and seeing the case through over the last 4 years.
Joint Statement ZLHR and WOZA WOZA_ZLHR Joint Press Statement On ConCourt Judgment

Ruling copy Supreme Court ruling on Conditions Case – JLW&Others vs State (note poor copy)

Report on police station inspection and background http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1275

Huge amount of Police deployed fail to stop WOZA members march for love

Anti riot Police deployed here, there and everywhere at street corners, attempt to disturb the Bulawayo Valentine’s Day protest. The police officers actively chased women away from each other as they tried to gather. A further two landrover vehicles with over 10 officers also drove helter skelter jumping from their truck to scatter groups of women. A 8 tonne truck was also stationed in Herbert Chitepo Street with a contingent of officers jumping in and out of the vehicle to scatter women.

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, on foot to participate in the protest were followed by a double cab with 6 officers from the law and order department. These officers took countless pictures and video footage of the 2 leaders as they awaited the 1115am start time at one of the start point. They then followed the protest taking footage of the whole activity.

As Williams and Mahlangu started the protest the 8 tonne truck made a show of trying to bump the activists attempting to open the banner. The drive also kept hooting to try to disturb them. Eventually a sufficient number of members drew close enough so that the protest march could move towards the government complex, Mhlahlandlela. Once the protest started, many police officers were looking down at their shoes, embarrassed at their previous behaviour. The big truck drove away leaving the peaceful protest. Two other protests, one near the High Court and another in Joshua Nkomo Street managed to start and proceed without disturbance. All three protest groups with over 1250 members finally arrived at the government complex.

A police cordon at the entrance of the Mhlahlandlela Government complex blocked the activists from delivering the petition to the Resident minister Eunice Moyo. The protest programme continued. Four leaders, including Williams and Mahlangu made pavement speeches citing the reasons for the protest and made demands for free primary school education delivered by 30 December 2014. As the speeches were about to come to an end, two over 80 year old grandmothers, took the floor to tell the police that ‘they did not want to be herded like cattle as they dispersed’.

After the closing slogan – umkhonto wo thando – Zhii (the love spear rules), Williams and Mahlangu led the crowd in dispersing, toward the nearby bus terminus to catch their commuter buses home. A small delay in the crowd dispersal occurred when two police trucked blocked the road near Ross Camp, the provincial headquarters of the police. This caused the members to have to walk around the trucks to get to commuter ranks.

WOZA leaders decry the waste of resources used to deploy over 150 police officers from early morning, to monitor and disturb peaceful women from handing out roses and constitution pocket books to Bulawayo residents. “There is a severe shortage of police officers to do the work of arresting criminals and investigating looters of public funds. However police officers are never in short supply when there are peaceful women exercising their democratic rights by marching to ask for love or demanding that constitution be activated”. Said WOZA National coordinator Jenni Williams

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.
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See the full report on our website at the following link

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.