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Kidnap and Theft Charges

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Leaders Williams and Mahlangu appeared before Magistrate Sengweni on 3rd February 2012 for continueation of Trial.

The Defense team now including Advocate Perpetua Dube and Kossam Ncube applied for the matter to be ‘stayed’ pending the outcome of a  review of the Magistrates decision to refuse discharge. The review process was submitted on 1st February to the High Court in Bulawayo.

Despite the state prosecutor declining to oppose the stay of trial proceedings, Magistrate Sengweni indicated he had no power to stay proceedings and that the defense team could apply for same to the High court. He remanded the two activits to 28 February 2012.

The defence team will prepare documentation necessary. Herewith the Summary of Jurisdiction and the Summary of Case. Summary of Jurisdiction and Case, Application for Review Magistrate Sengweni – Case Williams and Mahlangu.

Magistrate refuses to drop Criminal Nuisance charges

Magistrate Vivian Ndlovu rules that Williams and 9 other members charged with Criminal Nuisance must face trial. The Magistrate surprisingly did not address key issues in the application covering right to query placement on remand and the fact that the charges have constitutional implications and are in direct contravention of a landmark Supreme court ruling. see http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1181

This ruling follows an application by the defense for refusal of further remand. She also ordered a Court visit to Bulawayo central police station for an investigation into the complaints leveled against the police by the activists.

The activists have briefed Defense lawyer and Zimbabwe Lawyer for Human Rights chief legal officer, Lizwe Jamela to prepare an application to the Supreme Court questioning the basis for these charges which are in violation of the Supreme Court ruling obtained for a 2008 arrest by WOZA leaders Williams and Mahlangu.

Meanwhile the High Court has set down for 15 March 2012 an urgent application for stay of trial proceedings in the case kidnap and theft charges faced by Williams and Mahlangu. The Defense team must seek a further postponement of the Trial proceedings which were due to recommence on 12 March 2012. Application for refusal of remand— Jenni and others (High Court called and further postponed the hearing to 19 March 2012 as they have civic matters to deal with!)

Breaking News 100 Members Arrested in Bulawayo

OVER 100 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are in custody at Bulawayo Central Police station, many are handcuffed in violation of women’s right protocols. Riot Police ran wildly around the Main Street and 8th Avenue intersection on orders of their Officer Commanding Bulawayo who was present to demand they arrest members.

Lawyers have been denied access on three separate occasions. Those in custody include WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu, three minor children who are not members of WOZA and 3 breastfeeding mothers in custody. WOZA national coordinator Jenni Williams was not arrested.

Ten protests were due to start at 11am Wednesday 27 June 2012 but Riot police had already arrested 40 members and by-standers by 10:30am. Only 3 of the ten protests made it to the sit-in location will be the road surrounding the space where the memorial statue of late Joshua Nkomo should be.

Four additional protests were conducted after 11:30 am marching from the Statue to the Bulawayo Central Police station. Riot police were deployed to refuse them entry into the police station and threatened to beat them before dispersing them from handing themselves in.

The protest were organised to push for the release of a draft Constitution in a Bulawayo sit-in protest. WOZA are using this occupation style of protest to demand their full right to peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and expression. 1000 members were expected to participate in the sit-in.

Members were singing a popular song sung in the early 1980s. It is sung in isiNdebele language – ‘ilitshe likaNkomo limbomboziwe, liyovulwa ngubani, limbomboziwe? (Loosely translated it means Nkomos ‘stone’ denoting a plan has been hidden or turned upside down, who is going to put it right?)

The choice of location is to expose the disrespect to late Joshua Nkomo, called ‘Father Zimbabwe’. He came from a crop of genuine nationalist and he remains unrecognised. The block of cement ‘statue’ and airport named after him and a brand new unopened hospital are caught up in centralised power struggles – not one of them finished. Devolution in the new constitution would mean we can recognise our own heroes in our own way as the sit-in attempts to do. WOZA also wanted to focus on him. He was the kind of unique politician who could develop clear ideology with people at heart. The current batch of politicians seem empty minded and recycle Zanu PF political cultures. In the end Nkomo put peoples welfare before his political ambition and surrendered his party ZAPU to Zanu violence. A mistake that can never be repeated again as people must decide their own destiny and refuse to be silenced by violence.

An account of my experience in police custody by AB

On the 23rd April at 10 am I and other members of WOZA and MOZA gathered at Kuwadzana 2 ZESA sub office to submit and complain about unplanned power cuts and extra high electricity bills. The peaceful demonstration then started and we raised our papers and banners written our concern about the treatment from ZESA. This only took between 5-10 minutes before police pounced on us.

Three police constables on bicycles were the first to order us to sit down but we were already seated. Then about five more armed policemen arrived and fired a gunshot in the air ordering everybody to hold each other’s hands and march to the police station. On the way I was beaten on my back because I was moving slowly. On arrival in the police station we were told to sit down on an open space and they started taking down our names first with males then followed by females numbering 20 and 36 respectively then 4 children of between 6 months to 2 years.

At 3pm we then left to Central Police station boarding a police open truck escorted by three officers armed with AK 47 guns. At the station we were taken to Law and Order section. In the room which was too small for our number, there were 4 detectives who started interrogating us and threatening us saying you will rot in jail for six months, you will not make it to the 2008 March and for those who do not have babies this day from here you will not bare children and a lot of abusive language.

One detective Chari entered the room holding a baton stick beating everyone on our back including old women who were with us. He started asking questions like, who is the leader of the group? Who was holding the banner? The surprising response to them, there was no one who answered. Thanks to our unity. He continued again beating everybody. Our lady Ndlovu was made to stand up to answer these questions again but she said nothing, she was beaten heavily on her hips and back. On that occasion a junior officer was walking around stepping on our back and buttocks with heavy shoes asking – Did you ever read this paper? When it was my turn he pressed me on my genital organs forcing me to tell him but I told him I don’t know. It was a terrible and disgusting experience for me that even I am psychologically affected.

After the beatings we were taken in two halves to the cells but we were beaten each by a lady when leaving the room. Thanks to WOZA Organisation, which offered us supper during that terrible night. In the cells we were overpopulated others have to sleep in the passage, which was used as a urinary since there were fewer toilets to service all of us. In the morning we were selected from other people at 9 am our food that day was bananas and bread we consumed that time. The detectives from Law and Order were already waiting for us and forcing us to eat faster than normal. They led us back to their rooms again then one named Djemba Djemba started threatening us saying “now is D-Day for you. Everyone has to say the truth because we are going to pin you, those without children you wouldn’t have one.”

They separated us by dividing with those with money to pay fines of $2500 to go to Room 22 and those who didn’t have left behind. I was among those who have got the fine but we were few about 20. In room 22 we were interviewed by 2 male officers and I lady. Their questions were asking for Address/Political affiliation/Home/ Village/ Friends/ occupation and leaders of WOZA who everybody said we don’t know where they live. During that interview Detective Chari entered went straight to the ladies beating them amongst them a child who was on the back of her mother. He did 2 turns on everyone. He started threatening us saying, “Now we’ve got your names. We will follow up each one of you those who gave us false addresses if we caught you then it will be your last breath and that 2008 you wrote here its unfortunate because all of you are not getting there”. After paying our fines it was surprising to our charge. They charged us with “Disorderly conduct in a public place” without specification what kind of disorder we were doing. The charge is only payable by fine as to what was earlier suggested under Public Order Security Act (POSA).

Another who acts like a senior came and said I have got time I should have dumped you in Beitbridge then I will see how will you come back and support WOZA again. He forced us to tell and say we will have to forget that name WOZA and if you hear it you will run away. But to our unity none of us denounce, blame and accuse our beloved WOZA Organisation rather we get united throughout the ill treatment they gave us. At 2pm we were released but leaving others who were said to be beaten again. From the Central station our leaders were there gave us our lunch and took us to the hospital. There myself I was taken and interviewed. The doctors were hardworking and asked to tell everywhere were I feel pain. I was given tablets of different types and ones, which were to treat my genitals, which were in very strong pain from that officer who kicked.

I wish to thank WOZA/MOZA Organisation who took responsibility of our welfare from food, supper, breakfast and lunch during these two traumatizing days. At the hospital we were treated accordingly and by now I feeling back to normal only my skin itching from bedbugs and lice from the cells, which sucked my blood.

Woza Moya – Shona edition – May 2007

Kutaura nenyaya yenhaurirano – mawonero eWOZA nenzira – gumi dzekupinda muZimbabwe itsva

WOZA yaiverenga nekunzwa nezvenhaurirano inodawo kutaura mafungiro ayo.

Chekutanga, tinoda kuziva kuti chinangwa chemutungamiri weSouth Africa Thabo Mbeki, newe Tanzania Kikwete nehama dzedu dzeSADC vanoda kuburitsa chii panhaurirano iyi. Kuvapo kwavo kunounza hurumende itsva here pasina zvemetongerwo enyika, upfumi nekugara kwakanaka kana kuti chinangwa chavo chinoreva zvimwe zvinopfuura izvi kana kuti tivati vayananisi vechokwadi. Hurumende iripo inofanira kurega hurongwa uhu huchienderera mberi pasina kuviringidzwa uye kuti ibve pachigaro kutendera hurumende itsva. Ticharamba tichivakurudzira kuti vaite izvi kuti tiwane mukana wekupinda muZimbabwe itsva, vanhu veZimbabwe vachagara vachifara vakaenzana uye vane rukudzo.

Chinangwa chedu ndechei sevanhu veZimbabwe vakatakura mitoro inorema tichikundikana kurarama?

Chinangwa chedu chingatsanangudzwa nenzira iyi. Tinoziva pane moto uye kuti pane poto irikufashaira iripo. Hatina kubvunzwa chekubika neachadya chikafu chacho kana chaibva. Takamirira kudaidzwa kuti tigowane chikafu, tiri mubishi kutsvaga huni nekudziunza pamoto kuitira kuti avo vari kubika vaone kukuchidzira moto, kuitira kuti kana watanga kubvira dzinenge dziri huni dzedu dzaita kuti ubvire zvakare kuitira kuti poto irambe ichifashaira. Kana chikafu chapera kubikwa tichakumbira nzvimbo patafura kuti tigowane chikafu chabikwa nehuni dzedu. Kana chikafu chakabikwa zvakaipa, ticharamba kudya, tokumbira nzira imwe iri nani yokubika tovayeuchidza kuti vanamai ndivo vanogona kubika chikafu chinogara chichirangarirwa!

Tinogona kuenderera mberi tichiti, avo vari kuyananisa munhaurirano nevematongerwo enyika vari mazviri, vanofanira kunge vachifunga zvakashandiswa pakubika chikafu kuti chive chakanaka nekufarirwa nevanhu vese vemuZimbabwe:

1. Mhirizhonga munzira dzose inofanira kumira kutendera nhaurirano kuti pamwe ingapodza zviri kuitika.
2. Vose vane chekuita mumusangano uyu vanofanira kubvunzwa nevamwewo vachipawo pfungwa dzavo vakaita sevanotevera: vose vematongerwo enyika, mapoka anozvimirira, machechi, vashandi, vemabhizinisi, vechidiki nemadzimai, vose vachiwana zvakayenzana. Chinangwa chiri chekuti panoitwa nhaurirano paiswe vanofanomirira kuchigadziriswa bumbiro. Vamiriri ava vanofanira kutambira zvinotevera:
3. Kutora masimba ezvemitemo toenda kune vasinga kwanisi kutaura zvavanofunga uye kuita misangano yakaita sePOSA nemukana yekuva neruzivo nekuchengetedza zvakavanzika (AIPPA). Tinoti ngazvipere zvekusarudza mitemo.
4. Kuita wongororo yevashandi vehurumende, magweta, nevezvemitemo nezveruzivo rwavo nevasinei nezvematongerwo enyika. Vanobatikana vanofanira kuendeswa kunodzidziswa kana kunobvunzuridzwa, vanoona nezvekuchengetedzwa kwemitemo, mapurisa nevechidiki vanofanira kubviswa voendeswa kunzvimbo yavanofanira kunge vari.
5. Totangisa kudzorera venharaunda dzekunze kwenyika netarisiro yekudzosera upfumi kuita kuti mabasa awande.
6. Kuita wongororo yeivhu kuti kugadzwe zvino zvisingazobviswe kuitira kupedza dambudziko rekushaikwa kwechikafu.
7. Kugadzirisa kunyorwa kwebumbiro kusanganisira hurumende yenguvarefu tichibvunza vanhu vese veZimbabwe vari muno nevari kunze.
8. Kwava kutora zvabuda pabumbiro remutemo nehurumende yenguvarefu toisa mumagwaro anotungamirwa uyezve akawongororwa neSADC.
9. Kugadzira sarudzo kusanganisira kumahofisi evanopa zvitupa, kugadzira mutemo mutsva wekuvhota, kusarudza akazvimirira kukomiti yesarudzo kuti igadzirire bhuku rine vanhu vanovhota nekugadzirira kunovhota. Tinenge tava kuti kuna Tobaiwa Mudede nehuori hwake zvatibva.
10. Toona kuti sarudzo dzaitwa zviri pamutemo weSADC nyika dzemhiri kwemakungwa nedzakatikomberedza nevatarisi vemuno. Vamiriri ndivo vanozotaura vanenge vakunda pasarudzo.

“Ngatisanamatire kuti ndidzivirirwe pangozi asi ndinamatire kuti ndive nechivindi chekutarisana nengozi. Ngandisa kumbire kuti ndinzwe kurwadziwa asi ndikumbire moyo wokuti ndikunde kurwadziwa.” Rabindranath Tagore

Nzira Dzokuratidzira Murunyararo
* Hatizombofi takakuwadza munhu uyezve hatimbofi takadzosera mhirizhonga.
* Tichava nekuvimbika tichabata munhu wese zvakanaka zvikuru seyi ezvemutemo.
* Tichabudisa pachena mawonero edu uye hatizombochengeti zvigumbu.
* Tichacherechedza munhu wese nekupa rubatsiro
* Sevachengeti verunyararo tichacherechedza vamwe mumhirizhonga iyi.
* Panguva yekuratidzira hatizombofi takamhanya kana kuyita mayitiro akashata achavundutsa vanhu.
* Kana tikawana varatidziri vachivundutsira vamwe tichapindira toyita runyararo. Kana varatidziri vakaita mirizhonga tinoregera kuyendamberi.
* Hatibe kana kuparadza midziyo yevanhu.
* Hatitombofi takatakurazvombo.
ü Hatizombofi takatakura zvinodaka kanamishonga kunze kwemishonga yekurapa vanonga vakwara.
* Tichachengetedza mitemo yedu nevamwe varatidziri kana pakavanekusa bvumirana tichaparadzana.
* Tichabvumirana kuti tisave nemhirizhonga, hatimbofi takanyepa.

Kana muchibvumirana nenzira dzekuyita murunyararo uyezve muchida kubatana neWOZA tumirayi matsamba enyu pa P. O. Box FM 701 Famona Bulawayo. Utiwudze kuti uriani uyezve chii Chirikuita kuti ubatane neWOZA. Nyorayi nerurimi rwamunonzwisisa. Motitumira kero yenyu nechitamba kuyitira kuti tikutumidzireyi (Sisterhood Promise) mukango bvuma mashandiro edu tichakutumidzirai kadi rinoratidza kuti mava mumwe wedu.

Williams and Mahlangu spend third night in custody

Two WOZA members, arrested on Wednesday, are spending a third night in custody. They are expected to appear in court tomorrow morning at 9am. It is believed that they are also being charged under Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) as read with Section 2(v) of the schedule to the Criminal Code – ‘interfering with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or creating a nuisance or obstruction’, the same as the other activists.

They were allowed food at dinnertime with no interference and the members who took in the food report that they are in good spirits. WOZA activists will maintain a vigil outside Bulawayo Central Police Station through the night to ensure that they come to no harm however.

The five members who were released today at lunchtime received medical treatment for their injuries, mostly soft tissue bruising. One member related how she was beaten with baton sticks by several police officers, including across the breasts. She is in severe pain and doctors are worried that some of the lesions may form into abscesses. Another member, who was not arrested, needed to receive specialist treatment this afternoon and will need to have an operation tomorrow. She was kicked in the groin by booted police officers on Wednesday and is bleeding heavily.

With the release of the women, we have been able to learn much more about conditions in the cells. The women related how officers threw bucket loads of water into the cells every day, forcing them to spend the entire time on wet concrete. In the middle of a cold Bulawayo winter, the group of seven was also only given two blankets in total. As a result, many of the women are suffering from cold symptoms.

The group of seven was also kept in a cell by themselves, away from the other women prisoners. It is suspected that this was to prevent the WOZA activists from teaching their fellow detainees about their rights and recruiting them to join the nonviolent struggle for social justice in Zimbabwe! It is believed that Williams and Mahlangu are currently being held in a cell with other women however.

News update
Friday 8th June – 2.30pm

There is still extreme concern for the well being of Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu. They are still being detained without charge and police are planning to apply for a warrant of further detention. Lawyers are being told that they will be taken to court tomorrow.

However as Law and Order officers have directly threatened these two, telling them that they will be taken to Harare and detained and tortured, WOZA does not believe that their safety can be maintained during those 24 hours. We also believe that it is just a tactic to keep them in custody until Monday

The other five members were released at lunchtime. They were taken to court but did not appear before the magistrate. Police were instructed to proceed by way of summons.

News update
Friday 8th June – 10.30am

URGENT APPEAL – CONCERN FOR MAHLANGU AND WILLIAMS

Five of the seven WOZA members being held at Bulawayo Central Police Station have finally been charged. These members had been arrested at the demonstration and have been charged under Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) as read with Section 2(v) of the schedule to the Criminal Code – ‘employs any means whatsoever which are likely materially to interfere with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the public, or does any act which is likely to create a nuisance or obstruction’. They are currently being taken to court.

Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, who handed themselves in to the police station in solidarity, have not yet been fingerprinted or had their statements taken. Police are refusing to allow the lawyers access to them. It is also not clear what these two will be charged with. There is concern that police may try to detain these two further or take this opportunity to carry out their death threats on the two WOZA activists. Lawyers are making an urgent high court application for their release.

Please keep calling Bulawayo Central Police Station on +263 9 72515 / 61706 to demand that Williams and Mahlangu be released immediately and not be harmed.

101 arrested members relased by 6pm Wednesday 27June2011

The Police Commissioner must investigate Bulawayo Police Officers for overzealousness
ONE HUNDRED and one members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) arrested between 10:30 and 11:30 am on 27 June Wednesday 2012 were release in batches of 5 from 4:30pm yesterday. The police adopted this release strategy to prevent a further protest being conducted if they released everyone at once. Magodonga Mahlangu was the last to be released at 5:30pm.

During the 6 hours in detention, the 101 activists had to fight for every right to be observed by singing protest songs bringing work in the police station to a stand still for most of the day. When arresting details tried to separate and interrogate some of them hoping to release others and remain with a token amount to formally charge. They refused singing a protest song. They sang to demand their lawyer Kossam Ncube get access after he was denied access 3 times.

The police refused to allow the lawyer to oversee the release but agreed that the feeding team stand at his office which is opposite and give food to those being dispersed. This went on smoothly for the first 30 minutes with Riot police officers watching. Then orders were given by another commanding officer for the snatching of the food from the feeding team which included Jennifer Williams. Two officers one plain clothed arrived and snatched two boxes with drinks in and left refusing to explain to the activists. Meanwhile the police officer coordinating the release process was surprised and accompanied by Magodonga Mahlangu went in search of the stolen loot.  Confusion prevailed as to who had ordered the looting and Mahlangu refused to accept the food. To cover up the mess, Orders were given to deploy 100 (this figure is not an exaggeration) Riot police to go and arrest Jennifer Williams and the other members of the feeding team.

When Magodonga Mahlangu was released she was followed by plain clothed police officers expecting her to lead them to Jennifer Williams. The two spent the next 3 hours evading unnecessary arrest.

WOZA wish to highlight that even though no charges were made and the activist released without being beaten, their right to peaceful process protected under the current shambolic constitution were effectively denied. To WOZA members this is crime is unforgivable. Additionally the different responses between Riot police in Harare and Bulawayo is cause for concern. We call upon the Police Commissioner to investigate the police command in Bulawayo and discipline them for breaking the law covering the dispersal of peaceful protest.

Police disrupted the protests that were due to start at 11am Wednesday 27 June 2012 by arresting 40 members and by-standers from 10:20am. Magodonga Mahlangu and 2 others were arrested at the statue and 57 members marched with them to the police station bringing the number arrested to 101. With three of each being male, breastfeeding mothers and minors. Two additional protests marched from the statue to the police station to hand themselves in but were turned away by Riot police.

The protest were organised to push for the release of a draft Constitution in a Bulawayo sit-in protest. WOZA are using this occupation style of protest to demand their full right to peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and expression.

Members were singing a popular song sung in the early 1980s. It is sung in isiNdebele language – ‘ilitshe likaNkomo limbomboziwe, liyovulwa ngubani, limbomboziwe? (Loosely translated it means Nkomos ‘stone’ denoting a plan has been hidden or turned upside down, who is going to put it right?)

The choice of location is to expose the disrespect to late Joshua Nkomo, called ‘Father Zimbabwe’. He came from a crop of genuine nationalist and he remains unrecognised. The block of cement ‘statue’ and airport named after him and a brand new unopened hospital are caught up in centralised power struggles – not one of them finished. Devolution in the new constitution would mean we can recognise our own heroes in our own way as the sit-in attempts to do. WOZA also wanted to focus on him. He was the kind of unique politician who could develop clear ideology with people at heart. The current batch of politicians seem empty minded and recycle Zanu PF political cultures. In the end Nkomo put peoples’ welfare before his political ambition and surrendered his party ZAPU to Zanu violence. A mistake that can never be repeated again as people must decide their own destiny and refuse to be silenced by violence.