Category Archives: Uncategorized

Seven WOZA members spend second night in custody

The seven members arrested yesterday in Bulawayo are spending a second night in custody. Their lawyers were denied access to the group all day and they still have not received medical treatment. Food was allowed in this evening under the escort of the lawyer. It is still not clear what the group will be charged with but it is hoped that they will be taken to court in the morning.

Please keep calling Bulawayo Central Police Station on +263 9 72515 / 61706 to demand that the women be allowed access to their lawyers and to medical treatment.

News update
Thursday 7th – 1.30pm

The seven members arrested yesterday remain in custody at Bulawayo Central. Lawyers have been denied access to their clients this morning and police are refusing to discuss possible charges or the possibility of being taken to court. The 11am deadline for court submissions has passed and therefore the group will not be taken to court today.

Two of the members in custody were badly beaten during their arrest and are in a lot of pain. As the lawyer has been denied access to them, they have not received any medical treatment. Food has also been denied this lunchtime, although there were no problems taking in food at breakfast or dinner last night.

At least 20 members have sought medical attention for the beatings they received yesterday. Most injuries involve soft-tissue bruising; no severe injuries have been reported as yet. Many of these members have testified that as they were being beaten, police were telling them that police do not want to arrest WOZA members any more as they are too troublesome. It is their intention to ‘just beat them’.

Williams and Mahlangu appear in court; ruling to be made tomorrow

WOZA members, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, appeared in remand court this morning in Bulawayo. They had been arrested on 6th June and held until Saturday 9th June when they were finally released on bail.

They had been charged under Sections 37 (1a) and 46 (2v) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Chapter 37 – ‘participating in gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry’. Section (1a) reads “any person who acts together with one or more other persons present with him or her in any place or at any meeting with the intention or realising that there is a real risk or possibility of forcibly disturbing the peace, security or order of the public or any section of the public.”
Alternatively, Chapter 46, as read with Section 2(v) of the Third Schedule to the Criminal Code, reads “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”.

Their lawyer, Kossam Ncube, filed a constitutional challenge to these charges. His argument is that the wording is too vague and meaningless, thereby rendering them ineffective and a waste of time. He is requesting that the women be removed off remand whilst the constitutionality of these charges is being debated.

As the case had been assigned to another prosecutor, there was a delay of several hours whilst the new prosecutor was given time to prepare. The magistrate then heard the arguments. She will give her verdict tomorrow morning at 8am.

WOZA members will also be on trial in Gweru tomorrow. Both groups who had been arrested in early March during or after the People’s Launch demonstration will appear in the Gweru Magistrate’s Court tomorrow. It is anticipated that the charges against the nine members who were arrested after the demonstration will be dismissed. The other 26 members all face charges under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

In other news, two members who had been badly beaten during the demonstration on 6th June are still receiving medical attention. One woman was beaten with baton sticks across her breasts and has developed abscesses. She is still in a lot of pain. Another member was kicked in the abdomen and required an operation. She is out of hospital and shall be attending a review tomorrow.

Seven arrested after WOZA members conduct Die-in protests

MEMBERS numbering 500 of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) at 10 am Tuesday 19 June 2012 conducted 3 protest actions called a Die-in. The activists handed out flyers calling for the release of the draft constitution and demanding devolution. Motorists responded by hooting their approval.  The United Nations World Refugee Day is commemorated on 20th June worldwide.

Seven members were arrested at the Joshua Nkomo Statue intersection protest at Main Street and 8th Avenue and lawyers have been deployed but police are denying arresting any members.

Two of the 3 planned protests began whilst the third was stopped by Riot Police who followed the activists for over 30 minutes as they tried to regroup.  This group eventually managed to regroup and conduct their Die-in without incident at Main Street and 6th avenue. The Chronicle, state owned newspaper offices were not spared as members also managed to Die-in there and then left their flyers and placards at the door of the offices.

Shortly after the protests police were deployed into many locations in the city centre. A senior ranking police officer came out of the nearby Police Headquarters walked to the Joshua Nkomo statue with 50 police officers and barked orders to pick up the flyers and to arrest passers-by. He shouted at them saying; ‘how can people sleep in the road in front of you and you don’t see them? You cannot say you can only see papers, go and get them they went there and there’. He manhandled some police officers including one female officer pushing them in the direction of the alleged protesters’.

The members carrying traffic signs and red flags lay down in the intersections faking ‘Death’ as a way to symbolise that Bulawayo is dying and as it is allowed to die, residents will become refugees in their own city. WOZA feel that the reason the economy and the cities like Bulawayo are being left to die lies in the political culture of centralised power and resource control. WOZA are of the view that a key way to change this destructive culture is through a devolved system of government which must be adopted as a principle in the new constitution.

The protest campaign is also a way of putting pressure on politicians to release the constitution that they are holding hostage with their egos and elite ‘pacting’.  WOZA members do not feel another Government of national unity is in their interests but is a way to keep the elite in power and they will boycott any election process conducted without a new constitution. 

Three members hospitalised following beatings in police custody

Three of the 56 members arrested in Harare on Monday have been hospitalised following the beatings they received in custody by Law and Order officers in Harare Central Police Station. Almost all of the 56 required medical treatment. The baby received medical attention but was not hospitalised. It also appears that some injuries were received when one of officers involved walked all over the members as they were lying face down on the floor.

By 7pm on Tuesday, all 56 members arrested on Monday at the Kuwadzana ZESA sit-in had been assualted in police custody and forced to pay admission of guilt fines to ‘buy’ their freedom. Lawyers served police with orders to allow them access to their clients. This order was mostly ignored as the beatings continued. Reports indicate that they were made to lie down on the floor in the Law and Order department of Harare Central Police Station and were beaten by 12 officers. The names that members noted are Chari, Juta, Baya, Phiri and Mufademba. Reports indicate that one woman had a baby on her back whilst she lay down on the floor and the baby sustained beatings and has a swollen leg. As members reported for medical attention today, some could need hospitilisation, including the baby.

WOZA pay tribute to the courage of the human rights defenders who went to ZESA offices to press for their right to power knowing that these offices were next door to police stations. If more Zimbabweans followed this example of courage to fight for rights, Zimbabwe would be free tomorrow.

Woza Moya – English edition – May 2007

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. –Rabindranath Tagore (Indian poet)

Talking about TALKS – WOZA/MOZA’s view – ten steps to a new Zimbabwe

WOZA has been reading and hearing about ‘the talks’ and wish to express our views about these.
Firstly, we would like to know exactly what South African President Thabo Mbeki, Tanzanian President Kikwete and our SADC brothers and sisters want to achieve by their mediation. Is their role to bring about a new government without any political, economic and social reform? Or is their objective something more meaningful? To establish themselves as genuine mediators, they should secure the cooperation of the present government in allowing the transitional process to go ahead without interference and press them to step down from office to allow for an effective transition. We shall continue to pressure them to do this, thereby paving the way for a Zimbabwe where all Zimbabweans can enjoy equality and live with dignity.

What is our role as ordinary Zimbabweans, carrying the heaviest burdens and finding it impossible to survive?
Our role can be described in this way. We know where the fireplace is and that there is a pot boiling. We have not been consulted about what is to be cooked and who is to eat the meal when it is ready. While waiting to be called to the table to share the meal, we are busy collecting firewood and bringing it to the fireside so that those currently doing the cooking see it and put it in the fire. If the fire starts to go out, it will be our firewood that is used to light it again so that the pot can keep boiling. When the meal is cooked we will demand a place at the table to share in the meal cooked with our firewood. If the meal is badly cooked, we will refuse to eat and ask them for a better recipe. And just a reminder that mothers make the most memorable meals!

We can go further to say that those mediating the talks, and the politicians involved, should be thinking of the following ingredients if the meal is to be delicious and enjoyed by all Zimbabweans:

1. Violence, in all its forms, should be stopped to allow for a transitional process that can begin the healing process.
2. An all-stakeholders’ conference should be convened with the following participants: all political parties, non-governmental organisation, churches, labour, business, youth and women all meeting on an equal basis. Their agenda is to devise a transitional process consisting of putting in place an interim authority and outlining a process of constitution making. The interim authority should undertake the following:
3. Assume legislative power; repeal oppressive legislation against freedom of expression and assembly such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). We also call for an end to the selective application of other laws.
4. Conduct an audit of civil servants, the judiciary and law enforcement agents as to their professional and non-partisan conduct. Offenders should be sent to re-training/community service or for prosecution. The youth militia should be disbanded and the defence forces should be confined to barracks for retraining.
5. Begin the process of re-engaging the international community with a view to rehabilitating the economy aimed at job creation.
6. Carry out a land audit to lay the basis for a permanent and equitable solution to land reform, while promoting immediate resumption of food production.
7. Initiate a constitution-making process, including a plan for transitional justice, consulting all Zimbabweans both at home and abroad.
8. Take the resulting constitutional and transitional justice proposals to a referendum supervised by Southern African Development Community (SADC).
9. Prepare for elections, including reconstituting the Registrar General’s department, preparing new electoral laws, appointing an independent electoral commission and delimitation commission to prepare an electoral roll and prepare for the election. We will be saying good riddance to Tobaiwa Mudede and his crooked systems.
10. Ensure elections are conducted according to the SADC protocols and under international and regional supervision with international and local observers. The interim authority will then hand over to the winners of the election.
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.

Join WOZA by sending your application letter to P.O. Box FM 701 Famona Bulawayo. Tell us who you are and why you want to join WOZA. Write in any local language. Send us a self-addressed with postage stamp for us to send your Sisterhood Promise. Once you have signed this and posted it to us we will send you your membership card in the second self-addressed and postage paid envelope. We will then bring you into our WOZA family.

Get used to a free Zimbabwe where we can speak out without fear, tune in to…
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Magistrate provides reasons for refusal of discharge

WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu appeared before Magistrate Sangweni at Tredgold Magistrates Regional Court A. The business of the day was for the Magistrate to deliver his written reasons for dismissing the application for discharge at close of state case. The leaders are facing charges of Kidnap and Theft.

The essence of his reasoning was that he believed the evidence led by the state was sufficient to convict and surprisingly said the complainant Emma Mabhena had said she was forced in the vehicle and that accused had disposed Bokani Nleya of her electric flash light.

WOZA are concerned that the Magistrate obviously misheard the key witnesses Emma Mabhena say repeatedly that she was not forced into the vehicle and that she and the other 2 witnesses went further to disowned the statements prepared for them by the police officer George Levison Ngwenya. At one stage the Trial was halted as the translation from Ndebele into English was not precise enough. The Magistrate and Prosecutor are Shona speaking but the Defence lawyer Kossam Ncube, all 3 witnesses and the 2 WOZA leaders are Ndebele speaking. It is of concern that language would have played a role in the prosecutor and Magistrate not being able to follow proceedings. With no audio record it is of concern that a miscarriage of justice is in progress.

The defence lawyer now has a copy of the 11 page handwritten ruling which the Magistrate speedily read through in a few minutes. The matter was postponed to 3rd February 2012 to allow the defence time to consider the options of High Court review of the decision.

Note the handwritten ruling can be scanned but it is extremely illegible and hard to read.

Leaders and Members appear in Court and more harassment after protests

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders Williams and Mahlangu facing kidnap and theft charges appeared in Regional court today represented by Mr. Kossam Ncube. They were remanded to 12 March 2012. The matter was for continuation of Trial but the activists have submitted two processes before the High Court that await hearing. The High Court is yet to assign a Judge and set down the matters. The first being a review of the Magistrate Sengweni decision to refuse the discharge the two from the charges and the second requesting a stay of proceedings pending a decision on the review process.

When the activists last appeared the prosecutor and magistrate had indicated that the High Court process must be allowed as it would impact the Trail. Before the court proceedings began, the prosecutor, Godwin Katenaire went back on his word and told Mr. Kossam Ncube that the Trial would proceed. Noting this, Mr. Ncube insisted that they attend the Magistrates chambers where a 30 minute argument ensured. In the end sense prevailed and the Magistrates granted a postponement to 12 March.

Williams and 9 other members arrested on 7 February 2012 at the offices of Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) appeared before Magistrate Vivian Ndlovu on 1st March and were remanded to 5th March. The matter was for ruling on the application for refusal of further remand on charges of Criminal Nuisance. When the activists appeared on 21st September Lawyer Lizwe Jamela had applied for charges to be quashed and the prosecutor Jerry Mutsindikwa had not opposed the application. Mutsindikwa then backtracked to oppose the application and argued that the 10 accused had a case to answer and that the Trial should proceed. The Magistrate will give her ruling on 5th March.

Meanwhile WOZA members from 3 different areas have marched to hand over their petitions to the Main Post Office in central Bulawayo. In all 3 instances Riot police arrived at the post officer too late to affect any arrests. The petitions are calling for media reform and a reduction of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) license fees.

However WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu could not get into her home on the evening of the protests as 5 strange men seemingly police officers were parked at her gate for over 3 hours. At one time they attempted to break her gate chain and padlock before leaving. As Jennifer Williams appeared in court, 3 plain clothed officers lurked with intent to arrest her for the ZBC protests; they were eventually discouraged from this folly by the argument in the court proceedings that Zimbabweans have the full right to protest respected in the Constitution.

Members march on parliament

FIVE HUNDRED members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched in 2 separate protests converging on parliament at 2pm 25th June2012. This protest is part of the WOZA Occupy campaign to push for the release of a draft Constitution. The campaign features an occupation style of protest, a method illustrating the exercising of the right to peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and expression. The first group marched past four Riot police who are always stationed at Africa Unity Square gardens. As they awaited the arrival of the second procession, Riot police came out of the side door of parliament and began to disperse the protest threatening to beat the members. A parliamentary officer tried to argue that the protest had a legitimate demand and presence at parliament but the police and plain clothed intelligence officer ignored him and chased away members who were still at the door.

One of the WOZA leaders confronted the senior police officer saying to him, “if you beat one of us you will have caused a problem and we will not disperse.” It seems this message was taken to heart and no one was beaten.

The dispersing group joined up with the second procession and a stand-off ensured. The police officers stood in a line trying to block the protest surging forward back to the door of parliament. This prompted the activists to sit down to hold their ground. The police officers retreated watching for some minutes as the protest continued peacefully.

After some minutes WOZA National coordinator Jenni Williams officially dispersed the protest indicating that the message had been delivered.

Large groups of members then proceeded several city blocks towards the bus terminus continuing their singing and sloganeering. No arrests were made.

The protest message contained in the flyer being distributed will be as follows: – Politicians be warned stop your bickering and scheming and release the draft. – Demands an end to police and military occupation of our streets. – Provide notice to them that WOZA members will mobilise a nationwide boycott of any Election called without a new Constitution and referendum. – The protest also serves to demand end to elite occupation of our systems of government and counter the calls for another government of national unity.

Some Constitutional demands being made by WOZA members – The head of state /government has too many unchecked executive powers for a Democracy. – Removal of excessive powers of the Attorney General and makes this position serve only as legal advisor to president and proposes to create a National Prosecuting Authority.           – Gender equality not male domination in parliament – 50/50 non negotiable. – The reduction of the number of Constituencies from 210 and introduction of a devolved house of representatives. – WOZA members feel that the issue of dual citizenship is vital to create a climate where Zimbabweans can come home to help rebuild and develop their country.