Woza leaders arrested

HARARE - Police on Wednesday arrested Women of Arise Zimbabwe (Woza) leaders Jenny Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu who were leading service delivery protests and testing provisions of the new constitution guaranteeing freedoms to demonstrate.

Business ground to a halt around the Parliament of Zimbabwe building as police, wielding baton sticks, swooped on Woza members.

Trust Mhanda of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said three members from the pressure group had been arrested.

Efforts to get a comment from police were fruitless, as police spokesperson Charity Charamba was not picking up her mobile phone.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) allows people to demonstrate.

In a statement, Woza said its members had marched to the august house to hand over a list of demands, which included supply of clean water, uninterrupted electricity supply and demands for Zesa to make a wholesome scrapping of  bills; and to put in place a meaningful education system.

“The protests are conducted to ‘test’ new provisions in the constitution and to make the voice of women heard around the direction that local and national government should take as the take up their positions,” said a Woza statement.

“The protest also marks the international day of peace commemorated throughout the world on 21st September 2013.”

Woza said prevailing peace “must deliver freedom and development for all.

“Seven thousand Woza members consulted wanted a theme that spoke to the peace bragging rhetoric by politicians that has for the most part been meaningless chatter,” said the statement.

“Additionally, as the UN convenes and President Mugabe plays his sad old song about removing sanctions, Woza members also call for him to remove his sanctions on Zimbabweans enjoyment of human rights and freedoms.”

Today the women’s group, whose leadership has been in constant brush with the law, has planned similar protests Bulawayo.

 

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