WOZA women beaten & detained after anti-constitution demo

WOZA members on a previous march

By Violet Gonda
13 February 2013

Police on Wednesday violently broke up a peaceful demonstration by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and briefly detained eight activists outside Parliament building in Harare.

WOZA leader Jenni Williams sent SW Radio Africa a text message saying: “8 terribly beaten and tear gassed, me, Magodonga (Mahlangu) and 6 others.”

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme witnessed the police using ‘sjamboks’ as the WOZA women were being bundled into a police car.

He said 50 women had taken to the streets, protesting against the draft constitution that is set to be put before a referendum on March 16th.

Some of the fliers distributed by the pressure group read: “The final draft constitution is as a result of negotiations behind closed doors and a deal that suits the principals and the political parties in the inclusive government.”

“Therefore this draft may not survive the test of time because it was written for a current political climate and not for the future generation. A constitution is supposed to be written by the people because they should determine how they want to be governed. It is their role to give the rule to the rulers!”

Dr. Tarisai Mutangi from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights went to assist the activists at Harare Central Police Station. He said they were released without charge after being held for a couple of hours.

He confirmed that the women sustained injuries and that he had left them at the charge office where they were filing a complaint against the police for the assault.

Meanwhile, co-Home Affairs Minister Teresa Makone held a press conference in Harare where she revealed that some ministers had expressed concern during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting over police brutality.

She said police should first investigate, rather than arresting to investigate.

Makone said cabinet discussed the unwarranted arrested by police of innocent citizens during the Zimbabwe Peace Project offices raid, and the arrest of ordinary people in Lupane, Matabeleland North who had gone for voter registration.

Although the co-home affairs minister is in charge of the police, she admitted that she does not have the power to make the police respect the constitution or the rule of law.

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3 Responsesto “WOZA women beaten & detained after anti-constitution demo”

  1. Muktar Sayad says:

    This is just a prelude, wait for the worse to come, this will happen the morning after the referendum when Zanu PF will unleash all its cylinders to silence voters up to the run up to the general elections and during the elections.. It has a history of using unrelenting violence especially at election time when it will kill and maim Zimbabweans who dares to oppose its failed policies. The MDC will stand on the sidelines and chuckle, it has done this consistently without raising a finger. WOZA are a brave collection of women who stand alone, ignored by the men and the MDC as mere onlookers whilst the police beat them up. Shame on you men and you the MDC you do not have balls to even utter one word of disapproval.

  2. wilbert_mukori says:

    The right to hold a peaceful demonstration is universally accepted in all democratic countries. Zimbabwe, I readily accept, is a de facto one party dictatorship and hence this right has been routinely denied to everyone and WOZA members know this only too well. Denied to everyone that is except Zanu PF supporters; some, desperate to be noticed, have now given to parading in their tongs!

    What the WOZA members must understand is that this Copac Constitution will not deliver and guarantee the right to peaceful demonstration just as it does not deliver and guarantee all the other basic rights including the right to a meaningful vote, the right not being whipped and the right to life itself. The day after this Copac rubbish is adapted, the ZRP will continue to harass, whip, arrest and even murder innocent Zimbabweans.

    Zimbabwe needs the GPA agreed reforms implemented including the ZRP reforms which would take away the Police and regime’s undemocratic and completely arbitrary powers. There only way we can force the implementation of these reforms now is by rejecting this Copac rubbish in the referendum. If Mugabe gets the yes vote he will never ever implement any of the reforms.

  3. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    It is not so much the question of human rights abuses that needs to be addressed in the country. It is more the question of what the indigenous people of Zimbabwe own and control in the economy. While foreign capital owns and controls almost 80 percent of economy, the indigenous people own and control almost nothing 33 years after independence. This is a serious human rights issue that needs to be tackled. And yet the like of Jenny Williams do not talk about this glaring problem in our society and only focus on matters that do not bring bread and butter to the indigenous people of this country. Her philosophy like all rhodies I know is to let nothing (no wealth) move from the white man to the black people of this country. We would like to see Jenny Williams addressing the economic disparities between the foreign capital and what the indigenous people own and control in our country as these are equally human rights issues that need attention.
    Let us get our priorities right. People should understand what they are up against and not to be fooled by Jenny Williams and her group.

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