via Woza in demo over Beam – DailyNews Live by Jeffrey Muvundusi 16 FEBRUARY 2014
More than 100 members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) on Friday outrightly condemned government’s failure to fully commit to the funding of the Basic Education Assistant Module (Beam).
This came out during their anti-government demonstration in Bulawayo.
Earlier on Thursday, police broke up a protest staged by Woza members at the Parliament building in central Harare where they demanded an end to corruption and government inertia to act decisively that has emboldened the elite to loot country’s resources.
Woza members braved the heavy presence of police who were deployed in the central business district to stage a peaceful demo at Mhlahlandlela complex which houses government offices.
Alert police, however, blocked the demonstrators from gaining entrance into the complex, forcing them to stage a 30-minute demo outside the building.
“The Valentine’s Day comes at a time when there is widespread looting of our country’s resources and corruption in the public sector,” said Woza spokesperson Magodonga Mahlangu.
“Despite these high salaries and lavish lifestyles of some public servants, the promised free primary education remains a dream and school levies have skyrocketed. Sadly, many intended beneficiaries have been denied education as the government says Beam is bankrupt,” Mahlangu said.
Government last month revealed that only $15 million was budgeted for Beam this fiscal year, a figure viewed as grossly insufficient and having a negative impact on almost a million of Zimbabwean orphans and disadvantaged children.
Under Beam, the government needs $73 million to pay school fees of orphans and disadvantaged children.
According to government, the situation was compounded by the withdrawal of donors such as Unicef and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) among others.
“We chose the government buildings because we wanted to send our message home about corruption and how the Beam issue has affected us as a nation,” she said.
As usual, Woza distributed flyers throughout the central business district where they highlighted their plight.
Unlike in the past where police have arrested and attacked the Woza members, they just kept a close watch while officers suspected to be from the Law and Order section were busy filming the proceedings.
On Valentine’s Day, Woza always carries out demonstrations in protest of various issues including women’s rights.