|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Press Statement – Women of
TWENTY NINE Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) members were arrested in
At on Saturday, over one hundred women gathered placards and banners held high to begin a peaceful protest. This starting group had gone three city blocks when a police detail stationed near TM Hypermarket set came at the run. They were attracted by the women who were singing an Ndebele song, “The sun has set and where I sleep tonight. I will sleep like a bird on a branch of a tree”.
As is the WOZA way, the women sat down immediately upon seeing the police officers, leaving them at a loss. After the women were seat the officer barked, “Sit down, sit down” To which they replied that they were already seated. A crowd of bystanders numbering up to 300 gathered around and bravely picked up the Woza Moya (Come Holy Spirit) Newsletters being distributed by the women. Many bystanders clapped their hands in appreciation for the work done by the peaceful women.
All that remained was for the officers to call for vehicles to transfer the arrested to Bulawayo Central station in fife street. Meanwhile it later came to light that police officers armed with AK 47 Rifles were awaiting the protesters at previous demonstration starting and ending positions.
During detention, one member Siphiwe Maseko was randomly selected on orders of “Dispol” to be tortured. She endured beating with a whip like baton on her back and under the feet by plain clothes officers in the ‘PISI’ office. The officers tried to force her to divulge names of leaders and WOZA’s funding partners. She withstood this brutality, spent two days in custody and is on the mend.
Two members, Magodonga Mahlangu and Jenni Williams who had handed herself in, were subjected to individual harassment by the Law and Order officer in charge Inspector G. Ndlovu and another senior officer, Inspector Moyo. Williams had her home illegally searched by law and order officers.
All of the women were photographed and finger printed. Those that were vendors were told that they would not succeed in renewing their vending licences.
The women, including six grandmothers, spent the time in custody cramped in a small filthy cell which could accommodate eight at a push. No food is available and food had to be bought in. Only two filthy blankets were available, and most of the women have come down with colds as it is mid winter. In the words of Gogo Mutendesi, “It was better to be in the cells than out in the open like many Zimbabweans.”
The peaceful women, whose slogan is
the ‘LOVE’ sign, could face many years imprisonment if convicted under the
notorious Public Order Security Act (POSA). This is the third trial the women of
WOZA will face, they won the last two. WOZA have called on Zimbabweans, and
sympathisers abroad to assist in donating funds towards the
For more information, please contact
Jenni Williams +263 91 300 456, Magodonga Mahlangu +263 91 362 668
ZIMBABWEANS TO ACTION
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has called on Zimbabweans to mobilise and prepare for a
day of peaceful resistance and demand Social Justice on
We quote parts of the UNCHR Statement, “As ordinary people living peaceful lives, we rarely have to put our courage to the test. Refugees are ordinary people, too, except that through no fault of their own, they find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. As such, they are often required to dig deep into their own inner sources of strength in order, as another dictionary puts it, to find "the ability to overcome fear. It takes courage to be a refugee. Courage not to give up hope and to make the most of the hand that has been dealt. Courage to start a new life against daunting odds, eventually to become contributing and enriching members of society once more.”
Over 30 000 Zimbabweans have been arrested, some assaulted, had their goods and livelihoods stolen and many have had to suffer the further indignity of paying a $ 25 000 admission of guilt fine. Some 200 000 Zimbabweans have been added to the number of us who can no longer take for granted our dignity and rights.
We call on our sisters and brothers who are fighting to defend their livelihood to use peaceful means of mass action as a way to safeguard their dignity. Another test of your courage will be your peacefulness as only cowards resort to bullying and violence.
A reminder to Zimbabweans: Freedom is not for free, be prepared to sacrifice.
information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
(for security reasons, we will to filter through written correspondence).
UNHCR Statement is available from the following website:
Commemorating World Refugee Day 2005 - The theme, is courage. http://www.comminit.com/redirect.cgi?r=http://www.unhcr.ch/wrd/
Courage n. Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Le Petit Robert.
As ordinary people living peaceful lives, we rarely have to put our courage to the test. Refugees are ordinary people, too, except that through no fault of their own, they find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. As such, they are often required to dig deep into their own inner sources of strength in order, as another dictionary puts it, to find "the ability to overcome fear".
Initially, that fear may be the immediate one of trying to escape the horrors of war and persecution, the pain of losing homes and loved ones, and the ordeal of flight. Later comes the deeper anxiety of uncertainty – the worry of how to rebuild their lives, either in completely new circumstances, or back home where they now may not be welcome.
It takes courage to be a refugee. Courage not to give up hope and to make the most of the hand that has been dealt. Courage to start a new life against daunting odds, eventually to become contributing and enriching members of society once more.
many of you know the Vigil has decided on a demonstration on 4th July
to put pressure on
exiles and human rights campaigners in the
African fruit is to be trampled into the pavement and South African wine poured
down the gutter at a demonstration outside the Guildhall in the City of
Vigil spokesperson said, “We have been debating the question of a boycott
decided that the NEPAD meeting was an opportunity to embarrass President Mbeki
who will be visiting the
demonstration will be followed by the presentation of a petition to
NEPAD meeting at the Guildhall is to report by video link to the African Union
is designed to be a media event and we hope that as many people as possible will
turn up to embarrass Mbeki. The
demonstration will be from11 am to
with the ceremonial trashing of South African products to take place at
when the streets should be thronged with people taking their lunch break. Discussions are under way to get some
noteworthy person with us. The venue is
the junction of
would remind you that the Vigil is hosting two events next weekend. On Saturday,
25th June, we will be joined by WEZIMBABWE, an organization set up to
help Zimbabweans. We will be helping them raise funds for their “Operation
Murambatsvina Emergency Appeal”. Check www.wezimbabwe.org for how to make
donations. On Sunday, 26th June, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
will be commemorating the UN international day in support of victims of torture.
There will be a special service (see attached) from
for Zimbabwean torture victims at
Please let us know if there is any help you can give us with these events.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk