- Last Updated on 20 June 2012
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Press statement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
Magistrates Court Victory for WOZA application for referral to Supreme Court
COURT ONE Magistrate Vivian Ndlovu granted the application for referral to the Supreme Court and removed the 10 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) off remand appearances in Court at 8:40 am 20 June 2012 in the Bulawayo Tredgold Magistrates. The members names are Jennifer Williams, Sikhangezile Ndlovu, Silibaziso Nzima, Wendy Moyo, Nothando Tshembe, Priscilla Ncube, Thabitha Ndlovu, Sitshiyiwe Ngwenya, Kholwani Ndlovu (Male) and Faina Maphosa.
The accused were represented by Mr Lizwe Jamela an officer of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). Mr Jamela will be preparing a brief for and Advocate to take the matter to the Supreme Court for the 10 activists. The state is represented by Jerremiah Mutsindikwa.
The accused members had been charged with contravening section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act: Chapter 9.23 as read with section (2) (v) of the third schedule. The state alleges that on
7 February 2012, the Applicants with intent to cause public disorder displayed some placards and distributed fliers along Leopold Takawira/9th Avenue Bulawayo thereby disturbing the free flow of both human and vehicle traffic.
Magistrate Ndlovu in giving her ruling indicated that the section 46 was wide and too general and granted the referral. Justifying this referral she cited the previous case taken by Williams and Mahlangu whereby the Supreme Court had found that the applicants arrest had resulted in a deprivation of their freedom of assembly under section
37 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. Section 37 charges focus on including intentionally engaging in disorderly or riotous conduct and, alternatively, encumbering or obstructing the free passage along any street, road, thoroughfare, sidewalk or pavement.
This case was taken after a 2008 arrest with Supreme Court reference SC22/10.
WOZA activists have faced charges on both section 37 and 46 and the Magistrates ruling provides the activists with a chance to challenge Section 46 whose main focus is 'Criminal nuisance' and third schedule
2 (v) reads any person who 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; shall be guilty of criminal nuisance.
In her 20 June ruling the Magistrate also confirmed her ruling of 6th March that the head of Police in Bulawayo must answer to the complaints of the 10 as regard to the conditions in police cells. As no responses are forthcoming the matter will be taken to the Supreme Court in the manner of the case of Williams and 3 others which was just heard.
20 June 2012 Ends Background to 2008 Supreme Court Application:
http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1181 On October 16, 2008, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, leaders of WOZA, were peacefully protesting in Bulawayo with 300 women about the ongoing economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe. During the protest, Williams and Mahlangu were arrested under Section 37 of Zimbabwe's Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. The full bench of the Supreme Court ruled that Williams and Mahlangu had been wrongly arrested and detained and that their rights and fundamental freedoms had thus been violated because they had been peacefully expressing their opinion and they did not give rise to violence. Additionally, Justice Garwe ruled that the state had failed to protect Williams and Mahlangu from such abuses.
For more information, please call Jenni Williams +263 772 898 110 or
+263 712 213 885, Magodonga Mahlangu +263 772 362 668 or email