WOZA members march in Bulawayo to demand Draft constitution and say victory 'sweets' cannot be stolen from our mouths.
- Last Updated on 10 September 2012
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Press statement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
WOZA members march in Bulawayo to demand Draft constitution and say victory 'sweets'
cannot be stolen from our mouths.
Two hundred and fifty members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched in five separate protests at 2pm 10th September 2012 in Bulawayo. The march was to demand the release of the Copac draft constitution, calling for the second all stakeholders conference and referendum without any further delay.
All five protests managed to reach the targeted destination which was The Chronicle newspaper offices. WOZA routinely targets this state controlled paper in order to test if their protest and the issues will be covered.
The peaceful protest brought 9th Avenue to a standstill with everyone attempting to take photographs, while encouraging the activists to demand the draft constitution.
Although riot police were deployed they only managed to reach the 9th Avenue offices of the Chronicle after the protestors had dispersed. WOZA is conducting a head count to ensure no arrests were made.
In a related story, two members of WOZA who were ordered by the court to erase their graffiti, did so at noon on 10th September 2012 along the Luveve road in Bulawayo. The two faced cruel and inhuman degrading treatment by law and order officers who were present. One of the police officers, Z. Moyo forced the two to remove their hats whilst painting over the graffitti phrases in the blazing hot summer sun. They then made them remove other phrases not mentioned in the court order and threatened to make them remove more phrases during the afternoon. The prosecutor advised them that they were only to fulfil the order of the court for two phrases namely 'no to a snap elect €¦' and 'go register to vote'.
Meanwhile nine members of WOZA arrested during a graffiti road writing exercise on 2nd July 2012 have been sentenced in four separate trials held at Western Commonage Court in Bulawayo. Eight of the nine members were convicted and given harsh sentences with one being acquitted. The women spent three days in custody at Bulawayo central police station. The graffiti exercise was conducted to popularise the constitutional reform content. Members wrote phrases in non-permanent paint called 'road liner' paint but the magistrates found them guilty of 'disfiguring property' namely the tarmac road.
The charges were preferred under Section 49 as read with part 2(a) (vi) of the Third schedule of the Criminal (Codification and Reform Act). Which reads "Any person who wantonly or mischievously dislodges or disfigures any property shall be guilty of criminal nuisance and liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 (USD $200) or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months. They were defended by Paul Moyo a private lawyer deployed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Four of the members were fined USD $100 each and a High Court appeal has been submitted to challenge this sentences.
Miriam Ngcebetsha and Ottilia Dube were ordered to remove their graffiti phrases at 11am Monday 10th of September while they await sentence on 12 September 2012. They will remove the phrases in the company of the prosecutor with traffic police officers controlling traffic. They painted the phrases - 'no to a snap elect €¦' and 'go register to vote'. The phrases are located in Matshobana (at the Rio bus stop/turn off) along the Luveve road after the flyover (6th Ave).
Some of the phrases written on the road are "Devolution of power; No to death penalty; Fire Chihuri, Tomana and Mudede; Boycott snap election and go register to vote." Many roads in Bulawayo and Harare still proudly carry these messages.