- Last Updated on 15 February 2012
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The Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), which is celebrating its tenth year in existence this year, staged a peaceful march under the theme "marching in the Name of Love" on Valentine's Day on the 14th of February 2012
where they planned to hand to Parliament a WOZA Moya 1Oth anniversary newsletter which documents the harsh conditions and arrests the Organization has endured since its formation. The march which is staged annually was however disrupted again by the police who ruthlessly assaulted the marchers and bystanders arresting two journalists in the process.
Every year since 2002 WOZA has carried out marches on Valentine's Day where they demand "bread and roses €. The bread symbolizes the need for affordable food and roses the need for dignity and social justice. In 2004 their valentine's cards were received by the Chitungwisa police after a shoot to kill order and in 2005 hundreds of women marched in the streets of Harare and Bulawayo proclaiming that the, "Power of Love can Overcome the Love for Power €.
Every year since the marches began, members of WOZA have suffered persecutions and intimidation from the police who have become a menace to the public. In response to the behavior of police the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Spokesperson Mr. Thabani Nyoni said,
"As Civil Society Organizations we are concerned about the behavior of the police over issues of human rights and people's freedoms, we have been observing on numerous occasions that the police have denied individuals and organizations the space to operate and express themselves freely and they have also failed to appreciate that their role is to protect and safeguard the freedoms and rights of all citizens including civil and political rights but rather a deliberate effort to frustrate and deny citizens their rights €
(is this love?)
The newsletter which WOZA intended to handover to Parliament demanded an urgent need for a democratic constitution accompanied by real electoral, legislative, media and security governance reforms. The organization also called for independent peace-keeping monitors and observers so as to prevent state-sponsored violence and intimidation before, during and after elections. The Organization also demanded that the Joint Operations, Monitoring and Implementation Committee(JOMIC) should become more effective as a watchdog for the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and should stop sitting on letters of complaints regarding ill-treatment of citizens by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Lastly the Organization demanded the release of the draft Constitution to the people by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution(COPAC).