Tuesday, September 21, 2010


 Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are condemning police in Zimbabwe for barring their 83 arrested members from receiving food and for holding them in filthy cells for a second night.

According to Woza, 25 of its members were arrested outside parliament, whereupon 58 more handed themselves in in solidarity.

Woza accuses p
olice of beating suspects and says the aim of the protest was to denounce violence during the country's constitutional outreach program.

"There were three simultaneous peaceful demonstrations converging on parliament," says Woza's national coordinator, Jennie Williams. "We were delivering a message to parliament after a four-month study of behaviour of police and after this weekend's violence, under which police didn't act."

According to RFI, she also sharply criticises the condition of police holding conditions.
"There is urine all over the floor. There are faeces from yesterday, from last week, from last month all over floors. There is no food in the cells."

The following is from SW Radio Africa News.

by Irene Madongo
21 September 2010

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has condemned the police for barring their 83 arrested members from receiving food and for holding them in filthy cells for a second night. There is also concern for the condition for one of their members’ who the organisation says was seriously assaulted in police custody.

The activists from WOZA were arrested at the end of a march to Parliament buildings in Harare, to mark International Peace Day on Monday. Police rounded up people as they were dispersing, following the peaceful march by over 600 of their members, who included men. The aim of the protest was to highlight community safety issues and police behavior in communities.

After initial talk of charging them with public disorder, the group are now to be charged with obstructing traffic. Police had tried to make the group pay admission of guilt fines, but they refused, insisting on being taken to court. It is hoped that they will be taken to court Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday Jenni Williams, founder of WOZA, said: “Our support team were attempting to feed our 83 colleagues because there is no food in the cells. They were denied the right to take the food in at lunch time today. They were told we are not allowed to take the food unless a lawyer is present, which is not within standard operating procedures. We are seeing this as another delaying tactic.”

WOZA also said a Men of Zimbabwe Arise member, Lazarus Mandondo, was severely beaten with baton sticks by police officers during a routine counting exercise last night. It is unclear why he was beaten but there is some concern for his welfare as apparently the beating was severe and witnessed by all detainees.

W illiams said the ill-treatment of their members further highlights how the police continue to violate all standard operating procedures. She said Police Commissioner Chihuri has ignored their request for a meeting and she appealed to co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone to take action.

On Monday Makone claimed ZANU PF was ‘virtually holding the Zimbabwe Republic Police captive,’ in response to weekend reports that police did nothing to stop ZANU PF supporters from the violence that disrupted outreach meetings in Harare. Makone excused the police by saying that they were just as paralysed as most victims of political violence.

On Tuesday 1,200 members of WOZA marked International Peace Day with a peaceful protest to Southampton House in Bulawayo in the morning. The aim of the protest was to hand over a set of demands to the Police Commissioner and the co-Ministers of Home Affairs.

Other groups in Bulawayo also marked International Peace Day on Tuesday. Zimrights, Habbakuk Trust and the Zimbabwe Victims of Organised Violence (ZIVOV) arranged a march from Bulawayo City Hall.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said a group of about 50 people heard victims of the organised violence in 2002 recount their ordeals. Those who spoke included Themba Ndlovu, who was ambushed by ZANU PF thugs at his home and badly beaten, and Sidumiso Moyo, whose house was burnt by ZANU PF thugs.

Saungweme said a former Green Bomber also spoke at the event. “He said he wanted to thank God, because God had changed his heart. He said at the training he got at the national military camps (run by ZANU PF) he was taught to hate and he prided himself in violence,” Saungweme said.

Saungweme added that the National Healing Organ was invited to the march but did not attend, saying they were too busy with their work elsewhere. 

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