Williams and Mahlangu appear in Court and more harassment after protests

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

Williams and Mahlangu appear in Court and more harassment after protests Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders Williams and Mahlangu facing kidnap and theft charges appeared in Regional court today represented by Mr. Kossam Ncube. They were remanded to 12 March 2012. The matter was for continuation of Trial but the activists have submitted two processes before the High Court that await hearing. The High Court is yet to assign a Judge and set down the matters.

The first being a review of the Magistrate Sengweni decision to refuse the discharge the two from the charges and the second requesting a stay of proceedings pending a decision on the review process.

When the activists last appeared the prosecutor and magistrate had indicated that the High Court process must be allowed as it would impact the Trail. Before the court proceedings began, the prosecutor, Godwin Katenaire went back on his word and told Mr. Kossam Ncube that the Trial would proceed. Noting this, Mr. Ncube insisted that they attend the Magistrates chambers where a 30 minute argument ensured. In the end sense prevailed and the Magistrates granted a postponement to 12 March.

Williams and 9 other members arrested on 7 February 2012 at the offices of Joint Monitoring and mplementation Committee (Jomic) appeared before Magistrate Vivian Ndlovu on 1st March and were remanded to 5th March. The matter was for ruling on the application for refusal of further remand on charges of Criminal Nuisance.

When the activists appeared on 21st September Lawyer Lizwe Jamela had applied for charges to be quashed and the prosecutor Jerry Mutsindikwa had not opposed the application. Mutsindikwa then proceed to oppose

the application and argued that the 10 accused had a case to answer and that the Trial should proceed. The Magistrate will give her ruling on 5th March.

Meanwhile WOZA members from 3 different areas have marched to hand over their petitions to the Main Post Office in central Bulawayo. In all 3 instances Riot police arrived at the post officer too late to affect any arrests. The petitions are calling for media reform and a reduction of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) license fees.

However WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu could not get into her home on the evening of the protests as 5 strange men seemingly police officers were parked at her gate for over 3 hours. At one time they attempted to break her gate chain and padlock before leaving.

As Jennifer Williams appeared in court, 3 plain clothed officers lurked with intent to arrest her for the ZBC protests; they were eventually discouraged from this folly by the argument in the court proceedings that Zimbabweans have the full right to protest respected in the Constitution.

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