2011 a year of protest and response with excessive use of force

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) congratulate Amnesty International on the launch of their Annual Report under the theme ‘leading from the streets’.

WOZA national coordinator is in London, United Kingdom and attended the press conference to launch the report which was launched at the Amnesty headquarters by Secretary General, Salil Shetty.

He said,”2011 was a year of protests where ordinary people sent a clear message that it is no longer business as usual for tyranny and injustice. Leaders failed to listen and the demands fell on deaf ears, only to responded with use of excessive force. It was a year where dictators were removed but not dictatorships.”

He went on to criticise the United Nations Security Council for their weak and late response when lives of peaceful protestors were at stake.

WOZA was formed 10 years ago to create a platform for women to lead ‘from the streets of Zimbabwe’. Since then Amnesty International have partnered with WOZA to help expose the injustices perpetrated against citizens. WOZA encourage Amnesty to keep watch on Zimbabwe as the nation prepares for a referendum and election which is normally coupled with an increase in violence. Additionally, WOZA wish to applaud and encourage Amnesty to continue their work in raising the profile of social, economic, civil and political rights in Zimbabwe.

WOZA leader Jenni Williams has said, “The way the regimes have responded to peaceful citizens all over the world is not new to us as the Zimbabwe Government has practiced such repression on us.

Reading the Amnesty annual report drives home a realisation that citizens are fast losing hope in election processes as a vehicle to bring change. What citizens cannot seem to do with the ballot they are trying to do by protests or by ‘voting with their feet’. I think it was Robert Mugabe who once paraphrased Malcolm X by saying, “we won our independence by the ballot and will defend it by the bullet.” The next election in Zimbabwe will be a very contested election and we hope Zimbabweans will not have to dodge the bullet to defend their ballot.”

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