9 WOZA activists arrested in Bulawayo

Nine activists from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) group were arrested in Bulawayo on Monday evening while conducting their “occupy and demand the draft constitution” campaign.

The women went around the suburbs painting messages on the roads like, “Fire Chihuri (the partisan police commissioner); devolution for development; we want separation of powers and we want education.”

Coordinator Magodonga Mahlangu told SW Radio Africa that the women were arrested in two separate locations on the night and held at three different police stations in the city, including Western Commonage.

On Tuesday all 9 women were transferred to Bulawayo Central Police Station. Mahlangu said the lawyers were working on securing their first meal of the day after police in the morning denied them access to breakfast.

Those arrested were: Vigilant Lunga, Violet Dube, Theresa Phiri, Catherine Dhliwayo, Eunice Moyo, Mpikelelo Moyo, Sibongile Lumbile, Miriam Ngcebetsha and Ottilia Dube.

Mahlangu told us the police took the women to the locations where the protest messages had been painted on the roads and took pictures.

Last week over 100 WOZA members, including three minor children and three breastfeeding mothers, were arrested and detained in Bulawayo. The group had organized a series of protests to push for the release of the draft constitution.

The group said they are now using this “occupation style of protest to demand their full right to peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and expression.”

A draft constitution for Zimbabwe is still to be finalized because the political parties are squabbling over the details. This is despite an outreach program where people were given the chance to air their views. – SW Radio Africa News

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