Graffiti 9 members make bail and are released

NINE members arrested on Monday 2nd July 2012 finally appeared in Western Commonage Court 5th July 2012. They were granted bail of $50 each and will reappear in Court on 18th July 2012. All of the members had to seek medical attention due to the poor custody conditions.

Sibongile Lumbile being in bad shape as she was never taken to hospital but kept in an office and the police lied about her whereabouts thereby meaning she did not get to eat the food brought bought in by the support team till the next day.

They were charged and appeared in Court in four separate batches under Section 49 as read with part 2(a)(vi) of the Third schedule of the Criminal (Codification and Reform Act). Which reads "Any person who wantonly or mischievously dislodges or disfigure any property shall be guilty of criminal nuisance and liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 ($200) or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months. They were defended by Paul Moyo a private lawyer deployed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

The delay in bringing them to court was a result of the Homicide police refusing to deal with WOZA as they argued that WOZA is dealt with by the Law and Order Department of the police.

The nine members were arrested on suspicion that they were part of the members writing messages on the tarmac road, a form of Graffiti. They were arrested in different suburbs of the city around Bulawayo from 7pm to 11pm on Monday night. This is part of the campaign to demand the draft constitution and calling for the firing of political presidential appointees – police commissioner, Attorney general and the registrar general.

WOZA was formed 10 years ago to provide women with a platform to speak out on issues affecting their daily life. Peaceful protest forms a key mandate for the members to speak out in a country where the media is state controlled. The writing of messages also forms part of the communication tools of campaigning as it provides an 'in your face' promotion of opinion and educates citizens on topical issues.

WOZA would like to acknowledge the solidarity and support statements from Civic organisations and the MDC. We are thankful that all nine members were released and are sure they appreciate the solidarity.

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