WOZA blasts JOMIC for lack of action

The pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has strongly criticized the Bulawayo office of the Joint Operations and Monitoring Committee (JOMIC), after WOZA complaints of police abuse were referred to JOMIC in Harare.

Officials in Bulawayo had last week requested to meet with WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu on Monday, to discuss in detail the police abuse of WOZA members and the selective application of the law.

WOZA coordinator Magodonga Mahlangu told SW Radio Africa they arrived early because this was an important opportunity to discuss their situation with JOMIC officials. But they waited 45 minutes before anyone attended to them, only to be told their complaints had been referred to Harare.

Mahlangu said: “It is very frustrating but it highlights what we have been saying about the way Bulawayo is treated. Every time we need some sort of service here we are always told it has to come from Harare. Even when you arrested, sometimes they tell you that they need to contact Harare to see what charges to bring.”

Mahlangu said only one JOMIC official, Neffat Sibanda of the MDC T, turned up for the Monday meeting and advised them their case had been referred to JOMIC in Harare and the Committee only deals with cases of “political violence”.

“Why did they not tell us that on the phone. You would think by opening a Bulawayo office they intend to deal with issues in Bulawayo because they are on the ground here,” Mahlangu explained.

She added that the JOMIC response felt to her like they do not even care and they are just employing delay tactics. “We were promised that by next Monday we should have received a letter of referral to Harare. It just sounds like delaying tactics,” Mahlangu stressed.

The WOZA coordinators were arrested during a demonstration last week by police who took them to Bulawayo Central Station, allegedly to meet with Chief Inspector Rangwani. But it turned out the inspector was on leave and there was no meeting. WOZA said the arrest was an attempt to disrupt the demonstration and it is one of the incidents referred to in the complaint letter submitted to JOMIC.

JOMIC was set up as part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), to ensure that the three parties in the unity government fully implemented the power sharing agreement. But political analysts have criticised it for being a ‘toothless bulldog’ because of its complete inability to deal with the many violations of the GPA that are evident. – SW Radio Africa News

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