WOZA leader arrested in fallout over stolen logo

One of the leaders of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) was arrested this week, in the fallout of a hate speech filled flier that led to an angry backlash by some MDC-T members.

The fliers were passed around in Mpopoma and Pelandaba last week Wednesday, as Zimbabweans were making their way to polling stations to vote in the elections. The fliers, which bore the official logo of the WOZA group, called for people to shun voting for the MDC-T, saying party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was responsible for “inhuman and reckless treatment of women.”

The fliers urged people to instead vote for MDC leader Welshman Ncube, saying “we hate Tsvangirai” for a number of reasons.

WOZA has strongly denied they are responsible for the flier, insisting their logo was stolen. WOZA’s Jenni Williams told SW Radio Africa that “this is the third time this has happened, and we know there are people using our logo for political squabbles.”

Williams explained that she anticipated a potentially violent backlash to such a flier, so immediately called the MDC-T, as well as the MDC led by Ncube, to clarify that it was not their flier. The MDC denied they had authored the flier.

“Unfortunately my calls and proactiveness came to naught because within two hours we were receiving calls that Gladys Dube and another woman had taken the flier seriously and were threatening our members and threatening to beat them up,” Williams said.

WOZA’s co-leader Magodonga Mahlangu then called these MDC-T women and urged them to stop what they were doing. Williams explained that Gladys Dube “continued to threaten one of our members who had reported the incident.”

“She said ‘you’re a sellout, why did you report to Magodonga and Jenni’,” Williams said.

The same woman then approached the police and said Mahlangu was responsible for intimidation and threats, leading to Mahlangu being arrested.

“Police just made her sign a statement and took her to court to be formally charged. The senior prosecutor wasn’t convinced that the police had done a proper job and he insisted the police interview the additional witnesses.”

WOZA will be returning to court on Friday. – SW Radio Africa

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