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and MOZA let love light the way in Valentine's protest in
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
February 10, 2009
600 members of WOZA and MOZA demonstrated for several blocks to
Parliament in Harare today. The peaceful group sang as they marched
from the Karigamombe Centre up Kwame Nkrumah Ave, past the offices
of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Parliament.
Whilst riot police stationed outside Parliament looked like they
might try to beat and arrest the group, they decided against it
and the demonstrators dispersed without incident. WOZA is still
checking with its community structures that all its activists have
returned home safely but we can confirm that eight members and two
lawyers have been arrested. More information on these arrests will
be sent as it becomes available.
As they marched,
the peaceful protestors sang Baba, tuma mweya (Father,
send the holy spirit to heal this nation) and handed out red roses,
Valentine's cards, candles, matches and flyers to passersby.
The group also briefly stopped outside the UNDP offices to give
UN workers roses and Valentine's cards to thank them for all
their efforts in assisting people through the humanitarian crisis.
When the group
reached Parliament, having peacefully processed past a group of
riot police that was trying to decide whether to arrest them or
not, they also delivered red roses and Valentine's cards to
a number of Senators and Members of Parliament that were standing
at the entrance. They also left their placards and flyers at the
entrance before dispersing.
In January 2009,
WOZA and MOZA launched a new campaign - Take the Step/Qhubeka/Yendera
Mberi, designed to encourage Zimbabweans to continue with the civic
participation that they demonstrated in March 2008. The campaign
is based on the premise that in March 2008 Zimbabweans began a journey
towards a new socially just Zimbabwe, a destination that has still
not been reached, despite the formation of a unity government. Life
in Zimbabwe is incredibly hard and we are still in the darkness.
WOZA is urging Zimbabweans not to just complain however but to light
the darkness through their actions and by continuing to be active
in demanding social justice. By allowing love to light the way,
we can reach a socially just Zimbabwe. To demonstrate love in action
and to literally light the darkness, WOZA is giving Zimbabweans
candles and matches as part of the campaign to encourage them to
take the step of joining the movement. Candles and matched distributed
in the demonstration today were finished very quickly due to their
popular demand. WOZA will therefore gratefully receive any donations
of candles, matches and roses for the campaign. More information
on the Take the Step Campaign can be found below.
For the last
few weeks, members have been mobilising in underground meetings
for the first public demonstration of the campaign, Valentine's
Day. Valentine's Day is traditionally an occasion that WOZA
has used to urge Zimbabweans to choose love over hate and marks
the 7th anniversary of WOZA's birth.
Members in Harare
decided to hold their Valentine's protest before the swearing
in of the new unity government, which is set to happen tomorrow,
to test whether the so-called unity is genuine and will open space
for the people of Zimbabwe to dialogue with their leaders about
the priorities facing government.
African Development Community (SADC) mediation process excluded
the voices of ordinary Zimbabweans. Furthermore, when Zimbabweans
spoke through the ballot in the 29 March 2008 election, SADC chose
to ignore the results and the killing and mutilation of Zimbabweans
that followed. This week SADC orders resulted in the passing of
a power-sharing amendment to the constitution leading the way for
a complicated dual power system of governing Zimbabwe.
Whilst it is
too late for Zimbabweans to input into this awkward inclusive government,
people can put pressure on them to prioritise humanitarian issues,
like food access, the health delivery system to prevent further
loss of life and the emergency situation regarding the collapsed
education system. As we march we will be saying telling politicians
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.
the Step - Qhubeka - Yendera Mberi!
In March last
year, Zimbabweans displayed incredible courage and came out in large
numbers to vote for change. Their action meant that Robert Mugabe
and his ZANU PF party lost the elections. WOZA asked people to stand
up for their child in 2008 and they did - the people of Zimbabwe
took the step that was needed. It was not enough to carry us to
the new Zimbabwe we dream of and voted for however.
the Step in 2009
In 2009 Zimbabwe
remains in the dark. Zimbabweans carry an even heavier burden and
daily survival needs superhuman effort.
But WOZA realizes
that we cannot keep complaining about how tough life is and DO nothing
to change the situation!
If we want a
better life, we need to do more than just complain. That is why
at the beginning of 2009, WOZA is asking Zimbabweans to continue
with the action that they took in March 2008.
This week Zimbabwe
is supposed to get a new, inclusive government. After almost a year
of no functioning government, we wait to see what they will do and
hope that they will bring us the better life that we dream about.
We look forward to having a government that will listen to people.
But the inauguration of a unity government does not mean that we
have achieved our goals or that life will immediately get better.
we cannot just sit back and wait quietly to see what this government
will do. As citizens of this country, we have a right to say how
we should be governed and what the priorities of the new government
WOZA is therefore
urging all Zimbabweans to stay focused on the dream of social justice
for all - as outlined in WOZA's People's Charter.
It is POSSIBLE to get to a new Zimbabwe. But we cannot give up before
every child is in school and everyone has enough to eat. There is
still a long road ahead and walking alone in the dark is tiring
but it gets easier if you walk with others. If we let love light
the way and walk together hand in hand, we can light the darkness
and help our new government deliver the social justice we deserve.
libe linye kulokusola ubunyama - qhubeka
Baka kenduro rimwe panekusvora rima - yendera mberi
It is better to light a single candle than to complain about the
darkness - take the step.
ifuna thina - qhubeka
Kwete ndega, asi tose - yendera mberi
Together we can light the darkness - take the step - join
nxa kulezenzo - qhubeka
Rudo rudo kana kune zviito - yendera mberi
Love means action - take the step - join WOZA today
love in action and to literally light the darkness, WOZA is giving
Zimbabweans candles and matches as part of the campaign to encourage
them to take the step of joining the movement.
Giving or lighting
candles is therefore something that friends and supporters around
the world could do to also be part of the movement.
WOZA is delighted
to know that solidarity events are being planned in London, Canada
and South Africa for Valentine's Day this year. If you are
interested in knowing more details of these actions, please email
us at firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will direct you to the appropriate group. Alternatively,
you could always organize your own solidarity action with the women
of Zimbabwe on Saturday 14th February 2009.
WOZA is also
looking for brave witnesses to be with us as we conduct our peaceful
protests around Valentine's Day in Zimbabwe.
Visit the WOZA fact
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