Back to Index
delivers complaint direct to Police Office in Bulawayo
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
November 29, 2012
At 11am 300
members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched to Police Officers
in Southampton House. November 29th is Women Human Rights Defenders
Day an appropriate day to deliver a letter of complaint about police
is the second in respect of the 16 days of Activism against Gender
Violence under the international theme: From Peace in the Home to
Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence
against Women! But WOZA will use a shortened version - PEACE NOW!
As the 5 separate
protests arrived on the pavement outside Southampton House, WOZA
national coordinator Jenni Williams was arrested and moments later
Programmes Coordinator Magodonga Mahlangu was arrested. Undeterred,
the two leaders encouraged members to join them on the pavement.
Once most members were present, the command to 'sit and observe
non violent discipline' was chanted and members sat down. The arresting
police officers quickly backed off to the door of Southampton House
then engaged police to request the Complaints Desk officer come
downstairs to receive the letter of complaint. Various police officers
came back and forth trying to coerce Williams and Mahlangu to go
into the building to deliver the letter but sensing a trap they
declined. The letter of complaint calls on the Bulawayo Commanding
Officers to investigate the behaviour of police officers on 13 November
2012. WOZA also call for the arrest of police officer Mukoshi and
his colleagues who participated in this violence and perpetrated
cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment inflicted on WOZA members.
WOZA has given the police command 7 days to investigate this matter
or they will take up the matter by other legal means. see letter
the 20 minute protest programme was speeches and testimonies by
various members who had been beaten by police. Three of those beaten
testified and described their injuries and the insults and abuse
by police. A huge crowd gathered and bystanders also aired their
sympathy and booed the police for insulting members for speaking
isiNdebele language. In defiance of the unofficial ban of the Ndebele
language, the activist only sang Ndebele songs: Thina silwela amalungelo
(We are standing up for our rights) and Lamulela Amapholisa bayasitshaya
(help us by intervening, the police are beating us)
At this time
2 more senior officers attended and said they could not accept the
letter referring the activist to Bulawayo District Police Chief
Inspector Masina, who is based at Ross Camp. They ignored requests
to receive the letter as they have done on several occasions. Williams
and Mahlangu then requested their escort to Ross Camp several city
blocks away but the two officers contradicted each other. Seeing
the indecision, the two leaders announced that the procession would
move to Ross camp. The procession then reformed and began to march.
Along the route
at the St Mary's Roman Catholic Church and members decided to kneel
and pray as they walked past. It was as they were kneeling that
a truck of Riot police arrived and jumped from their vehicles beating
several members kneeling in prayer. Serious injury was averted by
the arrival of another senior officer who then insisted Williams
and Mahlangu get into the van. However the junior officers refused
to open the tail gate of the van and there was no female officer
to assist the two into the vehicle. The senior officer then suggested
that he wanted to drive only the two leaders to deliver their letter
to the Chief Inspector Masina at Ross Camp.
resulted as an overzealous officer then tried to arrest a young
man and members had to surround him to prevent his victimization.
Calm was then restored when the senior officer said he should be
released and Williams was asked to calm the members down with the
promise that no arrested would be made.
Mahlangu then asked the protest participants to sit quietly and
await their return from the District Command Office. They were escorted
into a police double cab but as they were pulling away the District
Commanding Officer Chief Inspector Masina arrived and agreed to
officially receive the letter of complaint and sign for it. Williams
and Mahlangu then announced the end of the protest 45minutes after
it started and members quietly walked to the Bus terminus without
this dispersal, Williams and Mahlangu then headed back to town to
run some errands but this proved difficult as over 6 plain clothed
officers followed them and monitored them, seemingly wanting to
secure a late arrest. However Williams and Mahlangu managed to lose
the officers and avoid further harassment.
the WOZA fact
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.