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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis

  • Zimbabwe NGO Bill
    Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
    September 15, 2004

    Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a community based civic movement for Zimbabwean women, announce that final preparations are underway to conduct a 439 kilometer sponsored walk to raise a welfare fund for activists. WOZA along with the community activists are facing an uncertain future if the NGO Bill goes through parliament on 5 October 2004.

    Final meetings have been held in secret in Bulawayo and Harare to confirm participants and the starting date. 44 participants have committed to attempt the full walk whilst 180 others will undertake at least 60 km over 2 day slots. We are in a position to announce that by next week this time the march will be well underway and public statements will be issued at this time.

    Some family members of WOZA women in the Police and Youth Militia have asked us to TIP TOE through certain areas so they can avoid seeing us. WOZA Women, their mothers, sisters and grandmothers have called on the Zimbabwe Republic Police to demonstrate that they too can show compassion and allow the fund raising venture to go ahead unhindered and even to sponsor participants. Over 300 WOZA women have been arrested for trivial issues like handing out red roses, making tea, calling for a lowering of food prices and on 19 June over 72 women were arrested on World Refugee Day. It is therefore a strategy to ensure the walk gets underway before an repressive behaviour from the regime can be played out.

    Several Civic and Church partners have confirmed their support and participation of this initiative.

    There is a Zulu saying - Uthinte Umfazi Uthinte Imbokodo - 'You strike a woman and you have struck a rock'! We regard the NGO Bill in its current format, as an attempt to strike women through WOZA. The women of WOZA are saying we will not be struck in this way!

    Since WOZA began in 2002, women have spoken out and participated, they have had a taste of the freedom of expression and assembly. The leaders and activists have had their appetites whetted and they want more not less communication and action. WOZA cannot let the Bill kill our spirit of resistance.

    As it is drafted now, this Bill will kill instead of bringing us more LIFE. It affects the caring people who help us with food when we are hungry, medicine when we are sick, development, which gives us opportunities. Civic Society organisations give us knowledge. KNOWLEDGE is POWER so the Bill wants to make us powerless.

    The Bill is due to become a law in October and over 200 community activists will loose a source of income. Their families and the orphans they care for will suffer hardship. After consulting with members, Mother WOZA has decided to conduct a sponsored walk to raise money for the welfare of activists and put across our message of protest. Over 200 volunteers have stepped forward to each walk 60 kilometers, with some wanting to walk all the way to Harare, 439 kilometers. The walk will be conducted with 6 teams of 30 with each team doing 2 days.

    WOZA means 'Come forward'. By women for women and with women, across race, colour, creed, class or political persuasion. Empowering women to be courageous, caring, committed and in communication with their communities.

    Visit the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) fact sheet

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