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love protest made injustices visible
Women of Zimbabwe
February 22, 2004
wish to announce that a successful protest was carried out on Valentines
Day in Chitungwiza and 5 other suburban centres in Harare despite
fact that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) refused to allow other
protests to proceed and threatened to "shoot to kill" any protesters.
Peaceful love marches had been planned for Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
and central Harare but ZRP were fearful that the spirit of love
would overcome hate.
The ZRP argued
that the WOZA Valentine newsletter 'Woza Moya' (Come cleansing wind)
was an attempt to denounce the President of Zimbabwe R. G. Mugabe.
WOZA is about love for all Zimbabweans not about hating each other.
The flyer included messages of love and the details of the demonstration.
On the reverse of the flyer, WOZA quoted the President's words from
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and print news coverage, which
we determined as hateful language; they should rather take it as
tough love and a mother's discipline. WOZA stands for the truth,
we renew our call to end the spreading of hate messages by all Zimbabweans.
The media must assist in the healing of the nation, by balancing
messages between truth and love.
Women of Zimbabwe
Arise is a civic action pressure group made up of community women
suffering under the current socio-economic and political crisis.
Last year, WOZA organised a protest on Valentines Day calling on
Zimbabweans to learn to love each other again and over 63 women
and 9 men, mainly journalists were arrested. 17 spent a night in
custody. The protestors were arrested under the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA), a draconian law that is in conflict with constitutional
freedoms and rights.
issued by 'Mother WOZA' a grouping of movement leaders said, "POSA
is an unjust law that attempts to outlaw the most peaceful of marches
like the Valentine protest of handing out flowers and calling for
love to overcome hate. In Bulawayo, WOZA accepted the High Court
ruling and no protests went ahead in [OUT OF] respect for the judiciary.
But in Harare where written approval had been granted, Harare plain-clothes
police told two members of 'Mother WOZA' that if the marches went
ahead, the police would 'shoot to kill'. Despite this, women, who
had collected at a secret venue resolved to brave this threat and
go to suburban centres and continue with the work set for the day.
In groups of between five to twenty they went to suburban shopping
centres and handed out the donated roses and specially prepared
Valentine Cards. In Chitungwiza, a group of about 130 women dressed
in white collected opposite Chitungwiza Police Station and proceeded
to give police cards and flowers which were well received. The band
of women then went through the shopping centre handing out their
gifts of love. Mother WOZA thanks Zimbabweans for receiving our
message so well and for identifying with it and echoing the words
of suffering. Our message read: "Our beloved Zimbabwe is crying.
We must defend our right to love and let love overcome hate. We
also thank women who came from all walks of life for answering the
call, even though they found unreasonable police who chased them
away. We also thank our United Kingdom sisters for conducting a
protest outside Zimbabwe House to echo our plight and amplify our
voice to be heard despite POSA, Police and Politicians."
WOZA have determined
that the Valentines Day protest was a resounding success as we fulfilled
our mandate to 'make injustice visible' and expose the hatred by
people whose job it is to protect the nation. We recognise that
the ZRP seems to have become enslaved by unjust laws.
will be a better place when the power of love replaces the love
of power. Enough is Enough, Sokwanele, Zvakwana.
the edition of "WOZA Moya" published for Valentine's day
Visit the Women
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) fact
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