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Arrest of Women of Zimbabwe Arise despicable
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
March 09, 2004

To commemorate International Women's Day on March 8, the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WoZA) distribute pamphlets with calls for women to agitate for the repeal of the Constitution and make it more gender sensitive. They also challenged oppressive pieces of legislation, 'which like rape' brings forth deformed offspring, and leaves the victims without any dignity and sense of self worth. (see attachment)

This direct confrontation with the State brought about an immediate response from the law enforcement agents who arrested Jenni Williams; Patricia Khanye and Magondonga Mahlangu on Sunday March 7 for organising the demo. Initially they were accused of breaching Section 15 of the Public Order and Security Act which prohibits communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

The charge was altered when they appeared in court and the new charge was unlawful regulation of a public gathering. The state however failed to prove their charge and the accused were let out on $10 000 bail each and remanded to March 23.

Crisis Coalition condemns in the strongest possible terms this brazen disregard of the rule of law by the State. The muzzling of the voices of dissent has become the only way for Government to deal with its citizens, signifying the further decline of democracy.

The law enforcements agents are no longer serving the nation but are bowing to whims of the ruling party which sees enemies at every turn. The police force has declared a de-facto state of emergency where people are not allowed to come together to show displeasure with the authorities. They are promoting a culture of see no evil hear no evil where the State literally gets away with murder.

Crisis Coalition calls for:

  • Dropping of charges against the WoZA leaders as they being held under false charges.
  • The repeal of the Constitution and the adoption of more democratic legislature, which allows cross fertilisation of ideas among the people.
  • Change of attitude by the law enforcement agents when dealing demonstrators.
  • An impartial police force which services the people first instead of Authorities.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe fact sheet

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