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Mabutweni and Iminyela residents demonstrate, five arrested
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
October 25, 2006

More than 60 residents of Mabutweni and Iminyela, some of them Women Of Zimbabwe Arise members, staged a demonstration at the Mpopoma Housing Offices in Bulawayo, around 9am today. Five members were arrested, including a 75-year old grandmother Thalitha Mthendezi. They were seen being taken to Mpopoma Traffic Police Station.

The residents were protesting against Joshua Mafu, so called Chairman of The Residents Association, who has teemed up with his "partner", Fabion Dube -Superintendent of Mpopoma Housing Office, in illegally evicting residents from their houses and allocating them to their cronies at a month?s notice. Thirty-six residents, some members of WOZA, are scheduled to be evicted at month end.

The protesters, who were carrying placards and a WOZA banner, marched into the housing premises, where they scattered newsletters outlining theirs grievances and demands before dispersing. Activity at the housing offices came to a standstill as employees, curious about the protest, came out to talk to the women as well as pick up some newsletters.

Sources say plain clothed officials from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had already positioned themselves at the offices early morning in anticipation of a demonstration but had left by the time the protest began.

The women were also demonstrating against the Bulawayo City Council's refusal to give them the opportunity to buy the homes under a home ownership scheme instead of keeping them on long leases, thereby allowing officials to remove long standing tenants from their homes and give leases to their friends or those who bribe them.

Mabutweni residents said the city council officials are also evicting orphans from the houses and maintain that no dependents are allowed to continue occupying the houses in the event of the official owner of the house dies.

The residents are also disgruntled with poor service delivery and the near dilapidated state of their ablution facilities.

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