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and MOZA unite in prayer for peace and declare a victory for love
and non violence
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
March 31, 2007
Five hundred Members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) of Men of
Zimbabwe Arise number conducted a prayer vigil at St Marys Roman
Catholic church in Bulawayo Saturday 31 March 2007. although there
was heavy police presence there were no arrests.
gathered to pray for peace in Zimbabwe, this day was chosen to commemorate
the prayer vigil held two years ago on the night of the 2005 parliamentary
election where over 250 women were arrested and many brutally beaten
by police in Harare as they conducted a prayer vigil.
has special significance as political violence is on the increase
with hundreds of activist arrested and injured. Prayers focused
on the need for citizens to refrain from retaliation and for Police
to refuse to harm people.
As the pray
opened Nkosi Sikelela iAfrica was sung followed by a prayer that
Zimbabweans will continue to choose nonviolence and love over violence
and hate, and use peaceful resistance to hold this government and
politicians accountable for bad governance causing great suffering
for all Zimbabweans.
The vigil went
on for one and half hours with signing and powerful prayers calling
for lasting peace in Zimbabwe. Several women took the floor preaching
and quoting scriptures such as Matthew 5:9 ‘Blessed be the peacemakers’.
Women also testified as to how they were assaulted on Election night
by Police in Harare but called on Zimbabweans to remain committed
to peaceful protest. The vigil was closed with Timothy 2:1 ‘You
then my child be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and
what you have heard from me through my witnesses and entrust to
faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Share
in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.’
participants gathered in the Church but were moved across to the
hall when it became free at 2:30
pm. It was as members were moving over that police details, including
a PISA officer Abraham Dapi arrived. Dapi who is well known to WOZA
since he earlier chased Williams and Mahlangu through town after
he and other police officers disrupted a meeting. Today, seeking
to surreptitious, Dapi and other Police officers arrived by Commuter
Omnibus. They did not go into the hall but sat on the church wall
and observed. More police officers from the law and order department
came and their numbers swelled to over 15. A law and order department
officer Sergeant George Levison Ngwenya manhandled the WOZA security
at the door and asked what was going on in the Hall and threatened
her holding her by the scruff of her neck.
As the prayer
vigil was drawing to an end it became obvious that police officers
were in position and waiting on further instruction. As the members
disbursed Archbishop Pius Ncube came and shook hands with the members
one by one as they dispersed giving encouragement and reminding
people to disburse peacefully. The police officers just continued
to observe close by.
Two police vehicles,
truck, Defender and a Traffic vehicle monitored as they prayers
After all the
members had dispersed, the leaders, including Jenni Williams began
to leave. After shaking hands with the Archbishop they made to walk
out of the church grounds. As Jenni left she greeted the police
officers who are well known to her. Sgt Ngwenya commented that she
had been in a meeting to which she replied that there had been a
prayer service. ‘Who were you praying for’ he quipped – ‘For You’
She replied. Ngwenya then roughly pulled one of the prayer organizers
aside and asked her when Jenni had become a Roman Catholic. (Williams
is not only a Roman Catholic but was in her home parish St Mary’s)
and other leaders walked away, police were seen rushing to get into
their blue pick up to follow Williams. Fortunately a WOZA security
vehicle was quick to pick up Williams and the other leaders and
WOZA would like
to commend Archbishop Pius Ncube for his courage and for the encouragement
to members who he knew would have to walk past police officers known
for their brutality. We also pay tribute to members of WOZA and
MOZA for braving the Public
Order Security Act (POSA) and the harsh repressive environment,
and their courage to come out in hundreds to pray for peace. We
call on the families of police officer Dapi and Ngwenya to give
them ‘tough love’ and take them to church to pray for guidance.
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