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82 WOZA members remain in custody in Bulawayo overnight
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
April 19, 2007

News update Thursday 19th April - 9.30pm

It has been confirmed that 82 members are in custody in Bulawayo this evening following arrests after protests at ZESA offices. Others arrested were released this afternoon. Four mothers with babies were released into their lawyer's custody and are required to report back to Bulawayo Central tomorrow morning.

28 are being held at Bulawayo Central, 10 at Sauerstown, 34 at Queen's Park and 10 at Mzilikazi.

Disturbing reports have emerged that the 18 members who were being held at Luveve Police Station were made to strip naked, spending the whole day in a state of undress. When two members of the WOZA support team attempted to bring food into the group, they too were arrested. One of these young girls, aged 18, was tortured by Detective Assistant Inspector Tshuma and Sergeant George Levison Ngwenya of CID Law and Order. She was beaten and an electric cord was tied around her waist with threats that they would plug it in if she did not divulge where the money to buy the food had come from. She was later released and has since received medical attention for her injuries. She also delivered a message from DAI Tshuma and DS Ngwenya that Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu would be beheaded when next caught by police and WOZA members would never see them again.

Lawyers were not informed that members were being taken to Mzilikazi and the whereabouts of the group being held at Mzilikazi was only discovered at 8pm after a team went from police station to police station trying to find the missing members. As a result, this group did not receive any food for dinner. They actually have not eaten all day as the entire group was also denied food at lunchtime, even though the lawyer had received permission that food could be brought in. The head of CID Law and Order at Bulawayo Central, G Ndlovu chased those with the food away. Some food was taken and locked away in Ngwenya office. There is no food available for those in police custody, as government does not have budget for food.

Another incident occurred when WOZA Co-ordinator, Jenni Williams was attempting to deliver food to Bulawayo Central. DAI Tshuma came upon Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu parked ready to off-load food. Tshuma, who was driving a blue van, blocked Williams' vehicle that had to manoeuvre to get away.

It is unclear what charges have been brought against the group, if any, but some have already been fingerprinted and some forced to respond to charges without a lawyer present.

You can contact the police stations on the following numbers:

Bulawayo Central: (+263 9) 72515 / 61706 Mzilikazi: (+263 9) 202908 / 212905 Queens Park: (+263 9) 22641/2 Sauerstown: (+263 9) 200960 / 218432

WOZA press statement 19th April 2007
(Protest note below and photos available upon request) Visit for updates


Eight protests took place at Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) offices across Bulawayo this morning, demanding 'power to the people'. Approximately 100 WOZA members have been arrested so far.

At 8 am this morning, WOZA members assembled at eight different ZESA offices - Pumula, Mpopoma, Entumbane, Tshabalala, Magwegwe, Nkulumane, Nketa 6 and Luveve - holding simultaneous 'tough love' protests. Over 500 members from 16 different areas of Bulawayo took part in the community-level protests.

The protests at Magwegwe, Entumbane, Nketa 6 and Mpopoma took place without incident and the participants were able to disperse before police arrived. At Pumula, approximately 70 members as they were dispersing (the police station is next door to the ZESA office.) They were taken to Pumula Police Station before being transferred to Bulawayo Central Station.

At Luveve, members had protested and were beginning to disperse when police arrested people some distance away from the ZESA office, as they were catching transport back to their homes. Approximately 20 people are being held at Luveve Police Station.

At Nkulumane, nine people were arrested at the ZESA offices and are being held at Tshabalala Police station. Lawyers have been called and are trying to get access to those arrested.

The protests signify the launch of the 'power to the people' by March 2008 campaign. Today's protests began with members queuing up as the offices made to open. They then marched in and handed over protest notes and either sat or stood inside and outside the offices until addressed.

In Luveve and Entumbane, officials attempted to divert the protesters by saying someone was coming to address them whilst making hasty calls to the police station. In Nkulumane, nine members were loaded into a cream Nissan pick-up, registration 846-101 Z by plain-clothed officers.

In all the areas the protest notes (see below) and placards were delivered to the local ZESA offices but officials told the peaceful protesters to go and protest at the town office, as there were no officials with authority to address them present. As members dispersed security guards were seen collecting up the protest notes and placards.

The contact numbers for the police stations are below. Please call and ask why innocent men and women are being arrested for addressing legitimate consumer complaints to their service provider, ZESA.

Bulawayo Central on +263 9 72515
Luveve +263 9 520801/2/3
Tshabalala +263 9 496755

Protest Note

ZIMBABWE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY AUTHORITY (ZESA) I am a power consumer and have been your customer for many years but your service has been getting worse in the last three years. I have run out of patience; your service is no longer empowering anyone but is draining many pockets. I want POWER and deserve to be given all the basic requirements a human being needs. I know ZESA is also a victim of a bad and mismanaged economy but think that ZESA should do more to deal with internal corruption.

You were singing ZESA has come with the power - 'ZESA yawuya nePower' - saka ZESA yazoyenda nePower yacho? 'IZESA isibuye lamandla kagetsi' - pho aseyengaphi lawo mandla? We demand POWER to the people for real!

My last account from ZESA was for $ . . . . . . .. . . . . for 30 days of service.

I did not have any electricity for the following period of time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . hours . . . . . . . . . . days . . . . . . . . . . . . .. in the last month and want my account to be credited for this amount of time.

As your customer I have come to complain and request compensation. My demand is simple.
1. Stop turning a blind eye to corruption in your company and deal with the criminals within.
2. Credit my account for the hours or days you did not provide me with POWER.
3. Find us alternative sources of power - cheaper firewood, candles and matches, as we cannot afford to pay $10,000 for one candle and $1,000 for a box of matches. You are refusing to give us regular and efficient POWER so you should pay for us to have candlelight.

Yours faithfully,

Impatient for POWER

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