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bash WOZA marching for power
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
May 10, 2011
At noon, five
processions began with approximately 2 000 members of Women and
Men of Zimbabwe Arise; all five protests were disturbed by riot
police officers who indiscriminately beat the peaceful activists.
The small group who had made it to the Lobengula Street office of
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC)
managed to deliver the yellow cards to the door but police quickly
ran to beat them. WOZA leaders are still confirming that no arrests
have been made and that the injured have all been assessed and attended.
Six members have already attended the WOZA triage team to receive
medication but the team are following up on an estimated 40 members
who were witnessed being beaten.
One of the injured
is Jenni Williams who managed to make it to the office entrance.
In an obviously racial targeting, every time other members crossed
the road to join Williams at the office steps, police officers ran
to beat them trying to make sure they would not manage to congregate.
At this time, members started to sing Mapurisa; usandishungurudze
(police officers do not harass us)
police were intend preventing a gathering on the steps, a huge group
of members managed to regroup a block away and made a fast seven
city block dash for the fife street office of ZETDC. At this office,
the peaceful protest occupied the front entrance causing the security
guards, one armed to lock the door. The hundreds of frustrated activists
spent 20 minutes toyi toying (danced) and sang "ZESA Into
oyenzayo siyayizonda" (ZESA we hate this thing you are doing).
Members were dispersed with a speech by Magodonga Mahlangu who told
people that police had beaten members at the main ZETDC office so
we had to relocate to this office to call on ZETDC to provide prepaid
meters and stop disconnecting people.
The police officers
left behind at the Lobengula street office were shortly joined by
a contingent of 30 riot police helmets and shields displayed only
to find the protest had relocated down town.
The office staff,
were heard to support the solution of prepaid meters, one officer
asked why the Riot police had disturbed their visitors who had a
genuine grievance. Many bystanders joined the protest upon hearing
that the issue was related to electricity. There was a general booing
of the police for beating the women when they are also affected
by the power cuts.
The load shedding
schedule means that most people cannot get their rest as the electricity
comes from 10pm to 3am. Most areas of Bulawayo have not had electricity
from 5am this morning and many go for days without power or reduction
of their bills.
signals the beginning of a 6 week "Power
to Poor People" Campaign to discipline the Zimbabwe Electricity
Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for daylight robbery.
Along with a protest launch, the campaign will feature the signing
of a petition dubbed the "Anti Abuse of Power" Petition;
completing of a time sheet of power cuts and the delivering of a
"yellow card" to the company. WOZA has campaigned for
affordable and available electricity since 2006 with its "power
to the people" campaigns. It is also hoped that today's
protest will put pressure on the company to stop disconnections
until they are able to deliver a better service to their customers.
- Stop cheating
fixed meter consumers, we demand prepaid meters.
- Please provide
cheaper firewood, candles and matches, we do not want to destroy
our environment by cutting down trees.
- We are tired
of 18 hour power cuts -provide proper timetables of load shedding.
put in place a proper and transparent billing system. Stop sending
metered consumer's estimates, send ACTUAL bills.
- Create a
smoother process of customer's claims for compensation.
- Review recruitment
policy and bring salaries to decent levels with our current economic
record. Professionalise staff performance and honesty. No more
luxury cars we need transformers.
- We will
record the exact hours we receive electricity for the last 2 weeks
of May while we get petition signatures which we will take to
Parliament and demand they review your monopoly and poor service.
You have cheated us for long enough, after we submit our demand
to parliament we will organise a RED card Campaign. Be warned
POWER TO THE POOR - ZERO service ZERO bill. HOKOYO!!
Last year, the
response of the company was to have their security arrest WOZA leaders
who spent 6 days in custody, 3 of those days the Independence Holiday.
arrested in three batches from 28 February to 7 March who were tortured
in custody had charges withdrawn before plea by the state at 8:30
am on 10 May when they appeared at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court.
Inside sources confirm that the state decided to respect a Supreme
Court ruling obtained by Williams and Mahlangu for a 2008 arrest.
The ruling granted that the two women had been wrongfully arrested
and detained and, as a result, had their rights and fundamental
freedoms violated. The full bench of the Supreme Court also found
that the state had failed to protect the activists from this abuse.
The two had spent 3 weeks in Mlondolozi Prison after a peaceful
link - http://wozazimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/yellow-card-zesa-2011.pdf.
link - http://wozazimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/may-2011-petition1.pdf.
Time sheet link - http://wozazimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/power-cut-time-sheet1.pdf.
the WOZA fact
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