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raid, invade WOZA house
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
June 12, 2011
At eleven am
on 10th June 2011, seven or eight men who identified themselves
as police officers arrived at the gate of a venue WOZA members use
for their internal meetings. They did not produce any search warrant
and were extremely aggressive. A lawyer for human rights was immediately
asked to attend the scene to demand any search warrant and observe
the processes police would undertake.
Two of the police
officers noticed at the gate were notorious perpetrators of torture
George Levison Ngwenya and Moyo from Law and Order department of
Bulawayo Central Police Station. WOZA members present resolved to
exit through the backyard and moments after riot police arrived
and police forced the motorised gate open and gained entry.
this a tenant who is not a member of WOZA arrived and was immediately
beaten by police who demanded to know where the occupants were.
The lawyers, Kossam Ncube and Nosimilo Chanayiwa from Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights had arrived outside the gate but were
threatened with extreme violence by police and ordered to leave.
police officers have invaded the property and over the weekend armed
guards were observed taking in the winter sun in the yard.
Later that afternoon,
the lawyer, Mr Ncube, visited the offices of the Law and Order Department
to seek clarification about the 'invasion'; he was refused
clarification and told to present Jennifer Williams and the owner
of the house to explain what the house was being used for.
owned vehicles are also within the yard but in this climate of lawlessness,
the owners would risk arrest if they went to get their cars.
Since the beginning
of the year, 38 WOZA members have been arbitrarily arrested and
24 detained and charged under the Criminal
Law Codification and Reform Act. Threats were made that upon
the eventual arrest of Williams and Mahlangu, they would be denied
bail and imprisoned in the male prison. This police harassment of
WOZA Human rights Defenders provides leaders of the South African
Development Community (SADC) with direct proof of the intransigence
of the Mugabe regime and their refusal to respect the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) of which they are guarantors. This
proves there is no political will to implement respect for freedoms
of assembly and expression and end harassment of human rights defenders.
The practice of persecution and punishment by arrest, detention
and prosecution in the absence of any genuine suspicion of criminal
activity needs urgent addressing through security sector reform.
of WOZA in this way shows their inability to deliver a new Zimbabwe
where people can live a dignified life, free to express their views.
It is because of this that the non-violent social justice movement
remains fast expanding and has capacity to mobilise Zimbabweans
to demand full enjoyment of all their rights.
It is our view
that that the raiding of our members' private meeting place
means the regime has made the last leap from its 'pretended
democracy' and respect for the rule of law into the dark abyss
of authoritarianism and militarisation."
WOZA call on
SADC to immediately enforce implementation of the GPA and protect
Zimbabweans from this violent state and bring perpetrators to book.
WOZA call on the Joint Operation Monitoring Implementation Committee
(JOMIC) to investigate this illegal raid and force the police to
leave our premises forthwith. WOZA call on Police Commissioner Chihuri
to order his officers to cease occupation of our premises with immediate
effect and return intact any possessions taken. And to publicly
apologise to WOZA. WOZA call on all police officers to refuse to
be used to carry out illegal acts in the name of political supremacy,
we call on their family members to prevail upon them to think carefully
about their future and personal sanity. There will be a time for
their action to be judged if not on this earth then in heaven. WOZA
call on local, regional and international human rights defenders
to directly lobby their presidents or prime ministers to put pressure
through diplomatic means to stop persecution of human rights defenders
and especially women human rights defenders. Special emphasis should
be on their rights to peacefully hold their own government to account
by direct or indirect street engagement. WOZA call on Zimbabweans
to mobilise themselves to nonviolently demand respect for people
will before it is too late. Your mothers need your help. WOZA as
a direct action nonviolent movement, mother of the nation will take
action, we will not be silenced.
the WOZA fact
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