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on Parliament from WOZA 16 days protest
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
November 28, 2012
members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched in two separate
processions to Parliament
at noon on 27th November 2012. This protest is the launch of the
WOZA 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence under the international
theme: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's
Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women! But WOZA will
use a shortened version - PEACE NOW!
groups merged 5 meters from Parliament entrance and closed the distance
between them and a squad of Riot police manning the entrance door
As the activists
arrived, Police immediately tried to send them away from the door
but the determined human rights defenders began their protest program.
The program included the singing of a Shona language song and kneeling
coordinator Jenni Williams then went to the entrance to deliver
the Woza Moya Newsletter containing the 16 Days demands. Two 'shivering
with fear' parliamentary officers managed to take the document
before being shoved out of the way by glaring intelligence officers.
The intelligence officers attempted to ensure Williams only spoke
with them. As this engagement happened Williams was roughly pulled
by the arm from the back by a suited man who seemed to be a parliamentarian
intent on violence, he pulled Williams out the way to get into the
then made short speeches outlining the demands. A male member chanting
a WOZA slogan 'you strike a woman and you strike a rock'
to the amusement of male bystanders, spoke of the need to remove
the Zanu PF militia who are now manning boreholes and politicizing
the distribution of water.
programme was then closed with more slogans. Journalists who were
in attendance then began to ask questions of Williams and other
participants and a mini press conference ensured. Impatient Riot
Police took exception to this and became loud in their attempts
to disperse Williams and the journalists.
of parliament were seen looking through the windows and smiling
their encouragement. WOZA pray that they took time to read the list
of demands contained in the Woza Moya newsletter.
No members were
beaten or arrested during the protest and apart from overzealousness
on the part of some junior officers who threatened to beat members
at the back of the protest, police behaved with restraint.
members demand a strong Declaration of Rights
- right to equality on basis of gender - women to have
equal access to jobs and employment, equal pay, to acquire land
and inherit property.
b. Right to
education - free but quality primary and affordable secondary
education and access to vocational education. As a way to correct
the injustice of the past 10 years of prioritising defence over
education we demand this right be fully justiciable.
c. Right to
protest and assemble freely (section 4:16) and the police to respect
this right and to protest without clearance.
d. The Right
to personal liberty and right to be informed of the reason for arrest.
We want the right to free and safe streets and personal security.
and quality health care.
f. Clean water,
sanitation, clean environment.
g. There should
be a better provision for children's rights and expansion
in the bill of rights including social economic political and cultural
rights. For example the right to earn a living
(protection of informal sector).
h. Labour rights
- the right to strike, safety, non-discrimination in employment
on ethnic basis
members general DEMANDS
1. A Ministry
of Women's Affairs to promote affirmative action
2. There must
be separation of powers and members feel that devolution will help
promote total people participation in how they want to be governed.
3. Members said
the executive must not interfere with the judiciary and must let
the judiciary be independent and for justice to prevail in the country.
4. Members said
they want the rule of law to be protected and promoted in the new
5. Members want
to see a change in the police force behaviour and in the way they
do their job. They believe that the presidential appointment method
is the root cause for politicisation of the security sector.
6. Members want
equal representation of women in all elected institutions and commissions.
7. Strong Human
Rights Commission that will fully recognise and protect all human
rights ensuring that all cases of human rights are dealt with.
Peace commission for transitional justice which will provide for
restitution from perpetrators for Gukurahundi crimes and those victims
will be compensated.
9. Culture Commission
to promote traditional culture that respects human rights
Commission to identify disadvantaged and provide affirmative action
Land Commission for distribution of land ensuring that women benefit
the most as they are serious farmers.
12. A strong
Provincial and Local Government. Members want a devolved system
of government and that can effectively administer devolution for
development within its region and ensure natural resources develop
their immediate community. Members said they want devolution of
powers 'high and low' but are prepared to accept a start
toward this system and develop it by amendments to the constitution.
They do not accept Zanu PF's version - decentralisation as
it has already been in place and has not resulted in shared and
devolved decision making.
a. Members said
they want policy change. They want to elect their provincial governors
as a principle of democracy.
b. Members want
a Local authority that has the power to control natural resources
and make all development decisions.
c. Fair distribution
of revenues between centre and provinces.
the WOZA fact
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