Jenni Williams demanded to be arrested


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The leaders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu demanded to be arrested by police in Bulawayo after police had used batons to violently break up a crowd of 200 and arrested five women.

The women were staging a silent march in the city demanding that civil society be given a voice in the Southern African Development Community initiated mediation talks between the government and the Movement for Democratic Change.

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were arrested later.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE503, WOZA’S SILENT MARCH ATTRACTS HARSH RESPONSE FROM

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE503

2007-06-07 13:31

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8569

PP RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0503/01 1581331

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 071331Z JUN 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1560

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1616

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1483

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1620

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0279

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0885

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1248

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1676

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4084

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1445

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2103

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0743

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1837

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000503

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

USAID FOR M. COPSON AND E. LOKEN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/2017

TAGS: PHUM PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: WOZA’S SILENT MARCH ATTRACTS HARSH RESPONSE FROM

POLICE

 

REF: HARARE 00343

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) supporters staged a

“silent march” on June 6 in Bulawayo to demand inclusion in

mediation talks between the government and the main

opposition party; police used violence to disperse the crowd

of 200 and arrested five women. WOZA leaders Jenni Williams

and Magodonga Mahlangu were arrested later. All seven women

remain in custody and reports of injuries are unconfirmed.

We have provided a recommended press statement in paragraph

5. End Summary.

 

———————————–

WOZA Holds Silent March For A Voice

———————————–

 

2. (U) In an effort to give a voice to civil society in the

SADC-initiated mediation talks between the Government of

Zimbabwe (GOZ) and the main opposition party Movement for

Democratic Change (MDC), Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

supporters on June 6 staged a “silent march” in Bulawayo, the

country’s second city. Police used batons to violently break

up the crowd of 200 and arrested five women. WOZA leaders

Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were arrested later

when marchers regrouped in front of the police station and

demanded to be arrested in a show of solidarity. All seven

women remain in custody and reports of injuries are

unconfirmed. Approximately 15 other marchers have sought

medical attention for minor injuries.

 

——————————————-

The Timeworn Tactic: Beat, Arrest and Stall

——————————————-

 

3. (U) Kassam Ncube, the lawyer representing the arrestees,

told poloff that police permitted him access to the arrestees

the evening of June 6 and they did not appear to be injured.

He added, however, that the arrestees may have been too

intimidated by the police in the room to speak freely. There

is particular concern for the safety of Williams given recent

threats of violence against her leveled by Bulawayo police

officers (reftel).

 

4. (U) Ncube also told us that police denied him access to

his clients on June 7 and chased him out of the station.

They also denied the arrestees food delivered by supporters.

Ncube hopes that the police will take the arrestees to court

on Friday — if not, the group will remain in jail over the

weekend.

 

—————————

Recommended Press Statement

—————————

 

5. (SBU) Post recommends the following language for a

Department press statement.

 

“We condemn the action of the Government of Zimbabwe in

 

HARARE 00000503 002 OF 002

 

 

suppressing a peaceful demonstration in Bulawayo by Women of

Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), which was calling for a voice in

mediation talks over the future of the country. In view of

recent public threats by police in Bulawayo to harm WOZA

National Director Jenni Williams we express particular

concern and hold the government accountable for her safety.

 

This latest attack on civil society further accentuates the

need for immediate dialogue among all stakeholders concerned

with halting Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic

crisis. We again call on the Government of Zimbabwe to

respect the rule of law and the rights of all Zimbabweans to

petition their government for change.”

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

6. (C) Despite increased international attention and the

SADC-initiated mediation talks, security forces continue to

wield batons to violently break up peaceful demonstrations as

an automatic response. This latest event further

demonstrates that the GOZ views civil society as a threat to

crush rather than as a social partner with valid concerns.

End Comment.

DELL

 

(4 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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