WOZA calls for declaration of national disaster


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About 200 activists from Women of Zimbabwe Arise and Men of Zimbabwe Arise marched to the Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo calling on the government to declare a national disaster and demanding immediate food aid for all Zimbabweans.

The declaration addressed to Zimbabwean leaders, South African President Thabo Mbeki, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union chairmen called on them to put Zimbabweans ahead of their own needs.

“We have lost patience with your kind of ‘African solution’… If police officers arrest us or beat us as we make our demand, you must take it as another sign of your empty promises for a violence-free Zimbabwe and an unfortunate African solution to silence and disrespect citizens,” the declaration said.

Riot police dispersed the crowd and arrested WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE934, PROTESTS LEAD TO BEATINGS, ARRESTS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE934

2008-10-17 11:24

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8059

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0934/01 2911124

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 171124Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3576

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2362

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2480

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0990

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1758

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2113

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2534

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4966

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1629

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000934

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: PROTESTS LEAD TO BEATINGS, ARRESTS

 

REF: A. HARARE 592

B. HARARE 479

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) Two civil society groups led marches of 200 people

each this week, drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis

and crumbling educational infrastructure. In both instances,

police beat protesters to disburse the groups and arrested

those leading the marches. Despite the ongoing political

negotiations and calls for unity, it appears “business as

usual” prevails as police continue to use excessive force in

the face of peaceful demonstrations. END SUMMARY.

 

————————————

Students Protest Crumbling Education

————————————

 

2. (SBU) On October 14, approximately 200 youth, led by

officers of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU),

marched to parliament to present a petition detailing their

concerns about the state of education in Zimbabwe. The

University of Zimbabwe remains closed, as there is still no

water on campus. Riot police accompanied the students for

several blocks and initially did not appear concerned with

the march. On arrival at the parliament building, where the

members were convening for their first session, two ZINASU

leaders entered the building to present the petition and were

arrested inside the building. Outside, police beat the

students to disperse them. A third student outside,

protesting the excessive use of force, was also arrested. One

student fled and hid nearby; when police found her, they beat

her until she lost consciousness. The three students who

were arrested were released later that night after paying a

fine. Medical personnel treated a total of 26 students,

including one with a head injury who was held for observation

and released the next morning.

 

——————————————–

WOZA Calls for National Disaster Declaration

——————————————–

 

3. (U) In Bulawayo on October 16, Women of Zimbabwe Arise

(WOZA) and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA) led a march of about

200 people to Mhlahlandlela Government Complex to call on

government to declare a national disaster and to demand

immediate food aid for all Zimbabweans. They carried a

declaration addressed to Zimbabwean leaders, Thabo Mbeki, and

the SADC and AU Chairmen, calling on them to enact an

agreement and put Zimbabweans ahead of their own needs. The

declaration said, “we have lost patience with your kind of

‘African solution’… If police officers arrest us or beat us

as we make our demand, you must take it as another sign of

your empty promises for a violence free Zimbabwea and an

unfortunate African solution to silence and disrespect

citizens.”

 

4. (SBU) The protesters sat peacefully outside the building

and sang songs including “this is an issue men are failing to

solve”. After about 45 minutes, riot police arrived and

arrested WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu

and forcibly dispersed the rest of the crowd with batons,

breaking one woman’s finger. Seven women had been arrested

at the beginning of the protest when police rounded up black

market foreign currency dealers near the march’s starting

point and were released without charge later on October 16.

As of the morning of October 17, Williams and Mahlangu remain

in jail facing unknown charges. According to WOZA, Detective

 

HARARE 00000934 002 OF 002

 

 

Chief Inspector Ntini continues to deny the women’s lawyer

access to them.

 

5. (SBU) The WOZA protest came the day after 14 members were

due to face trial for a May protest in Harare (reftels). In

their previous court hearing on August 28, a Harare

magistrate told the state prosecutor that the trial was set

for October 15, and if the state was not ready to try the

case, it would be removed from remand (essentially, removing

it from the queue of cases to be tried). On October 15, the

State insisted it was ready for trial, but that the docket

was not available, so the trial could not yet proceed. The

magistrate nevertheless removed the case from remand.

 

DHANANI

 

(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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