WOZA claims victory


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Women of Zimbabwe Arise leader Jenni Williams claimed a significant victory when she organised a “People’s Charter” campaign in Filabusi, about 100km South-East of Bulawayo and was addressed by the district administrator.

She told United States embassy officials that their planned march was stopped by police before they staged it indicating that police had advance knowledge of the protest.

Police arrested two WOZA members and the rest marched to the police station demanding to be arrested as well.

Police, however, called the district administrator to addr4ess them and listen to their complaints.

Williams said WOZA was pleased with the district administrator’s attempt to engage the group and was encouraged that police kept copies of their charter to pass on to provincial leaders.

She said that in contrast to the brutal treatment they had received in Bulawayo, WOZA members considered the event in Filabusi a significant victory and a reaffirmation of their peaceful resistance approach.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE518, WOZA LEADERS RELEASED THEN CLAIM VICTORY AT SECOND

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

07HARARE518

2007-06-13 14:36

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4084

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0518/01 1641436

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 131436Z JUN 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1584

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1626

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1493

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1630

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0289

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0895

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1258

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1686

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4097

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1455

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2116

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0755

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1847

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//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000518

 

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: N/A

TAGS: PHUM PGOV WMN ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: WOZA LEADERS RELEASED THEN CLAIM VICTORY AT SECOND

DEMOSTRATION

 

REF: A. HARARE 503

 

B. 06 HARARE 01433

 

———————————

‘Silent March’ Arrestees Released

———————————

 

1. (U) All seven Women of Zimbabwe Arise! (WOZA) activists

arrested in Bulawayo on June 6 (Ref A) have been released.

On June 8 police released without charge the five WOZA

members initially arrested at the demonstration, and released

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu on June 10

after charging the two leaders with violating public order

sections of the Criminal Code. The two women posted

Z$100,000 bail (about US$1.50 at the parallel market exchange

rate) and are due back in court on June 18.

 

2. (U) Neither Williams nor Mahlangu was injured while in

custody; however, they told us that conditions at the jail

were deplorable. Several of the other arrestees were not so

fortunate and required medical attention upon their release,

mostly for severe bruising from baton wielding police at the

time of arrest.

 

———————————————

WOZA Keeps Up the Pressure and Claims Victory

———————————————

 

3. (U) With Williams and Mahlangu fresh out of jail, WOZA

kept up the pressure. On June 11 more than 150 WOZA

supporters gathered in the rural town of Filabusi, located

about 1.5 hours from Bulawayo in Matabeleland South Province,

for a local launch of the group’s “People’s Charter” campaign

for social justice (Ref B.). Williams told us, however, that

the police must have had advanced warning because they

arrived at the staging area before the demonstration began

and arrested two WOZA activists.

 

4. (U) As was the case in Bulawayo on June 6, the WOZA

members not arrested marched to the police station and

demanded to be arrested in a show of solidarity. This time,

however, the police allowed them into the station and called

in the ruling party ZANU-PF district administrator to meet

with the women and listen to their complaints. Initial

reports from WOZA indicated that police had arrested the

group. When contacted later by lawyers representing the WOZA

members, the police claimed that they had only met with the

women and never made any arrests.

 

5. (SBU) Williams told us that WOZA was pleased with the

district administrator’s attempt to engage the group. She

was also encouraged that the police kept copies of the

“People’s Charter” to pass on to provincial leaders.

Williams added that in contrast to the brutal treatment they

had just received in Bulawayo, WOZA members considered the

event in Filabusi a significant victory and a reaffirmation

of their peaceful resistance approach.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

6. (SBU) WOZA continues to be one of Zimbabwe’s most active

and successful civil society groups. Despite police getting

 

HARARE 00000518 002 OF 002

 

 

the drop on the Filabusi demonstration, WOZA’s strategy of a

series of quick strike actions of one to two hundred

supporters in various parts of the country keeps the

government guessing where they might pop up next.

Additionally, their consistent focus on bread and butter

issues — school fees, food security, jobs — resonates well

in both urban and rural areas. End Comment.

DELL

 

(2 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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