WOZA protests against power cuts


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More than 500 Women of Zimbabwe Arise supporters on 19 April 2007 held simultaneous demonstrations at several government offices in Bulawayo to protest against power cuts.

The group was protesting against frequent power outages and poor service as part of its “Power to the People” campaign, a series of actions leading up to the presidential elections planned for March 2008.

According to WOZA director Jenni Williams, police told one of the women who had been arrested that they would “behead” Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, another WOZA leader, the next time they were arrested.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE343, WOZA POWER OUTAGE PROTESTS DRAW HARSH POLICE

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

07HARARE343

2007-04-24 15:36

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5307

PP RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0343/01 1141536

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 241536Z APR 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1394

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1583

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1449

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1587

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0254

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0850

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1215

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1642

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4046

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1412

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2070

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0710

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1804

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 000343

 

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: 04/24/2017

TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: WOZA POWER OUTAGE PROTESTS DRAW HARSH POLICE

RESPONSE

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.5 b/d

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Over 500 Women of Zimbabwe Arise! (WOZA) supporters on

April 19 held simultaneous demonstrations at several

government offices in Bulawayo to protest frequent power

outages; police arrested more than 80. Approximately 450

WOZA supporters staged a second series of simultaneous

protests at five government offices in Harare on April 23;

police arrested more than 50 more activists. In both

incidents police used harsh treatment and threats to

intimidate WOZA supporters. Undeterred, WOZA has plans for

another demonstration in the Harare city center in early May.

End Summary.

 

————————————–

WOZA Attempts To Turn Off GOZ’s Lights

————————————–

 

2. (U) Continuing civil society’s recent push against the

Mugabe regime, over 500 WOZA supporters held simultaneous

demonstrations on Thursday, April 19 in front of three

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) offices in

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city. The group was protesting

frequent power outages and poor service as part of WOZA’s

“Power to the People” campaign, a series of actions leading

up to the presidential elections planned for March 2008.

 

3. (U) Bulawayo police arrested more than 80 WOZA supporters

and subjected numerous detainees to humiliating and harsh

treatment. A news release from WOZA reported that police at

the Luveve police station in Bulawayo forced 18 arrestees to

strip and to remain undressed for the entire day. Police

released all the WOZA arrestees by Friday evening after

charging them with crimes against public order.

 

4. (U) Bulawayo police also arrested two young WOZA

supporters when they attempted to deliver food for the

arrestees. Two officers of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s

notorious Law and Order division reportedly beat one of the

two and tied her wrists with an electric cord, threatening to

plug it in if she did not divulge the source of the money for

the food. According to WOZA director Jenni Williams, the

officers also told the young woman that they would “behead”

Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, another WOZA leader, the

next time they were arrested.

 

5. (C) Approximately 450 WOZA members followed-up the

Bulawayo protests with similar demonstrations in front of

five ZESA offices around Harare on Monday, April 23. Harare

police arrested more than 50 more WOZA supporters, including

10 babies. The arrestees were taken to the Kuwadzana police

station. A WOZA spokesperson told us that police were seen

beating two of the detainees, but the extent of the injuries

remained unknown. Police have denied the arrestees access to

lawyers.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

 

HARARE 00000343 002 OF 002

 

 

6. (C) The police response to these latest WOZA protests

indicates that the regime remains fearful of the growing

momentum of civil society and opposition actions —

especially in light of the increased international attention

on recent events. Despite arrests and occasional harsh

treatment of WOZA protesters, Williams informed us that WOZA

plans to organize another demonstration in the Harare city

center in early May. End Comment.

DELL

 

(1 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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