About 185 Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members were today Thursday arrested following a demonstration at the Bulawayo police headquarters demanding the wide circulation of the draft constitution ahead of the referendum and an end to police brutality.
The protesters led by Magodonga Mahlangu were assaulted by police using batons before being whisked away to the Bulawayo Central Police station. Women who spoke to Radio Dialogue said the three political parties were being insincere in calling for Zimbabweans to vote yes to the draft constitution when the document has not been availed to ordinary Zimbabweans.
“Zanu PF is telling us to vote yes, the two MDC formations are also telling us to say yes to what they have already agreed on in our absence. We will not do that, we want to see what the document says, if it indeed captured what we said during outreach. Make the document available to us and we will vote at a referendum,” said one woman.
We are also demanding and end to police brutality, we are being abused and harassed, our sisters are being beaten for ‘loitering’ at night. We want the inclusive government to ensure that it (police brutality) stops immediately.”
The police briefly detained WOZA members, some who got arrested on their own accord after they presented themselves at Bulawayo Central Police Station.
The draft constitution has since passed through both houses of Parliament while Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Eric Matinenga has announced that the draft constitution will be taken to a referendum on March 16.
Lawyer representing WOZA Kossam Ncube said most of the women were released but about 10 men remain in custody.