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Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

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    Advocacy & campaigns

    What tolerance for ZESA Four?

    WOZA

    2010-04-22, Issue 478

    http://pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/63878

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    In his Independence Day address, President Robert Mugabe spoke of the need for Zimbabweans to “foster an environment of tolerance and treating each other with dignity and respect irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation." At the same time, four WOZA activists, Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani were spending their fourth day in the cold, dark, filthy cells of Harare Central Police Station.

    In his Independence Day address today, President Robert Mugabe spoke of the need for Zimbabweans to “foster an environment of tolerance and treating each other with dignity and respect irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation.” At the same time, four WOZA activists, Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa were spending their fourth day in the cold, dark, filthy cells of Harare Central Police Station. Their crime? Exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest and asking electricity service provider, ZESA, to improve their service and revise their flawed billing system. The demonstration in which the four women were arrested, together with 61 comrades who were released without charge later the same day, was entirely peaceful. The women have not been formally charged by police and yet have been subjected to an extended detention. Is this the tolerance, dignity and respect that the President is referring to?

    Detention in appalling conditions is the reality for human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. 30 years of independence from colonial rule is an achievement worthy of commemoration. How much sweeter would it have been if the party that helped to liberate the people of Zimbabwe was now not actively involved in their oppression? It is time that the promises of the liberation war be delivered to the people of Zimbabwe.
    This is a link to video footage of the WOZA demonstration to the ZESA headquarters in Harare that led to the arrest of the four women.

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