What Tolerance?

“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 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.,” said WOZA in a statement.

WOZA said the demonstration, in which the four women were arrested, together with 61 others who were later released without charge the same day, was entirely peaceful.

The four women have been in jail since last Thursday when the demonstration took place and are only expected in court on Tuesday.

“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?”

The organisation said detention in appalling conditions was the reality for human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.

“Thirty 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.”