Women of Zimbabwe Arise released

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The four activists from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were arrested and detained in Harare last week were released Tuesday.

They were released this morning after having spent all weekend and the Independence holiday in police cells.

They were arrested last Thursday in central Harare while protesting against the poor service being delivered by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).

Those who had been detained were WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu as well as other members Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani.

Williams said they were released without charge and were not taken to court.

“We have just been released. The Attorney General instructed the police to release us as they could not prosecute since they had no evidence of any crime committed,” said Williams.

Officers from the Law and Order Department at Harare Central had tried to force them to pay ‘admission of guilt’ fines on Saturday to ‘buy’ their freedom but they had refused, according to one of the women.

Last Thursday police rounded up and arrested a handful of women whom they threw into police trucks.

However, before they could drive away dozens other women who were also in the protests handed themselves over to the police and voluntarily joined their arrested colleagues in the police trucks.

The police later that day released all but four of the women who were regarded as ringleaders of the protest.

The protests involved scores of women carrying yellow cards which were meant to serve as a warning against ZESA for its continued failure to deliver service, including revising their billing system which has caused a lot of consternation among residents in all the country’s urban centres.

They threatened to mobilise a nationwide boycott of the power utility’s tariffs.