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Police hunt for Woza leaders


Police on Friday stormed a private Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) meeting in Suburbs as they intensified their hunt for leaders of the combative women’s pressure group.

Woza lawyer Kosam Ncube confirmed the incident saying the police wanted to arrest award-winning activists, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu.

Ncube said the police had, however, declined to disclose the charges preferred against the pair.

“I can confirm that the police have said they are looking for Jenni (Williams) and Magodonga but they are not clear if they want them to turn themselves in or what. They said the purpose of the raid was to apprehend the two,” he said.

Williams told NewsDay the police pounced on them while they were having a meeting at a private property in Suburbs.

“This was a Woza meeting at Suburbs; it was a private meeting at a private place. They came to the property and when we asked for a search warrant, they did not produce any. We then suggested that we call our lawyer, and while we were at it, they started breaking in.

“When the lawyer came, he was also threatened. We managed to escape through the back door. They (police) have since taken occupation of the residence. There is no charge. It is not criminal to have a private Woza meeting at a private residential place. We are a registered organisation going about our human rights work. We have not done anything illegal. There is no basis for this,” she said.

Williams said she was surprised by claims of a charge against them.

Strenuous efforts to get a comment from the police proved fruitless as they did not answer their landline phone while the Bulawayo spokesperson Mandlenkosi Moyo did not answer his mobile phone.

Woza activists, both in Bulawayo and Harare, have frequently been targeted by the police for their demonstrations against numerous human rights violations in the country.

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