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Woza framed?


Pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), which recently won a High Court order barring police from camping at its premises for the past 11 days, Wednesday discovered live bullets and material denouncing President Robert Mugabe “planted” in their offices.

The organisation, whose offices are located in Suburbs, Bulawayo, said they also discovered that “some chemical had been sprayed in their office kitchen while documents were tampered with”.

A NewsDay crew visited the Woza offices Wednesday and was shown two live bullets allegedly planted in a Ford Ranger truck at the premises.

The news crew was also shown the papers titled Main Agenda with the subtitle: “The main agenda is to rise and change the government”, calling on the people to revolt against the government in a similar manner as what happened in Egypt, Libya and purportedly Sudan.

Part of the “planted” material read: “We are tired of President Mugabe and he must go by all means. He is full of abuse of power with his Ministers.

He has no respect of the rule of law. Everyone wants him out. Let’s rise and remove him now . . .We will do it. Others have done it in Libya, Sudan (sic) and Egypt.”

The news crew was taken through the offices and shown one of the bedroom windows allegedly broken by the police officers guarding the premises presumably to escape the cold in the night.

The news crew was also shown the beds and blankets that were thrown all over as well as male and female condoms placed in khaki envelopes with the Woza offices address inscribed on them. In an interview, Woza director Jenni Williams said the discovery confirmed fears also expressed in their court application that the police would plant material in their offices to try and justify arresting them.

“This is just open harassment. We are a non-violent organisation advocating for social justice using peaceful means. Maybe it is a faction of Zanu PF that is trying to use us to convey their message, but they should find other media,” said Williams.

“We have never advocated for violence and we shall never do that. Some of our documents have been taken and our offices were turned upside down despite the court order stating that they were not supposed to touch anything.” Williams expressed fears that the police would seek a search warrant and use the planted documents and live bullets to arrest them. The chemical that was sprayed in the kitchen has resulted in a number of our members falling sick and we do not know of the full health implications,” she said.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo declined to comment on the matter, referring questions to the Criminal Investigation Department. National chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena also declined to comment on the matter.

“I do not want to comment on that. I do not want to comment on the matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, two members of the NewsDay news crew had to seek medical attention yesterday upon returning from the Woza offices.

One of the crew members started feeling dizzy and complained of a headache because of the apparently toxic smell in the Woza office kitchen while the other started experiencing chest pains and dizziness.

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