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Woza activists acquitted

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Six members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) pressure group, who were facing charges of inscribing graffiti in Bulawayo’s western suburbs denouncing the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) were on Friday acquitted after the State failed to prove its case against them.

The women allegedly painted graffiti on roads leading to the western suburbs in May.

Janet Dube (48), Sibekezela Nkomo (35), Thobekile Ncube (37), Loyce Ndlovu (50), Theresa Phiri (50) and Juliet Nyathi of Iminyela and Pelandaba were discharged at the close of the State case by Bulawayo provincial magistrate Rose Dube.

This was after they made an application for discharge at the close of the State case through their lawyer, Lizwe Jamela of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights last week.

They were facing charges of malicious damage to property as defined by the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

In their application the women argued that the State had failed to prove a case against them and if there was any damage they caused to the roads, it was trivial.

Charges against them were that on May 18 at 9pm, the six, in the company of three others who are still at large, met at a bus stop in Iminyela suburb. It was alleged they agreed to write various messages to express grievances towards Zesa.

They went on to inscribe messages on the tarmac in various suburbs and along Khami and Hyde Park roads.

Some of the messages read: “Do not politicise Zesa”, “Yes to power, Pre-paid meters for all”, “De-monopolise Zesa”, “Power to poor people at affordable rates”, “Better service delivery” and “No to violence — Woza”.

The arrest came a week after Woza demonstrated at the Zesa offices in the city centre against the utility’s monopoly and continued long hours of load-shedding and high rates.

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