Nine members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) were arrested on Monday night after they allegedly wrote on roads in Bulawayo’s western suburbs calling for the expulsion of Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.
Their lawyer Lizwe Jamela confirmed the arrests yesterday, adding seven activists had been detained at West Commonage Police Station.
He said the other two could not be located by late yesterday.
“Seven spent the night in police cells at Western Commonage Police Station,” Jamela said.
“They are accused of writing on the roads. We are yet to attend to the case.”
Those arrested include Vigilant Lunga, Violet Dube, Theresa Phiri, Catherine Dhliwayo, Eunice Moyo, Mpikelelo Moyo, Sibongile Lumbile, Miriam Ngcebetsha and Otilia Dube.
Woza leader Jenn Williams said the seven activists who were detained at Western Commonage had complained that they were being denied food.
“Today (yesterday) in the morning the seven were allegedly loaded into a police van at 9am and we do not know where they were being taken to,” Williams said.
“We think they were being taken to where the messages have been painted on the road.
“We just know that the seven were at Western Commonage police, but we did not have access to them.”
Some of the alleged offensive messages read: “Fire Chihuri, the partisan police commissioner, Devolution for development, We want separation of powers and we want education.”
Williams said they feared the women would be tortured while in custody.
“We really fear for their lives as we still do not know where they are,” she said.
“We have tried to look for them at Entumbane and other police stations, but we did not find them.
“We have since engaged lawyers to assist us look for them and deal with the case.”
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in a meeting.
Matabeleland Criminal Investigation Department Law and Order co-ordinator Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza said he was out of Bulawayo when contacted for comment.