WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) staged what has become known as their annual Valentine Day’s protest on Friday when they marched to the Mhlahlandlela Government Complex demonstrating against corruption and Salarygate.
The march started from three assembly points, corner Herbert Chitepo and 3rd Avenue, the High Court and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street and 12th Avenue, before they converged at the intersection of 10th Avenue and Fort Street to head for Mhlahlandlela amid a heavy police presence.
As three groups converged at 10th Avenue and Herbert Chitepo Street, there was traffic chaos as police failed to control the Woza women.
The placard waving women sang and denounced corruption that has seen some public sector executives bagging millions in salaries annually while ordinary workers earned slave wages.
Woza national co-ordinator Jennie Wiliams addressed the hundreds of women who gathered outside the Mhlahlandlela complex and urged them to stand up and fight for their rights.
Williams said the new Constitution had changed the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) from being a force to a service and therefore expected them to facilitate such marches against corruption.
“Police today (Friday) woke up at 5am just to stop a peaceful demonstration instead of arresting those who are stealing from parastatals,” said Williams.
She said Zimbabweans were tired of police manning roadblocks demanding bribes instead of checking for licences and defects on vehicles.
Woza programmes co-ordinator Magodonga Mahlangu accused the government of disposing of the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) even though the Constitution stipulates that every child has a right to education.
“The government promised free education. We give them up to December 30 2014 to adhere to the new Constitution. In 2015, no child should be expelled from school for non-payment of school fees,” said Mahlangu.
She raised a red rose and said the flower was a symbol of love which represented dignity for citizens. This should bloom through the Constitution.
“Our leaders are accepting bribes and they have become enemies of the people.
“Arrest the people who are paying themselves hefty salaries. Pregnant women must not pay when delivering in hospital,” she added.