More than 100 members of the group, Women and Men of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, this afternoon presented a petition to Parliament of Zimbabwe in Harare, questioning the government’s economic blue print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) saying the ruling party has to clarify its contents and spell out intended beneficiaries.
The protesters say most people, women in particular, appear to be left out of the ZimAsset.
The WOZA members sang and danced in the streets of Harare today as part of their peaceful public protests to mark 16 days of activism against gender based violence.
One of the co-founder members of the organization, Jenni Williams, who presented the petition to officials at the parliament building, said most people do not understand the contents of the ZimAsset economic blue print.
Williams said research has shown that the document is too technical for common people to understand it, adding that some WOZA members have not even seen the document.
She told journalists that the WOZA petition was received by parliament’s counsel, Gladys Pise, as Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma did not show any interest in the document.
Williams said her organisation chose to carry out the demonstration during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence as a way of campaigning against violence targeted at human rights defenders like those in her organisation by the police.
WOZA co-founder, Magodonga Mahlangu who also took part in the demonstrations, said members of her organisation are worried over the non-fulfillment of promises made by Zanu-PF leaders currently in power.
She said grievances in the petition stem from the organization’s recent research which indicates that most Zimbabweans won’t benefit from the ZimAsset economic blue print.
Despite there being no arrests during today’s protests as has happened before, there was chaos as police continued to push and shove WOZA members who staged the protest near the entrance of parliament.
In a related development, police say its female police officers, who are members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Women’s Network, have so far arrested more than 40 suspects wanted in connection with domestic violence-related crimes in the on-going 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Monday afternoon that the suspects have since been handed over to the courts.
The ZRP Women’s Network commemorate the event every year through setting – up roadblocks to apprehend suspects on the “wanted list”, as a way of reducing gender-based violence and the abuse of children.
Charamba expressed concern at the increase of such crimes.