Hundreds of women demonstrated peacefully on Tuesday in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, against the general economic crisis and police brutality against opponents of President Robert Mugabe.
“We are in the streets to denounce the injustices and brutality of the police and to ask the government to resolve the socio-economic crisis,” said Jenni Williams, president of an organization called Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).
Most protesters who gathered in Bulawayo waved the Zimbabwean flag, which has become the rallying symbol of citizen protest in the country. “Violence is the weapon of the weak,” one of many placards at the event read.
We are in the streets to denounce the injustices and brutality of the police and to ask the government to resolve the socio-economic crisis.
The protesters submitted a petition to the office of the Zimbabwe Committee on Human Rights to request investigations into rights violations in the southern African country that has been ruled by Robert Mugabe since independence in 1980.
Their protest comes on the back of a protest by commercial drivers against police corruption. That protest in the capital Harare turned violent following a massive police clampdown.
Following that was the national shutdown, a social media instigated protest led by Pastor Evan Mwarire, he was subsequently charged to court for subversion, a charge that the court dismissed.
Teachers and nurses also stayed away from duty insisting that the only condition that would return them to their posts was for their June salaries to be paid.
A purported communique from war veterans relinquishing support for Mugabe was the latest political setback for the government. That communique is the subject of a probe in what the government calls a ‘traitorous and treasonable’ act.
About 80% of the active population work in the informal sector and the state is in dire need of cash. For the second consecutive month, payment of soldiers and civil servants’ salaries was delayed.
Meanwhile, 92-year-old incumbent President Robert Mugabe, the oldest head of state in the world, is still in line to represent the ruling ZANU PF in the upcoming 2018 presidential election.