POLICE in Bulawayo have launched a crackdown on members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) who staged a demonstration over the persistent cash crisis outside the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ) branch in the city, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
The women, numbering over 200, on Tuesday demonstrated briefly outside the RBZ and chanted slogans denouncing government’s failure to deal with the cash crisis bedevilling the nation.
Woza national spokesperson, Patricia Khanye, confirmed the police crackdown.
“Since Tuesday police have been visiting some of our members at their homes but have not found them. As it is, we are waiting for them to strike at any moment,” Khanye told the Independent.
The women took mid-day shoppers by surprise when they pulled out banners and posters and started denouncing the decision to introduce travellers’ and bearer cheques instead of bank notes
The women quickly dispersed before armed riot police arrived at the scene.
Police spokesman in Bulawayo, Smile Dube, said the police wanted to find out the motive for the demonstration.
“Police are investigating the women to find out who organised the demonstration and what the motive was,” he said.
But Khanye said her organisation would continue the demonstrations until the government acted on the four-month cash crisis that has affected both businesses and consumers across the country.
“What we are saying is that we want a lasting solution to the cash crisis and travellers’ and bearer cheques are temporary measures that have had no impact on the availability of cash in the country since they were introduced,” Khanye said.
This is not the first time women from Woza have found themselves in trouble with the police. In May armed police broke up a peaceful demonstration called to commemorate World Women’s Day in Bulawayo.