Jailed Activits Freed: Occupy Africa Unity Square Press Statement

Occupy Africa Unity Square is a group of citizen activists founded by Itai Dzamara in 2014.
Occupy Africa Unity Square is a group of citizen activists founded by Itai Dzamara in 2014.

By Occupy Africa Unity Square

On the midnight of 8 June 2016 and the midmorning of 9 June 2016 the state agents, in a choregraphed dramatic manner we believe to be a counter -intelligence sting operation, descended rutheless on the movement, arresting 16 of the occupants and charging them with trumped up robery and obstructing the course of justice charges. Dozens others were brutalised and assaulted in the process.

Having been released from Harare remand prison and Chikurubi female prison section on an unbelievable and outrageous bail of a whooping US$3 200.00 bail designed to vex the resistance movement, after 8 days of illegal political detention under remand imprisonment, as the central activists of the Occupy Movement of Zimbabwe we are back to continue the struggles we started.

We are forever grateful to comrades who sacrificed their resources in these economically dire times to pay for our bail and thus secure our freedom so that we continue with our struggle.

The released activists are Patson Dzamara, , Makomborero Haruzivishe, Mandowa Marezh, Linda Masarira, Shadreck Dhliwayo, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Brian Kasunzuma,Pride Mkono,Irvine Takavada and Oliver Chikumba.
Our release however is not the end of the tribulations we have been enduring. The state agents and their collaborators are still working overtime to bring harm to the individual activists who have dared to raise a voice to challenge the socio-economic inequalities characterised by deteriorating conditions of living in Zimbabwe as a direct result of years of misrule and corruption.
Individual activists who were victimised still face perculiar challenges that require solidarity, 8 of them lost their mobile phones during the police raid leading to their arrest and Mandowa Marezh is a vendor who has since lost her space for trading her wares at Africa Unity Square after the seal off by state agents. Solidarity is therefore still needed to address these challenges.

Our narrative this far
As the Occupy Movement of Zimbabwe comprising of young people, the women’s movement, the student movement, the disabled people’s movement, the left and other progressive citizens we have crystallised into a vanguard leading the struggle for livelihoods and against the ZANU PF regime driven austerity measures under the vague IMF staff monitored economic structural adjustment programme.
From 31 May 2016 we embarked on a vigil which was to last for 16 days in which time we aimed to pressure the Mugabe led government to resign over failure to put priority on citizen’s economic welfare.
Among our demands are the repayment of the looted 15 billion in diamond revenue, fulfilment of the 2.2 million jobs promised in the run up to the 2013 election, an end to abductions and the safe return of Itai Dzamara, an urgent reversal of the austerity measures which are a direct attack on the livelihoods of the working people,urgent implementation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe among others.
On the midnight of 8 June 2016 and the midmorning of 9 June 2016 the state agents, in a choregraphed dramatic manner we believe to be a counter -intelligence sting operation, descended rutheless on the movement, arresting 16 of the occupants and charging them with trumped up robery and obstructing the course of justice charges. Dozens others were brutalised and assaulted in the process.
This was followed by a brief detention of 16 comrades at Chikurubi female section prison and Harare remand prison.
We would like to salute all comrades and democratic movements who offered solidarity during our stay and to them we say its Aluta Continua!

The brutality we expreicenced especially by the drag net arrest and subsequent detention of a teenager and a breastfeeding women (Mandowa Marezh) with a two month old infant showed us first hand the insenstitivity and callous nature of the regime.
Inspite of all this cold and brazen cruelity we remain more determined than ever to reclaim our future and shape the direction of our country out of the current doldrums.

Way forward
As we continue to be inspired by the Occupy Movement across the globe and the realisation that the 99% of the people in our country are suffering and generally pauperised as a result of the corrupt, exclusionary and selfish policies of the 1% constituting the political and business elites of this country under the banner of ZANU PF.
These ruthless elites have all but devoured the fruits of independence and are now eating independence itself hence we have taken it upon ourselves to fight for a dignified life that guarantees us access to social services such as quality health care, education, water, our right to decent work and a living wage, our right to shelter and welfare for the marginalised such as oprhans ,the unemployed, and the disabled.
In undertaking our struggle, the ‪#‎5to6‬ sessions will continue to be our flagship campaign and we will be rolling it out in the coming weeks across the country.
In this light, we are foreever grateful to progressive young people and fellow comrades who kept on the flame of the #5to6 alive while we were in detention. Special mention goes to the coordinators of the ‪#‎Tajamuka‬ campaign in this regard.
The #5to6 programme is an action by young people and the opressed members of our society both politically and economically, to reclaim their future by occupying the public spaces, be it parks, streets or squares in their areas, and utilising it for constructive dialogue on political and socio-economic issues. The Mugabe regime has in the last 36 years completely shut down the public space and emasculated the voice of young people.
The #5to6 programme will run on periodic themes at national level but will zero in on the specific issues affecting communities in general and young people in particular.
Our demands remain very clear as follows:

  • Repayment of the stolen US$15 billion diamond revenue and the arrest and incarceration of the perpetrators.
  • The fulfillment of the 2.2 million jobs promised in 2013 by President Robert Mugabe.
  • An immediate end to privatisation of social services and an increased public expenditure on social services to ensure accessible quality education, health, water and welfare programmes for the vulnerable groups and an end to anti-worker policies and legislation .We say NO to Austerity!
  • Declare cancer care and treatment a national emergency.
  • An end to abductions, torture and enforced disappearance and all forms of State and political violence – BRING BACK ITAI DZAMARA!
  • Unlimited access to our hard earned money from banks and we totally reject the proposed Bond Notes which are anything but theft of our money.
  • Urgent realignment of all laws to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment 20.
  • The resignation of President Mugabe and his ZANU PF regime from power.

We however have no illusions about the heartless nature of this regime and how it will respond but it must be known to all that we are more than ever prepared to fight for our destiny and the future of our country.

Indeed another Zimbabwe is possible.

Our World is not for Sale!

Aluta Continua(The struggle continues)
Released by:

Occupy Movment Zimbabwe Information Department