Riot Police disrupt peaceful women’s demonstration


Armed police on Wednesday morning disrupted a street demonstration in central Harare by women rights activists. The women were protesting against the Kuwait Embassy over the trafficking of Zimbabwean girls to the Middle Eastern country.

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The Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance (ZWIPA) with the support of Zimbabwe Activist Alliance (ZAA) had organized a street march from the city centre to the Kuwait Embassy in Belgravia demanding an apology over the human trafficking.

In the past months hundreds of young Zimbabwean women were lured to Kuwait with promises of jobs, but upon arrival were forced to work in brothels as se_x slaves.

However a group of police officers in riot gear disrupted the demonstration in its early stages. The women had gathered at Megawatt Building along Samora Machel Avenue.

Police arrested three organizers of the march, who include chair of ZWIPA Lynette Mudehwe, two members, Ndaziva Gatsi, Loveness Kudzanga before dispersing others.

Several placards were also confiscated from the protesters. Some of the
placards were inscribed with messages such as “Kuwait human trafficking”, “Bring Back Our Girls from Kuwait” and “Stop Kuwait Se_x Slavery.”

The protesters also demanded Kuwait to apologize to Zimbabweans over the se_x slavery.

“The Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance is deeply concerned with the continued trafficking of Zimbabwean women and the slow pace at which the government of Zimbabwe is taking on the repatriation process for those already still stranded in Kuwait,” the organisation said in a statement sent to Nehanda Radio.

“We even wanted to shut down the Kuwait Embassy today over human trafficking,” one protester said.”

Speaking to Nehanda Radio over the phone after the arrest, Mudehwe said: “Police have bundled us into a truck and we don’t know where they are taking us. They said the march was illegal.”

Last month, a Kuwait Embassy official, Brenda Avril May, was arrested together with several Zimbabwean accomplices on allegations of trading over 200 women from Zimbabwe for slavery under the pretext they would be provided with employment.

She was later freed on US$500 bail.

The state prosecutors alleged that May connived with several fake employment agents in Harare and Kuwait to lure desperate Zimbabwe job seekers into se_x slavery.

The former Kuwait ambassador to Zimbabwe Al-Jeera was fingered as the ring leader in the human trafficking. Some of the girls who worked as se_x slaves in Kuwait are back in the
country through the assistance of the Zimbabwe Consulate in Kuwait.

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