Women protesters detained after substance abuse demo in Mpopoma

By Lungile Moyo

Women from Mpopoma suburb in Bulawayo were on Thursday morning detained by the police for demonstrating without giving them prior notice. 

The same group of women who had also demonstrated over the same issues on Monday morning at the Entumbane Police Station, continued with their anti-drugs campaign on Wednesday morning this time targeting drug paddlers in Mpopoma township whom they aledge to be selling drugs to school going children. 

Speaking to Amakhosikazi Media after being released, Patricia Tshabalala a Mpopoma resident who also runs Vulindlela Orphanage Care in the area said they had notified the police about their demonstration two days before so that they would not be disturbed in their march. She said she was then surprised when the police apprehended her and other fellow protesters.  

“Our campaign started off well, and we had notified the police about our demonstration two days before the planned protest. The  only problem is that we did not have a police clearance letter, soon after the march we were surprised to see ourselves in the hands of the police”, said Tshabalala. 

Tshabalala added that the police told them their protest was illegal and that they should have sought police clearance first before the demonstration. 

“On our way back to our homes we realised that one of us lost her phone so we went back to look for it. Upon reaching the spot we had demonstrated at we found the police who told us that we were under arrest. We were then closed up at West commonage police station from morning to 7pm”, said Tshabalala.  

 “We were made to pay a fine of 10 dollars per head in order to be released”, added Tshabalala. 

A Mpopoma resident who preferred to be called Masibanda and was also part of the demonstration said that the issue of drug abuse and gender based violence is out of control in their area so as women they want to put it to an end, but it becomes hard for them to do so if the police become a stumbling block instead of helping them. 

“ukubotshwa ngama pholisa izolo thina sisithi siyalungisa akusiphathanga kuhle, asonto emnandi ukubona abantwabethu bebulawa yizidakamizwa kukanti lobudlwangudlwangu sobubhahile esigabeni sethu”, said Masibanda. (being arrested by police officers was not good at all, after all we were trying to fix things in our area. It is painful to see our children dying from drugs yet at the same time our area is no -longer a safe place because of violence). 

She added that police officers should be helping them solve the problem than locking them up. The women also accused the police of not doing enough to arrest those who have been accused of selling illegal substances to children in Entumbane and Mpopoma townships.

The dozens of women marched and sang songs carrying banners written "No to Gender Based Violence"