Nine Women in Zimbabwe Charged After Booing Zimbabwe’s First Lady During Event

April 15, 2024
9 women sidelined from receiving freebies arrested for booing First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa | Report Focus News
9 women ‘sidelined’ from receiving freebies arrested for booing First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa

Nine women from Watsomba in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland province face legal charges after allegedly booing First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa during a public donation event. The incident, which occurred at Watsomba Business Centre on April 10, led to their arrest and charges of disorderly conduct.

The accused, identified as Nester Chatiwana, 41, Panashe Machekanzondo, 19, Winnet Sithole, 19, Maria Choto, 49, Esnath Choto, 33, Ellen Rujuwa, 28, Faith Chidhakwa, 30, Patience Matasva, 35, and Joyce Mashingaidza, 29, were detained before being released on free bail by Mutare magistrate Prisca Manhibi.

According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the women disrupted the First Lady’s speech by booing during her closing remarks, expressing their frustration over not receiving any of the distributed groceries and clothes. The lawyers representing the accused, Tatenda Sigauke and David Tandiri, argued in court that the arrest was a result of the women deciding to leave the event early, and not due to disruptive behavior.

The court session revealed that prosecutors deemed the women’s actions not only disruptive but also insulting to the President’s wife, labeling them as unlawful and abusive. The case has drawn attention to issues of freedom of expression and the distribution of aid in the region.

The women have denied the allegations, describing their arrest as a “dragnet.” They are scheduled to return to court on April 30, 2024, for a routine remand. This case highlights the ongoing tensions surrounding political and social events in Zimbabwe.