The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) joins Action Aid Zimbabwe and the Chidawaya family in mourning the untimely passing on of Lyn Chidawaya, who was allegedly punched by touts at Mbudzi bus terminus resulting in her death and that of her unborn child.
While we note and commend the police for having made arrests in connection with this matter, we urge them to expedite their investigations so all the perpetrators of this violent act are brought to book.
We demand justice for Lyn and her unborn child and hope that this arrest and subsequent conviction will send a very clear message to transport operators, touts and all perpetrators of violence in these spaces that women have a right to freedom of choice and movement in Zimbabwe.
We call on all stakeholders in the provision of public transport to make the system safe for women at all times. The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe should expand its mandate to also factor in the safety of pedestrians and commuters. We are tired of burying women and girls who are losing their lives as result of the recklessness on the roads. We demand that more safety measures be put in place to ensure that our lives are not endangered on the roads.
We are appalled by the behavior of public transport operators who seem to work hand in glove with touts, who have a track record of harassing and abusing female commuters. We demand that the Transport Operators Association of Zimbabwe rids itself of the services of touts as all passengers leave their homes knowing exactly where they want to go and which buses they intend to board. This will go a long way in making their business safe spaces for women. They should also ensure those who work for them respect women’s rights
We demand that the City of Harare comes up with designated bus stops for all destinations which are safe and conducive for women to board public transport at all times.
We urge the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development to hold speedy consultation with the citizens, particularly women and come up with laws and policies that work for us on the safety of women and girls on the roads of Zimbabwe.
WCoZ, as a member of the Safe Cities Campaign Network of Zimbabwe will continue to advocate for total elimination and zero tolerance to violence against women in public spaces.
May Lyn’s soul rest in peace.
Main image taken from www.facebook.com/ActionAidZimbabwe