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Dear Friends of Lucia

An injustice to one is an injustice to all of us.
You strike a woman. You strike a rock.

'I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is, I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.' Rebecca West, Suffragist, 1913.

What has Lucia not been through? She has survived several March 11ths. She has survived the horrors of Zanu PF's tyranny and brutality. She has been a source of our inspiration our leader, the voice of reason that has refused to be cowed out of the peoples struggle. She has remained consistent and steadfast that people and especially marginalised women are who this struggle is all about and for. Lucia is also the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU, first Vice President and the regional President of the Southern African Trade Union Council.

As part of the ongoing campaign by many of us who understand the unfortunate removal of Lucia Matibenga from the national chairpersonship of the MDC Women's Assembly, we have formed the 'Friends of Lucia Campaign.' If you believe in fairness and justice you can be one of us.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has set the date for the illegal women's congress to be held on the 28th of October. While Mai Mati or Lucy has received nominations and overwhelming support from the grassroots in the party, going into that election without her support base firstly knowing how flawed the process of removing her was, and secondly why she is constantly attacked by MDC patriarchs, would be a gross omission on our part.

Why are they so frightened of Lucia?

Lucia will not benefit from silent support, those who claim to be her friends have to say, enough is enough. Democracy in the MDC will not benefit from silent solidarity. The assault on the Women's Assembly chair should be viewed within the broader context of women's liberation and emancipation.

Comrades in South Africa have started to write in support of the MDC women's struggle, well done to Philile the South African daughter of the slain anti-apartheid activist Siphethelo Mbokazi. Others have sent in heart warming e-mails and text messages. We know we are not alone.

How can you help?

We believe if everyone is encouraged to use the tools and resources within their means, we can run a very effective campaign. To demand the respect for women like Mai Mati. Your solidarity costs nothing just be principled.
What are the objectives of this campaign. Put the women's agenda back on the agenda. Link up, nationally, regionally and internationally, with other activists, feminists, politicians who share the same aspirations as the female politicians in Zimbabwe.

. Campaign that women in politics be recognised as grown adults.
. Demand their rightful place in leadership not as a favour but a right.
. Invigorate activists who have endured the backlash from both the patriarchy in their midst and the Robert Mugabe dictatorship.
. Campaign for an end to all forms of violence against women in politics and Zimbabwe at large. Especially the attack on female politician's sexuality.
. Build solidarity with like minded men who are not threatened by what Zimbabwean female politicians stand for.

An injustice to one is an injustice to all of us.
You strike a woman. You strike a rock.

'I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is, I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.' Rebecca West, Suffragist, 1913.

Lucia on the web:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI1l7jmabBA&mode=related&search=ACTSA%20ZCTU%20rally%202007%20zimbabwe "The beatings were so hard on my bums and on my back... the doctor is telling me that my right ear drum is perforated... I was only praying if they could stop" Lucia Matibenga's account of her torture.

Listen to Lucia Matibenga in an interview after the brutal torture she suffered on September 13, 2006. She was the only WOMAN out of several men.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhmXY1739EQ - click here to hear Comrade Lucia addressing a rally in London.

'Without gender equality, Zimbabwe on road to nowhere' says feisty Lucia.

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/gender.12390.html "They won't believe she is my mother" Joel speaks out. news.bbc.co.uk/.../newsnight/6640439.stm