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Dancers engage police over arrests

The Dancers Association of Zimbabwe (DAZ) says it is in the process of engaging the police in a bid to stop them from arresting their members in bars and nightclubs.

Report by Silence Charumbira

The past one month has seen a surge in the number of female dancers that are being targeted in drinking places around the city.

Justice Chinhema, DAZ public relations manager last week said they would meet the police in Harare and voice their concerns over the operation code-named Operation Zvanyanya.

The operation, which has been carried out under the guise of tackling loitering for the purposes of prostitution, has resulted in many women being arrested in bars for flimsy reasons.

Normally, the police have arrested skimpily-dressed women loitering in the streets at night.

Chinhema said they hoped to appreciate the motives and mandate of the police when they meet them.

“We need to know what the police intend to achieve with the operation,” said Chinhema.

“We have met as an association and done our investigations to make sure we are in compliance with the law. So we hope to engage them so we can know if it is the case that they do not want women in bars, or is it that women are no longer allowed to drink alcohol.”

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) deputy director Nicholas Moyo who met with DAZ officials last week, said he was challenging them to look at their code of conduct so as to find out what may cause them to be caught in this web.

“Workers cannot be arrested for working. Dancers work in bars and they cannot be arrested for doing their job. So we summoned DAZ to see what is it they are doing to make sure they protect their dancers,” said Moyo.

“They have to make sure that the clubs they dance in are registered with the NACZ and the censorship board because if they are not [registered], the clubs will not be able to protect them.”

The clampdown of women on the streets and in bars has been roundly castigated as discrimination and an infringement of women’s rights.

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