Pregnant Zim woman dies after being punched by bus touts

2016-05-31 14:57
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Harare - Women's rights groups in Zimbabwe are calling on transport operators to get rid of aggressive touts following the shocking death of a 25-year-old pregnant Harare woman who was punched in the stomach last week at a bus terminus.

Lyn Chidawaya, 25, was seven months pregnant when she was reportedly attacked by touts as she tried to board a bus to Beitbridge border post with her sister last week. She died in hospital two days later. Her unborn child could not be saved.

ActionAidZimbabwe, where Chidawaya's husband Tinashe works, said in a Facebook post that the couple were recently married.

"She was allegedly punched in the stomach by a commuter omnibus tout at Mbudzi roundabout, a public bus terminus, in Harare on 24 May 2016," ActionAidZimbabwe said.

Touts routinely operate at bus boarding points, harassing passengers and forcing them to get onto buses they may have had no intention of choosing. 

Said the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe in a statement on Tuesday: "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."

The privately-owned News Day quoted Chidawaya's sister Liona Misi as saying: “A group of about five to seven touts started harassing us as we tried to board a bus. They punched and assaulted us and out of fear of further harm, we boarded their bus.”

Two touts have been arrested in connection with the attack.

The Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe said: "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."

A video of Harare touts stripping a woman because she was wearing a miniskirt went viral in December 2014, sparking demonstrations by women's activists.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa
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