ZCTU Leaders Demand Court To Drop Public Violence Charges Against Them
Seven Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders on Tuesday 30 October 2018 petitioned a Zimbabwean court seeking an order dropping public violence charges against the unionists after arguing that they did not commit any offence warranting their arrest and prosecution.
The seven ZCTU leaders namely President Peter Mutasa, Secretary-General Japhet Moyo, Benice Maluleke, Prescilla Jonhi, Simon Mutasa, Munashe Chirovamari and Ezekiel Matema filed an application before Harare Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa challenging their placement on remand.
The ZCTU leaders, who were represented by Alec Muchadehama, Tinomuda Shoko and Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), argued that there were insufficient grounds to find objectively that there is reasonable suspicion that they committed an offence, which led to their arrest.
The ZCTU leaders were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on Thursday 11 October 2018 and charged with committing public violence as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry.
Their arrest came after ZRP swooped on them in a pre-emptive strike to thwart an anti-government protest organised by the labour union to protest against government’s disastrous economic policies.
In their application challenging placement of remand, the ZCTU lawyers argued that their clients did not violate any of the country’s laws and even had the courtesy to notify ZRP of their planned peaceful demonstration.
Magistrate Mugwagwa will on Friday 02 November 2018 hand down her ruling on the labour union leaders’ application, which was opposed by the state.
Meanwhile, in Masvingo province, 12 ZCTU leaders and members, who were represented by Collen Maboke of ZLHR, will appear in court on Friday 23 November 2018 after they were summoned to stand trial.
The 12 ZCTU leaders and members, who include Elliot Meso, Agnes Hlanga, Kevin Mawoyo, Gilbert Sibanda, Tasara Dunia, Richard Munyenye, Davison Madzivire, Tamutswa Chikonyora, Peggie Rukawu, Stephen Madoyi, Chrispen Matipedza and Maxwell Madhunha are accused of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry.