Zim court throws out state case against protesting teachers

By Staff Writer

FOURTEEN leaders and members of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union
of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) have been set free after a Zimbabwean court threw
out disorderly conduct charges brought against the labour unionists
and ruled that they did not commit an offence by staging an
anti-government demonstration against poor salaries and working
conditions.

The ARTUZ leaders and members had been hauled before the courts after
they were arrested on Tuesday 18 December 2018 and charged with
disorderly conduct in contravention of Section 41(a) of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly blocking a road in
Ruwa while holding and waving placards during an anti-government
protest against poor remuneration dubbed “Salary Caravan”.

But Harare Magistrate Victoria Mashamba on Wednesday 19 December 2018
set free the ARTUZ leaders and members after ruling that the unionists
had not committed an offence in staging an anti-government protest
against the country’s worsening economic crisis as they were simply
exercising their constitutional rights as enshrined in the
Constitution.

The unionists’ lawyers Tinotenda Shoko and Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights had challenged the placement on remand of
their clients arguing that they had not committed any offence by
waving placards and singing songs when they were arrested while
protesting because they are a registered trade union which is exempted
from notifying the regulatory authority (ZRP) as provided under the
punitive provisions of the Public Order and Security Act.