Murehwa – Magistrate Learnmore Mapiye on Monday discharged and acquitted Obert Masaraure, the President of the Rural Teachers Union in Zimbabwe (RTUZ), who had been on trial for allegedly contravening some provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Masaraure, who was represented by Gift Mtisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was acquitted at the close of the State case after his lawyer filed an application for discharge in which he argued that the State failed to establish a prima facie case upon which a reasonable court might convict him of any offence.
Masaraure was arrested on August 18 this year in Murehwa, Mashonaland East province together with RTUZ board member Lynette Mudehwe, RTUZ Secretary-General Robson Chere, Spokesperson Robson Ruhanya, Brighton Makunike, the RTUZ National Coordinator and RTUZ Programmes Officer Pride Mkono.
This is after they participated in a sponsored walk to hand over a petition outlining teachers grievances at the district education offices of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
The RTUZ protesters were charged with committing criminal nuisance as defined in Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
Mudehwe, Mkono, Ruhanya, Makunike and Chere were set free on the criminal nuisance charge together with Masaraure, who had to stand trial for allegedly breaching Section 25 (5) of POSA.
Prosecutors charged that Masaraure breached POSA provisions when he allegedly convened a gathering without notifying the Zimbabwe Republic Police as the regulatory authority.
In their petition, the RTUZ demanded an improvement of their poor working conditions and implored President Robert Mugabe’s government to arrest the country’s agonising economic and political crisis.