Zimbabwe Teachers Arrested Over MDC Slogans

The teachers Rorden Matsaure, Innocent Nyoni, Clifford Muchingami and Patrick Murira, a security guard at the school appeared in court on Monday for initial remand.

The State alleges that the teachers who are stationed at Hesketh Primary School in Karoi contravened section 89 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 when they teamed up to assault Freeman Svova last Thursday night.

Prosecutors allege that the three teachers unlawfully and intentionally caused bodily harm to Svova when they assaulted him once on the forehead, using a brick, once at the back using a gumtree branch and all over the body using booted foot, clenched palms (sic), and open hands thereby causing inflicting injuries.

The State claims that the teachers assaulted Svova after he alleged during a discussion whilst drinking beer in a bar that they were spoiling school children by teaching them some MDC slogans at school and they had ended up singing some of the party’s songs and slogans at home.

As a result of the alleged assault the State claimed that Svova sustained some injuries on the head, wounds on his face, back ache, chest pains and a swollen eye.

However, the teachers denied the assault charges and claimed that they were being victimised for challenging some soldiers at a meeting convened on 27 July, 2010 near the school, where the soldiers were allegedly coaching people on making contributions during a meeting held ahead of a constitutional outreach meeting to solicit people’s contributions to a draft constitution.

The teachers are expected back in court on Tuesday where their lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is expected to apply for bail.

Meanwhile in Masvingo rural teachers have stopped airing their views on the constitution after receiving threats from Zanu (PF) militia.

Constitution Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) members and the Progressive Teachers Union said Zanu (PF) youth were moving from door-to-door in an operation code named Chimumumu (remain silent) ordering teachers to shut up or face the consequences.

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said:“We have received information to the effect that teachers in
Mashonaland, Mberengwa, Gokwe and Guruve were threatened by the terror militia. Such schools in Masvingo include Mazare secondary, Zishumbe Primary, Zvido and Gunikuni.”

Fearing a backlash, Zhou, who is also observing the outreach process, said the teachers had stopped participating in the process.

“Everywhere we went to in Gutu, Chivi and Mwenezi; teachers were just quiet, although most meetings are being carried at schools. It is because of the threats,” he said.

COPAC co-chair, Douglas Mwonzora, said: “I have received reports of the threats, but I did not know that the teachers are silent. They have a right not to remain silent. This is a process that should not be limited to a few.”