ZCTU leaders charged with public violence, await outcome on freedom bid

ZIMBABWE Republic Police (ZRP) officers on Friday 12 October 2018 altered charges faced by seven Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders to public violence after initially charging them with disorderly conduct.

ZRP officers first charged the seven ZCTU leaders namely President Peter Mutasa, Secretary-General Japhet Moyo, Benice Maluleke, Prescilla Jonhi, Simon Mutasa, Munashe Chirovamari and Ezekiel Matema with disorderly conduct as defined in section 41 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act before altering the charge to contravening 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.

The ZCTU leaders, who appeared at Harare Magistrates Court on Friday 12 October 2018 will return to court on Saturday 13 October 2018, where Magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini is expected to hand down his ruling on their bail application, filed by their lawyers Tinomuda Shoko and Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

In Mutare, ZLHR lawyers Natsai Nyamwanza, Peggy Tavagadza and Passmore Nyakureba secured $50 bail for each of the 20 ZCTU leaders and members, who were arrested on Thursday 11 October 2018 for allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

In Gweru, ZLHR lawyer Takashinga Pamacheche also secured the release of three ZCTU leaders namely Moses Gwaunza, Charles Chikozho and Bernard Sibanda, who were arrested and charged with participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The National Prosecuting Authority ordered ZRP officers to proceed by way of summons if they intend to prosecute the labour union leaders after citing lack of evidence gathered by the law enforcement agents.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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