Zimbabwean authorities have stepped up their onslaught against dissent by arresting several university students and a unionist for allegedly protesting against the clampdown on human rights defenders and demanding an improvement in working conditions for teachers.
In Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West province, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members on Monday 22 June 2020 arrested eight students at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) and charged them with participating in a gathering likely to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act alternatively contravening section 7(5) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act for allegedly failing to notify the regulating authority.
ZRP members alleged that the CUT students, who include 21 year-old Faustina Talent Madawa, who is the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) National Vice-President, Lionel Shayahama aged 24 years, who is a former leader of the CUT Students Representative Council, Shamisi Whide aged 26 years, Nicola Makasu aged 22 years, Melody Tsitsi Madalamete aged 22, Ignatius Lochombo aged 26 years, Brian Mushakwe aged 23 years and Norman Makamanzi aged 24 years, produced and raised some placards during a lecture and distributed them to students with messages protesting against the continued detention of Harare West legislator Hon. Joanah Mamombe and two MDC-Alliance party youth leaders Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.
ZRP members claimed that the CUT students, who are represented by Kudzai Choga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), raised some placards with messages that read; “Free Netsai Joana”, “#Girl child Excel”, “People Power” and “Justice for Netsai Cecelia Joana”. They are all expected to appear in court on Tuesday 23 June 2020.
In Masvingo province, ZRP members on Monday 22 June 2020 arrested 53 year-old Shilla Chisirimunhu, who is the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Provincial Secretary for Gender in Masvingo and charged her with participating in a gathering likely to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act alternatively contravening section 7(5) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act for allegedly failing to notify the regulating authority of a protest.
ZRP members accused Chisirimunhu, who is represented by Martin Mureri of ZLHR, of participating in an anti-government protest allegedly staged by ARTUZ members in Masvingo where they allegedly served a mock coffin at the Masvingo District Education Offices protesting against poor remuneration by government and demanding payment of salaries in United States dollars.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights