Courts and Law

Masvingo High Court frees teacher jailed for protesting

By Griffiths Ncube

THE High Court in Masvingo has quashed the conviction and jailing of a 53-year-old teacher who was arrested for protesting against poor salaries by Government.

Shilla Chisirumunhu was convicted in 2020 for participating in a protest organised by the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) in which the teachers demanded improved salaries and working conditions.

However, two High Court Judges Justice Sunsley Zisengwe and Justice Garainesu Mawadze have quashed conviction and 16-month imprisonment of Chisirumunhu.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has advised that the Masvingo High Court has upheld Chisirimunhu’s appeal against both conviction and sentence after her lawyer Martin Mureri of the ZLHR appealed against Masvingo Magistrate Mbonisi Ndlovu’s ruling.

Ndlovu had found Chisirumunhu guilty of 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.

ZLHR says Chisirimunhu, who is the Masvingo Provincial Gender Secretary for ARTUZ, was arrested in June 2020 together with ARTUZ leader Obert Masaraure after they allegedly participated in a demonstration held in Masvingo.

The teachers protested against poor salaries and unfavourable working conditions and demanded to be paid a monthly salary amounting to US$520.

Government insists it has no capacity to pay the teachers a salary of that amount. □

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