Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) Masvingo provincial
secretary for gender and social welfare, Shilla Chisirimunhu, who was arrested
on June 22 after allegedly staging a demonstration at the district education
offices in Mucheke, has been released on $500 bail.
arrested after police pounced on a group of Artuz members who had submitted a
petition to the Masvingo district education leaders demanding that teachers
receive their salaries in US dollars.
Represented by Martin
Mureri of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), she appeared before Magistrate
Patience Madondo after spending a night detained in cells at Chikato Police
Station in Mucheke.
According to the State
outline, Chisirimunhu participated in a gathering with intent to promote public
violence, breaches of peace or bigotry as defined in Section 37(i) (a) (i) of
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
She alternatively faces
a charge of contravening Section 4(a) (i) of Statutory Instrument 83/20 as read
with Section 3(a) of Statutory Instrument 110/20 which prohibits ‘unnecessary
movement during the national lockdown’.
The State represented
by Unice Shoko, alleges that Chisirimunhu, in the company of 50 other
colleagues that were still at large by the time of writing, went to the
education offices chanting songs that denounced the local currency while
Through her defence
lawyer Mureri, Chisirimunhu denies the charges, arguing that she was not part
of the said group and that she was arrested one kilometre away from the venue
of the purported gathering.
Meanwhile, the Artuz
national Executive Committee has condemned Chisirimunhu’s arrest as a case of a
growing pattern of the State trampling on the rights of citizens though
intimidation and victimisation.
The organisation has
also threatened legal action against one female police officer Chabaya who
allegedly assaulted Chisirimunhu severely during the arrest.