Masvingo High Court recently reversed judgement and quashed charges leveled against a 53-year-old teacher arrested in 2020 for protesting against poor salaries.
Masvingo Provincial Gender Secretary for Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Sheila Chisirimunhu was arrested in June 2020 together with ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure for staging an ‘illegal protest’.
Masvingo Magistrate Mbonisi Ndlovu convicted and sentenced Chisirimunhu to 16 months imprisonment and conditionally suspended eight months on good behaviour for participating in the protest.
She was later released pending appeal after spending 18 days in prison at Mutimurefu.
Chisirimunhu through her Lawyer Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers of Human Rights (ZLHR) appealed to the High Court challenging Ndlovu’s ruling.
Two Masvingo High Court Judges Justice Sunsley Zisengwe and Justice Garainesu Mawadze on September 15 2021 quashed the conviction and 16-month imprisonment of Chisirumunhu.
Chisirimunhu and other 48 accused persons still at large stormed the Ministry of Education Masvingo District Offices carrying rolled banners with different messages denouncing the Zimbabwean currency.
ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure told TellZim News that the judgement shows government’s attempt to use the judiciary to thwart labor rights but had been successfully thwarted.
“Our right to protest has been upheld. Going forward the union will embark on mass mobilization for mass protests demanding a living wage and improvement of welfare of teachers which we have been calling to the government to change,” said Masaraure.
The teachers protested against poor salaries, unfavorable working conditions and demanded to be paid a monthly salary equivalent to US$520.