Prosecutors at the Gweru Magistrates’ Courts over the weekend rejected a police docket in the trial of three Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Midlands leaders who had been arrested for demonstrating against the imposition of a 2% tax on Thursday last week.
The three are ZCTU Gweru district chairperson Moses Gwaunza, who was arrested in the early hours of Friday at his home; district secretary Bernard Sibanda and central region officer Charles Chikozho.
However, the trio was released without getting into court and will be formally charged as prosecutors told the law enforcement agents that their docket did not contain enough evidence to warrant prosecution. The docket did not cite any State witnesses.
Lawyers Pamacheche Takashinga and Cloudious Makwara from Gundu and Dube Legal Practitioners represented the three.
“The prosecutors advised the police to go and do further investigations and then summon us when through because there was no basis to start the case at the court. So we were released without charge,” Chikozho said.
The police had indicated the activists violated Section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act by leading the demonstration that had been banned by police.
Kudakwashe Munengiwa, the ZCTU central region chairperson, slammed police for their actions.
“How do you arrest in order to investigate? The sensible thing is that you first investigate as police if there is a case against an accused person and when you are satisfied there are reasonable grounds that a crime was committed.
However, it just shows our police were clueless on the matter because no crime is committed if people peacefully demonstrate, because that is enshrined clearly in section 59 of the Constitution,” he said.
In other parts of the country, ZCTU activists arrested for the demonstrations were released on bail after being formally charged.
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