The High Court in Masvingo has upheld a provisional order barring Zanu PF from frog-marching pupils and teachers to its campaign rallies during school hours as well as arm-twisting them to participate in election-related events.
The order was affirmed on Tuesday following an application by the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) under its safe schools campaign.
Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled that political parties should not cause the closure of schools, compel teachers to attend or make contributions towards rallies and that school properties cannot be used for political events without the school authorities’ consent.
“Thus, the respondents, their employees, members and/or agents are, notwithstanding the appeal, interdicted from asking, encouraging or forcing children at schools to attend or participate in political rallies or activities or causing the closure of schools for any of its political rallies or activities,” the ruling read in part.
The ruling followed attempts by Zanu PF to have the Supreme Court suspend the execution of the court’s June 28 ruling made in favour of Artuz.
Zanu PF lawyer, Nickiel Mushangwe had argued Mafusire’s earlier verdict was defective since there was no evidence linking the party to the practice.
But Artuz lawyer, Doug Coltart, then filed an urgent chamber application for leave to execute pending appeal at the same court, which has now been granted.
Artuz has since started circulating a message about the verdict on various social media platforms, which reads:
“Please spread the word that the court order is back in operation despite Zanu PF’s effort to suspend it by appealing to the Supreme Court. Let’s protect our children from political exploitation”.
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