BY ADMORE MARAMBANYIKA
The 19 ZCTU activists who were unlawfully arrested in Mutare in October 2018 have slapped the government with a $38 million lawsuit.
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga were cited as respondents.
In summons filed at the Mutare High Court’ it is stated that the 19 were unlawfully arrested at their offices by police officers who were under the directive of Assistant Commissioner Florence Marume. They were charged with participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, in violation of Section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. They were also charged with obstructing the free movement of vehicles and pedestrians along Jameson Street while intending to stage a demonstration, in the alternative. The charges emanated from the ZCTU’s national protests against the high cost of living and the introduction of the two percent transactional tax by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The 19 were acquitted on November 13, 2020 by Mutare magistrate Sekai Chiundura who ruled that the State had failed to present evidence linking them to the offence.
Their lawyer Passmore Nyakureba of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the activists said their arrest and detention was unlawful as they were not promptly informed of the reason for their arrest and that there was no reasonable suspicion that they had committed an offence.
The 19 activists stated in the court papers that they were detained in deplorable holding cells at Mutare Central Police Station for two nights.