The Magistrates Court in Mutare has further postponed to the 24 of February the case in which 19 ZCTU activists are facing 'bigotry' charges after the trial magistrate failed to turn up.
Appearing in court on the 4 of February the 19 activists were disappointed to have their case postponed for the 11 time.
Passmore Nyakureba, the lawyer representing the 19 said he was hopeful the trial would be concluded at their next appearance as it had dragged for long.
“The problem that happened today was that the trial magistrate who is also the provincial magistrate for Manicaland province is not available and for that reason the matter could not go ahead since it's a partly head matter which was before her before so we are going to proceeding on the 24 of February. We are hopeful that she would be back in office and the trial would proceed. There was nothing we could do in the absence of the magistrate,” he said.
The trial has not been concluded since October 2018 and the accused are beginning to be frustrated. ZCTU Eastern regional women Secretary Deliwe Munyongwa said it was unfortunate that the courts keep postponing their trial.
“The courts appear to taking us for granted and have been giving us flimsy reasons for over a year. We now want the issue finalized. We now want to be heard and we now want our freedom,” she said.
The 19 said the continued dragging of the case was weighing in on them as they could not make long term plans out of Mutare as they were expected to appear in court regularly.
ZCTU snubs POLAD invite
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), has snubbed an invitation to attend the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) Economic Summit saying they cannot associate themselves with an “unconstitutional platform”.
POLAD had invited ZCTU to be part of its economic summit but the labour body declined the invite saying it does not recognise the platform. The summit's co-convenor, Retired Justice Sello Nare On February 5 2020, wrote to the ZCTU inviting its President Peter Mutasa to be a panelist at its forthcoming summit on February 20 organised by POLAD's Economic Thematic Committee which aims to capture the views of all stakeholders.
“As a panelist, you are expected to reflect and share your observations. Therefore, in preparation of your presentation, you are expected to indicate and table issues negatively impacting the Zimbabwean economy and make recommendations on how to solve the problem in order to take the Nation forward,” Justice Nare said in his letter. In response to Retired Justice Nare's invitation, ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo said the ZCTU does not partake in unconstitutional platforms adding that the ZCTU was pursuing the same agenda at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).
He said the ZCTU believes POLAD is not an institution recognised at law by the Constitution or any legislation hence its use of national resources in organising and hosting the event was unconstitutional.
“The ZCTU would like to thank you for your invitation to our President Peter Mutasa to partake in such important discussions. However, as a matter of principle, we do not support or associate ourselves with a process or platform that is clearly unconstitutional. It (POLAD) cannot be allowed to stifle and compete with constitutional institutions that are supposed to be carrying out nonpartisan agendas like those institutions found in Chapter 12 of the national charter,” Moyo said.
He said POLAD could not be allowed to usurp the functions of a constitutional body like the TNF. “Again it cannot be allowed to usurp a function that is legally provided for in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Act. The ZCTU holds the view that it borders on corruption that politicians use national resources for political expediency without any legal basis. We will therefore not associate ourselves with an illegal process,” the letter explained.
Moyo said ZCTU would only attend to POLAD when satisfied on the platform's legitimacy to use of taxpayers' money. POLAD is a dialogue platform comprising political party leaders who contested contested the July 2018 presidential election which was formed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.