Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested the seven former ZUPCO employees namely Lucas Munyika aged 51, Raphael Gadzira aged 73, Albert Ndebele aged 73, Gorrden Goredema aged 63, Wickson Chikinda aged 62, Hebert Mpezani aged 52 and Charles Ncube aged 60 on Tuesday 30 May 2017 and detained them at Mzilikazi Police Station in Bulawayo as they staged a demonstration at the state-run bus company’s Khami depot premises in the country’s second largest city, protesting over non-payment of their outstanding pensions and terminal benefits.
For demanding that the state-run bus company pays them their outstanding dues, the seven former employees were charged with contravening Section 132 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 for allegedly entering the ZUPCO premises knowing or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that such entry is forbidden.
Munyika, Gadzira, Ndebele, Goredema, Chikinda, Mpezani and Ncube were arrested even though ZRP officials had sanctioned the former ZUPCO employees’ protest which was scheduled to run for two days from Monday 29 May 2017 to Wednesday 31 May 2017 at the state-run bus company’s depot in Khami after they had formally notified the law enforcement agents about their demonstration.
Although ZRP officers had sanctioned their protest, some overzealous officials from ZUPCO locked the former employees out of the state-run bus company’s premises. The former employees only managed to gain entry into the premises on Tuesday evening before ZUPCO authorities called in some ZRP officers who arrested and detained them at Mzilikazi Police Station.
Munyika, Gadzira, Ndebele, Goredema, Chikinda, Mpezani and Ncube were released on Wednesday 31 May 2017 into the custody of their lawyer Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
ZRP officers indicated that they would proceed by issuing summons against the seven former ZUPCO employees if they intend to have them stand trial in court on charges of contravening Section 132 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
If found guilty of criminal trespass, the seven former ZUPCO employees will be liable to pay a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both.Post published in: Featured