Two years later, ZCTU leaders acquitted over tax protest

MUTARE Magistrate Sekai Chiundura on Friday 13 November 2020 acquitted 19 Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders who had been on trial since 2018 for allegedly protesting against the high cost of living  in Zimbabwe and the imposition of a 2% transactions tax  by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

The 19 ZCTU leaders, who were represented by Passmore Nyakureba of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, were arrested on 11 October 2018 by
Zimbabwe Republic Police officers and charged with participating in a
gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the
peace or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.

During trial, prosecutors told Magistrate Chiundura that the ZCTU
leaders had contravened the law by taking part in a demonstration
organised by the country’s largest labour union to protest against
government’s disastrous economic policies.

However, on Friday 13 November 2020 Magistrate Chiundura discharged
and acquitted the 19 ZCTU leaders at the close of the prosecution case
after ruling that prosecutors had failed to present evidence during
trial linking the unionists to the commission of an offence.

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