by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN courts are on Friday to rule on the fate of trade union leaders arrested amid rising discontent over the country’s deteriorating economic situation.
The seven executives of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have petitioned the courts to drop the public violence charges levelled against them after they were arrested planning to protest against government’s economic policies.
They have been in custody since police raided their office on October 11.
They were charged for allegedly participating in a gathering “with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry.”
Represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the unionists argue there were insufficient grounds to find objectively that there is reasonable suspicion that they committed an offence, which led to their arrest.
ZCTU lawyers argued their clients did not violate any of the country’s laws and even had the courtesy to notify ZRP of their planned peaceful demonstration.
Harare Magistrate, Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, is to make a ruling on the unionists’ petition to drop the charges.
Elsewhere, 12 ZCTU leaders and members are to appear in court next month facing similar charges to their colleagues in Harare.
Zimbabwe is mired in economic problems months after the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa was elected on a pledge to revive the comatose economy.
Police brutally dispersed anti-government demonstrations during the reign of Robert Mugabe, forced to resign after a military coup last November.
– CAJ News