MASVINGO - The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) Masvingo provincial secretary for gender and social welfare, Shilla Chisirimunhu, who was arrested on June 22 after allegedly staging a demonstration at the district education offices in Mucheke, has been released on $500 bail.
Chisirimunhu was arrested after police pounced on a group of Artuz members who had submitted a petition to the Masvingo district education leaders demanding that teachers receive their salaries in US dollars.
Represented by Martin Mureri of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), she appeared before Magistrate Patience Madondo after spending a night detained in cells at Chikato Police Station in Mucheke.
According to the State outline, Chisirimunhu participated in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry as defined in Section 37(i) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
She alternatively faces a charge of contravening Section 4(a) (i) of Statutory Instrument 83/20 as read with Section 3(a) of Statutory Instrument 110/20 which prohibits ‘unnecessary movement during the national lockdown’.
The State represented by Unice Shoko, alleges that Chisirimunhu, in the company of 50 other colleagues that were still at large by the time of writing, went to the education offices chanting songs that denounced the local currency while raising placards.
Through her defence lawyer Mureri, Chisirimunhu denies the charges, arguing that she was not part of the said group and that she was arrested one kilometre away from the venue of the purported gathering.
Meanwhile, the Artuz national Executive Committee has condemned Chisirimunhu’s arrest as a case of a growing pattern of the State trampling on the rights of citizens though intimidation and victimisation.
The organisation has also threatened legal action against one female police officer Chabaya who allegedly assaulted Chisirimunhu severely during the arrest.