ZCTU leaders acquitted over tax protest, two years later
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 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.