National Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (NMWUZ) President Mr Kurebwa Javangwe Nomboka has demanded the immediate release of Obert Masaraure whose recent detention he had labelled as unlawful, freelance journalist Maxwell Teedzai reports.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) leader was arrested on Friday 8 July 2022 by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers and charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in Section 184(1)(c) of Criminal Code alternatively incitement to commit public violence as defined in Section 187(1)(a) of Criminal Code as read with Section 36(1)(a) of Criminal Code.
Prosecutors alleged that Masaraure authored a statement that he published on Twitter and on the ARTUZ website, which was meant to prejudice his pending trial to persuade the teachers’ union members and the general public to commit public violence.
In his recent solidarity message on behalf of the NMWUZ Executive, National Council and General Members, Nomboka said:
The real reason they’re incarcerating Masaraure is that he is fighting for the labour rights of teachers in Zimbabwe. It’s a legal right of civil servants in particular and workers, in general, to hold peaceful demonstrations or even participate in an industrial action where they might feel that their rights as teachers would have been grossly tampered with.
We view this as a clear effort by the State to silence Comrade Masaraure who has been very vocal against human rights violations as well as his push for the betterment of working conditions for teachers and with that we’re left with no other option but to go on a nationwide strike as a last resort to demand the unconditional release of Masaraure.
A Harare court has repeatedly denied bail for Masaraure.
Earlier on, Masaraure had been arrested by ZRP officers on 14 June 2022 and charged with murder as defined in Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. He was accused of teaming up with some unnamed accomplices to kill Issa on 11 June 2016.
Investigations in 2016 indicated that Masaraure was nowhere near the scene when Issa fell to his death. He was granted bail amounting to ZWL60 000 by High Court Judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi.
Some government critics say Masaraure who is also the Spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, is being harassed for demanding better wages and working conditions for teachers and all workers at large.