Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ), Court Appearances

The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) President, Obert Masaraure, Programmes Officer, Pride Mkono and a collegue, Pride Gava will appear at Mbare’s Magistrate Court on the 14th and 15th of January 2016.

The trio was arrested on 28 December 2015 after suspected state agents had followed them throughout the day when they were having various planning meetings for the January 4 demonstration. On the day in question, Masaraure, Mkono and Gava had gone to Kuwadzana 2 where they intended to have a meeting with other activists ahead of the January 4 demonstration.

Upon arrival at Kuwadzana 2, the other activists had already left and as the three were looking for a cab to go home, a man donning a ZANU PF T-shirt confronted Mkono and accused him of undermining President Mugabe. While the man was still shouting these allegations at Mkono, a group of riot police officers suddenly swooped on and started to assault Mkono before handcuffing him.

It was at this stage that Masaraure and Gava (the two had gone to look for a cab) returned to find Mkono at the mercy of the police gang. Immediately Masaraure inquired on why Mkono was being assaulted and why he had been arrested. The ZANU PF T-shirt donning man pointed at Masaraure and Gava saying that they are together with Mkono.

The duo was summarily assaulted and handcuffed before being further assaulted on their way to Kuwadzana 2 police station. Mkono was stripped naked and dipped several times in muddy water in a ditch all the time being heavily assaulted by button sticks and booted feet.

On arrival at the police station, the police then concocted charges that Mkono had assaulted the ZANU PF T-shirt donning man who identified himself as one Perkins. Masaraure and Gava were also charged with assaulting a police officer who identified himself as Kapfunde.

This Kapfunde had been the ring leader of the assault and torture that the trio had gone through and with the insistence of the three’s lawyer, Gift Mtisi of ZLHR, Mkono filed a report of assault against Kapfunde and went to Harare Hospital for medication.

The medical checkup showed that Mkono had sustained several injuries including a fractured rib in the assault and medical report to that effect has been produced and is with the courts.

At their first appearance in court Masaraure filed a complaint against police that he had been denied the right to file a report of assault against Kapfunde and also had been denied medical attention. This has since been done and Masaraure has a medical affidavit showing various injuries he sustained all over his body during the assault.

Masaraure and Gava will appear in court 5 on the 14th of January 2016 while Mkono will appear in court 6 on the 15th of January 2016. Gift Mtisi of ZLHR is representing all the three.

Meanwhile, RTUZ is in solidarity with Rashid Mahiya who has filed a Constitutional Court application compelling the government to gazette a law which provides a mechanism for individuals to file complaints against abuse by the security services such as the army, intelligence and police.

This is a welcome move which will go a long way in assisting victims of police brutality like the RTUZ trio to find recourse and get justice.

The security service must be professional and cannot be allowed to continue operating like a mafia which can unleash violence on ordinary people at will. source-byo24

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