Bulawayo Agenda officials acquitted

VICTORIA FALLS - A Victoria Falls magistrate on Thursday set free four Bulawayo Agenda (BA) officials who had been on trial for contravening provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).

The four BA officials, Mmeli Dube (the research, information and advocacy officer), Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi (the senior programmes officer), Nthombiyezansi Mabunda Tozana (the community organiser) and Thulani Moyo had been on trial since last month after they were arrested on June 28.

They were represented by Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

They were charged with contravening Section 25 (1) (b) of the Posa. They allegedly failed to notify the regulatory authority of a public meeting held in the resort town.

Rosimani ruled that the State represented by Takunda Ndovori of the National Prosecuting Authority, had failed to establish a prima facie case against the four human rights defenders.

Magistrate Rosimani ruled that the meeting held in the resort town of Victoria Falls was merely of an educational nature. Those who attended did not discuss anything of a political nature.

The ruling by magistrate Rosimani comes barely a month after High Court Judge Justice Charles Hungwe interdicted the police from banning some disgruntled National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees from staging protests against non-payment of their salaries early this month.

The police had banned NRZ employees affiliated to the Zimbabwe Railway Artisans Union, the Railway Association of engineman and the Railway Association of Yard Operating Staff from staging protests on August 2, in Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru and Mutare to demand the payment of their salaries.

Justice Hungwe ruled that the purported ban of the demonstrations by the police was unlawful and a violation of Section 58 and 59 of the new Constitution. He said the ban had no legal basis.

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