High Court Judges Justice Sunsley Zisengwe and Justice Garainesu Mawadze on Wednesday 15 September 2021 quashed the conviction and 16-months imprisonment of Shilla Chisirumunhu, a Masvingo-based teacher, who was convicted in 2020 for participating in a protest demanding improved salaries and working conditions for teachers.
The two Judges upheld the 53-year-old Chisirimunhu’s appeal against both conviction and sentence after his lawyer Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights appealed against Masvingo Magistrate Mbonisi Ndlovu’s ruling wherein she was found guilty of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Chisirimunhu, the Masvingo Provincial Gender Secretary for Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) and who had been out of custody on ZWL$2 000 bail, had been arrested in June 2020 together with Obert Masaraure, the leader of ARTUZ, after they allegedly participated in a demonstration held in Masvingo, where teachers protested against poor salaries and unfavourable working conditions and demanded to be paid a monthly salary amounting to US$520.
While Chisirimunhu was jailed, Masaraure, who had also been on trial facing the same charges of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, was acquitted by Magistrate Ndlovu.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights