Wednesday 22 May 2024


Prominent trade union leader and pro-democracy activist Obert Masaraure has been convicted for posting a message on his X handle (formerly Twitter) demanding the release of a trade union colleague.

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (ARTUZ) president was on Wednesday found guilty of defeating or obstructing the course of justice or alternatively inciting public violence, an offence extracted from Section 184(1)(c) of the Criminal Code.

He was arrested for the offence on July 8, 2022 and has been in and out of court during trial.

The charges stemmed from a message Masaraure posted on the social media platform, demanding the release of fellow activist Robson Chere.

Chere had been arrested in connection with the mysterious death in death of ARTUZ member Roy Issa.

Issa died after falling from the seventh floor of a Harare hotel, with an inquest ruling out foul play.

However, police reopened the case under controversial circumstances and filed murder charges against Masaraure and Chere.

Prosecutors proved that Masaraure authored a statement published on X and the ARTUZ website, aimed at prejudicing his and Chere’s pending trial while inciting teachers’ union members and the public to commit violence.

Following trial, he was convicted by Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka.

The conviction of the activist has invited condemnation from ARTUZ which describes it as a travesty of justice.

“This verdict is seen by many as a troubling case and travesty of justice, as Masaraure is a vibrant trade union leader who has advocated for the rights and welfare of rural teachers in Zimbabwe.

“As ARTUZ we remain unshaken and will continue the fight against all the injustices and criminalisation of labour acts,” read parts of the statement.

Masaraure has been remanded in custody and is scheduled for sentencing on Thursday morning at the Harare Magistrates Court. Zimlive



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