A Harare magistrate on Friday acquitted eleven Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) leaders who were arrested at the Harare Polytechnic in January this year.
Zinasu President Gilbert Mutubuki, Secretary General Obey Sithole, Treasurer Tamuka Chikonyora, Legal Affairs Secretary Kingsly Sibanda, Education and Research Secretary Ephraim Mutombeni, Takudzwa Dzumbunu, Marko Haruziviishe, Raymond Sango, Vision Moyo, Sherpard Sithole and Annie Makoni were facing charges under the notorious Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 Section 37, Participating in gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches peace or bigotry.
The student leaders were arrested while addressing students at the Harare Polytechnic in January this year.
The union leaders were addressing issues affecting their members at Harare Polytechnic College which includes barring of students with outstanding fees from attending classes and also the failure to hold Student Representative Council (SRC) elections in the last four years.
In the trial which kicked off in March and which saw the state lining up to five witnesses including the Harare Polytechnic College Acting Principal Mr Tafadzwa Mudondo, a Harare magistrate was left with no option but to acquit the eleven after the state failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the students did commit the offence.
The Students Solidarity Trust meanwhile condemned the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for arresting the students without proper investigations.
“Time is lost with students leaving school work to attend court sessions,” the SST said.
Mr. Gift Mtisi from the Zimbabwe lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) represented the students.