Trade unionist Masaraure fined US$200 for obstruction of juctice

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By Mary Taruvinga

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union leader Obert Masaraure has escaped jail after he was given a wholly suspended four months jail term following his conviction for obstruction of justice .

He was fined US$200 and risks going to jail for two months for failure to pay the fine.

His conviction on Wednesday by Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka followed a full trial during which he denied the allegations.

Masaraure was arrested over the offence on 8 July 2022 by ZRP officers and charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in Section 184(1)(c) of the Criminal Code alternatively incitement to commit public violence.

Prosecutors proved that Masaraure authored a statement that he published on X and on the ARTUZ website, prejudicing his pending trial and that of his colleague Robson Chere. The statement, the State argued, was to persuade the teachers’ union members and the public to commit public violence.

Masaraure is accused of posting a message on X demanding the release of Chere, who had been arrested in connection with the death of a fellow ARTUZ member, Roy Issa, in 2016.

In passing her sentence, Chakanyuka a judicial notice should be taken on the impact of social media posts on the society.

Feresi however said imprisonment should be subjected to serious offenders adding that first offenders should not be thrown into the deep end.