BY SILAS NKALA
THE 11 nurses arrested for contravening national lockdown regulations after they allegedly gathered at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare to protest over poor salaries and working conditions have pleaded not guilty.
The nurses, Ndadyei Gudza, Raikai Chibharo, Moses Sigauke, Michelle Magonye, Kumbirai Maiswa, Trish Chireka, Nyasha Kapesi, Evermay Chikoka, Lucas Sharara, Samson Gurupira and Laiza Magwizi, denied contravening any national lockdown regulations when they appeared before Mbare magistrate.
They were remanded to October 15 when the magistrate will hand down a ruling on their application for discharge at the close of the State case.
The nurses are all out of custody on
$1 000 bail each.
It was the State case that on July 6, the nurses participated or convened a gathering knowing that such a gathering is prohibited in terms of section 5(3)(a) of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment Regulations) National Lockdown) Order, 2020.
The court heard that the nurses, employed at various medical centres including Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Chitungwiza Central Hospital and Sally Mugabe Central Hospital, were part of about 100 people who gathered at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital intending to stage a demonstration.
They allegedly proceeded to sing protest songs, waving some placards in contravention of national lockdown regulations.
On Tuesday, the State led evidence from two witnesses, who during cross examination by defence lawyers Rudo Bere and Tinashe Chinopfukutwa, said they apprehended the nurses after taking orders from their unnamed superiors.
Sigauke, one of the nurses, also faces a charge of incitement as defined in section 187 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, after he allegedly recorded a video while in detention at Mbare Police Station and posted it on Facebook encouraging other nurses to join them.
The State alleges that Sigauke’s post read: “Let’s all gather at the police station and stage our demonstration.”