Twenty-three Bulawayo residents who were arrested on Monday while demonstrating against the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority's alleged decision to hire employees from Mashonaland and other regions in the country instead of locals failed to appear in court Tuesday after the state altered charges preferred against them.
Laywer Dumisani Dube said the arrested were mostly unemployed residents from Bulawayo’s Nketa and Umganwini surbubs, which are located near the Insukamini ZESA plant in Bulawayo.
Also arrested were members of pressure group, Mthwakazi Youth Joint Resolution, which organized the march to hand over a petition to ZESA officials protesting the parastatal’s hiring practices.
Dube said two of his clients are now charged with contravening the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) while the rest are charged with being a “public nuisance” under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Meanwhile, the Movement for Democratic Change Formation of Welshman Ncube on Tuesday released statement condemning the police for arresting the protesters.
"These arrests smack of a hatchet plan to silence the people of Bulawayo and other regions across Zimbabwe who are being denied equal opportunities in their localities," read part of the statement.
The MDC said the devolution of power, which it advocated for during the drafting of the country's constitution, should put such problems to rest.