Journalists under siege as Zim authorities intensify onslaught against media practitioners

ZIMBABWEAN authorities on Monday 02 October 2017 intensified their onslaught against media practitioners after they arrested and detained Kenneth Nyangani, a journalist working for the privately-run NewsDay newspaper for allegedly writing and publishing a story over the donation of some used undergarments by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members arrested Nyangani around 10 PM at his home in Dangamvura high-density suburb in the eastern border town of Mutare and detained him overnight at Mutare Central Police station and indicated that they would charge him with criminal defamation over a story published in Newsday newspaper’s edition of Monday 02 October 2017.

Newsday reported that Esau Mupfumi, the ZANU PF Member of Parliament for Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency handed over the donation from Grace comprising of used undergarments and night garbs to some ZANU PF party supporters at a meeting held in Mutare in Manicaland province over the weekend.

However, Nyangani’s lawyer, Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga Maanda & Associates, who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, challenged the ZRP members’ preference to charge the journalist with criminal defamation as such a provision under Section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act was struck down by the Constitutional Court.

ZLHR understands that Mupfumi filed the report with the police and deposed to a statement which is unclear if the legislator is the complainant himself or the First Lady.

Nyangani remains in police detention at the Law and Order Section at Mutare Central Police Station as no warned and cautioned statement has been recorded from him.

Meanwhile, two Daily News journalists, Mugove Tafirenyika and Brighton Goko sustained serious injuries after they were brutally assaulted by some ZRP officers while they were covering an anti-government protest held on Friday 29 September 2017.

Tafirenyika and Goko had to be hospitalised at a local medical facility from Friday 29 September 2017 until they were discharged on Monday 02 October 2017 and on Tuesday 03 October 2017 respectively.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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