Alpha Media Holdings journalists Blessed Mhlanga and Chengeto Chidi were on 9 May 2022 granted bail on charges of contravening electoral regulations or alternatively disorderly conduct in polling station.
They were each granted $20, 000 bail and ordered to report once every fortnight at Police Law and Order Section. Their trial has been set for 24 May 2022.
Mhlanga and Chidi who appeared at the Chitungwiza Magistrate Courts spent two nights in custody following their arrest on 7 May 2022.
They are accused of contravening Section 25 (a) as read with Section 30 of Statutory Instrument 21/2005 of the Electoral Regulations of 2005 “prohibition of taking photographs”.
The alternative charge is that of disorderly conduct in polling station as defined in Section 89 (2) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13.
The State alleges that on 7 May 2022, one or both of them, “acting in common purpose” took photographs or recorded a video within Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Chitungwiza Ward 7 Council by-elections, polling station tent B, without permission of the Constituency Elections Officer.
Alternatively, Mhlanga and Chidi are accused of disorderly conduct in the immediate vicinity of a polling station by allegedly refusing to comply with an order” given by Superintendent Kufakunesu Matsika not to take pictures or video recording at the polling station.
According to the State, the cellphone and camera which were being used were recovered by the police and can be produced in court as evidence.
Source: MISA Zimbabwe