Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) chairman Trevor Ncube has castigated the continued detention of Standard reporter Nqobani Ndlovu saying the move confirmed that Zimbabwe was a police state.
AMH publishes NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard.
Said Ncube: “It’s sad in this age in the development of our nation that we still have journalists being locked away for merely exercising their constitutional right.
“This is clear abuse of power by the police. This confirms that we live in a police state. The action taken by the police is unjustified because there are other means they could have pursued to find redress over the story.” He said legislation such as Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act must be repealed.
“The constitution should put the freedom of people at the forefront and not those of the state,” he said.
Ncube also took a swipe at the two MDC parties for failing to condemn Ndlovu’s detention.
“Their silence seems to mean that they condone what the police have done. Political parties should ensure that freedom of the press is protected,” he said.
Ndlovu is currently languishing in Khami Remand Prison for writing a story saying retired police officers and war veterans were being recalled to occupy top vacant posts in the force ahead of next year’s possible polls.
The state is yet to appeal to the High Court against the ruling by Bulawayo magistrate Sibongile Msipa granting Ndlovu $100 bail.
Ncube said this soon after addressing pupils, parents and teachers at the Shake Primary School prize-giving day in Gwanda. He attended the school between 1970 and 1974.
He told the gathering: “The things that you say and do to schoolchildren can either build or destroy them.”
He said he almost lost confidence in himself at that time when a female teacher verbally abused him.
“This teacher was pregnant,” Ncube said. “She used to say I was ugly and therefore I was made to sit facing the back of the class when the lesson was in progress. That made me feel bad about myself. I felt that I was worth nothing. That is why teachers should be careful about the things they say. You should encourage children. Parents should also be careful as words can build or destroy your child,” Ncube said.
He said his confidence was restored when he later moved to Magwegwe Primary School in Bulawayo.
“I met a teacher there who was impressed by an essay I had written and from that time, I have never looked back,” he said. Ncube said Shake Primary School was special to him because his life took off there. He took the gathering down memory lane when he narrated his days at the school.
“This very tree we are sitting under gives me bad memories. I left my brand new pair of shoes here when going for sports. When I came back, the shoes were gone, so whenever I come here, I think about my shoes,” he said, drawing laughter from the gathering.
“Education is very important. If it were not for education, I would not be where I am today,” he said. Ncube donated 10 desks on behalf of AMH.