NewsDay Mutare-based reporter Kenneth Nyangani is expected to appear in court today facing criminal nuisance charges after he was arrested on Monday night for writing a story in which the First Lady Grace Mugabe donated second-hand underwear.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/CLAYTON MASEKESA
Nyangani’s lawyer from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Passmore Nyakureba, confirmed police had preferred criminal nuisance charges against Nyangani.
“Kenneth Nyangani has finally been charged with criminal nuisance,” he said.
“He was approached at his house in Dangamvura by two police officers from Dangamvura Police Station, who were in the company of a man notoriously known as Mabhobho. He is a strong Zanu PF supporter. They violently knocked at his gate and force-opened the door and at that stage, Nyangani came out to investigate what was happening. That is when they took him to the police station.”
He added at the police station, they found Chikanga/Dangamvura MP Esau Mupfumi there before Nyangani was later driven to Mutare Central Police Station.
The story exposed Grace for donating used underwear to the people of Mutare.
The First Lady has been doling out second-hand clothes from impounded bales to drum up support for the upcoming 2018 harmonised elections.
Yesterday in Mutare, more than 50 Zanu PF supporters gathered at the police station in solidarity with the First Lady and Mupfumi.
The legislator then chanted Zanu PF slogans before addressing the peaceful gathering.
“Thank you for coming in numbers to show solidarity. The issue is now under police control and we will hear the outcome of the court tomorrow (today),” Mupfumi said.
Journalists, media organisations and human rights organisations yesterday condemned Nyangani’s arrest.
Amnesty International Zimbabwe director Cousin Zilala said Nyangani’s arrest was a deliberate tactic to harass and intimidate him and other journalists in order to deter them from doing their work.
“The intention is to send a chilling message to journalists and media workers that they must self-censor rather than expose truths,” he said.
“Zimbabwean journalists should not be criminalised simply for doing their work. Kenneth Nyangani must be released immediately and unconditionally and all charges against him dropped.”