Journalists get freedom at last

Two Zimbabwean journalists who were arrested by the police for interviewing three abducted MDC Alliance members have been granted ZWL$500 bail by a Mbare magistrate after spending four days in remand prison.

DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Frank Chikowore and Samuel Takawira who were represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe and Tonderai Bhatasara were remanded to June 15 by magistrate Manase Musiiwa pending finalization of the investigations.

Allegations were that on May 21 this year Chikowore and Takawira went to ParkTown Hospital in Waterfalls intending to enter the hospital High Dependency Unit ward where three victims of alleged kidnapping Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiru and Netsai Marova were admitted and interview the trio.

It is alleged as a security measure members of the ZRP were deployed at the hospital to ensure the safety of the victims and to ensure all unauthorised people barred from entering the hospital due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State alleges that in consultation with the hospital administrator the police officers refused the two entrance into the hospital as per requirements of COVID19 lockdown statutory instrument.

On the next day Chikowore and Takawira allegedly proceeded to the hospital knowing that it wasn’t visiting time and an order allegedly given by the police for them not to enter the said hospital ward without a reference letter from Stewart Ephraim the hospital administrator.

It is alleged detective Collins Makore who was on duty providing security followed the two into the ward and he observed themselves as not maintaining social distancing with the admitted victims as is required by the lockdown leading to their arrests.

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