BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
A STATE witness may have inadvertently conceded in court that the two Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) journalists, Blessed Mhlanga and Chengeto Chidi, arrested for allegedly contravening the Electoral Act in Chitungwiza last month, did not actually commit a crime.
The two journalists were arrested in May and charged for contravening section 25 (a) of the Electoral Act, as read together with section 30 of Statutory Instrument 21/2005, which prohibits taking of photographs inside a polling station.
Giving evidence before Chitungwiza magistrate Isheanesu Matova, the State witness, police Superintendent for crime in Chitungwiza district, Kufakunesu Matsika said the accused were filming within a 300-metre radius of a polling station and not inside the polling station.
During cross-examination by the journalists’ lawyer Jeremiah Bamu, Matsika conceded that the journalists did not take photos or videos within one of the two polling stations at ward 7 in Zengeza West.
On the alternative charge of disorderly conduct in a polling station as defined by section 89(2) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), Bamu asked Matsika whether the two journalists shouted at him?
“The accused were shouting at us and incited the public to assault us,” Matsika responded.
When asked to show the court photos and videos to prove that an offence was committed by the journalists, Matsika said: “That question can be answered by the investigating officer and the gadgets (cellphone and camera) were taken by the Law and Order section.”
Mhlanga and Chidi will again appear in court on June 20 for continuation of trial.
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