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NewsDay journalists arrested over Mugabe health scare story, two charged with insulting president

03/03/2017 00:00:00
by Court Reporter
 
NewsDay editor, Wisdom Mudzungairi
 
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NEWSDAY editor Wisdom Mudzungairi and senior reporter Richard Chidza have been arrested for undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority.

This follows the publication of a story titled “Mugabe in fresh health scare” a day ago.

The two were summoned Friday morning before they were formally charged, their lawyer, Obey Shava, confirmed.

“The first accused is Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) and the second accused is the editor and the 3rd accused is the journalist. They are accused of breaching section 33 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, undermining or insulting the office of the President,” he said.

Shava added, “The alleged offending part is where it is written, “while officials claim, Mugabe frequently travels to the far east to have eye check-ups, there are reports that he is afflicted by not only old age but also prostate cancer.”

The report said Mugabe sneaked out of the country adding that his wife Grace flew out first on Monday to organise a charter flight for her husband whose health is deteriorating.

The incident occurs barely four months after Chidza was summoned for questioning over war veterans damning communique which condemned Mugabe as a dictator.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba confirmed to the state media that indeed the President had left for a scheduled check-up this week.

Mugabe’s health has always been the subject of vast speculation.

Speculations always end up in death rumours each time he leaves the country for a lengthy period.

The President is expected back in the country next week, Monday, according to Charamba.

Reporters Without Borders said it condemned the arrest of the journalists which it said was based on an unconstitutional law.

According to the organisation,” Zimbabwe is ranked 124th out of 180 countries in RFS’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, while Mugabe, its president since 1987, has been on RSF’s list of press freedom predators since 1987”.



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