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Journalist Ndebele walks free, court rubbishes weapon possession charges

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Bulawayo Correspondent


A Bulawayo magistrate Friday threw a case against Zenzele Ndebele agreeing with lawyers that the allegations against the journalist were unfounded.

Ndebele was arrested on Thursday while covering President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s meeting with Matebeleland based civic groups at State House in Bulawayo.

He was being accused of contravening the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act (possessing offensive weapons and criminal nuisance).

When Ndebele appeared in court Friday, his lawyer Nqobani Sithole applied for refusal of remand, arguing that the Centre for Innovation and Technology founder had no case to answer.

Magistrate Franklin Mkhwananzi concurred with the lawyer saying the journalist had not committed any crime in terms of the law.

However, the state, represented by Nkathazo Dlodlo had maintained that Ndebele had a case to answer.

Ndebele was arrested after he was found with used tear gas canisters in his car.

Magistrate Mkhwananzi took time to explain the provisions of the charges which Ndebele was facing explaining that possessing of used tear gas canisters was not a crime.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Sithole said although he is happy that Ndebele was now a free man, he was not supposed to have been arrested in the first place.

“Ndebele was not supposed to be in court in the first place because he did not commit any crime.

“He was just arrested by overzealous police officers. As lawyers, we are worried by this trend where innocent people are being arrested.

“Ndebele was detained the whole night yet he did commit any offence,” said the lawyer.