Zimbabwean journalist Kenneth Nyangani arrested over a story he wrote about the first lady distributing second-hand underwear to ruling ZANU-PF party members has been charged with criminal nuisance.
His arrest on Monday night sparked a lot of condemnation with the journalists’ rights body Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) describing the action as “harassment” and “intimidation”.
The CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal called for his immediate release.
“Zimbabwean authorities should stop harassing Kenneth Nyangani and release him immediately without charge … The fact that police had to fish for a new charge because their first accusation was unconstitutional shows that this arrest is aimed squarely at intimidating Zimbabwean journalists into self-censorship,” she said in a statement.
The fact that police had to fish for a new charge because their first accusation was unconstitutional shows that this arrest is aimed squarely at intimidating Zimbabwean journalists into self-censorship.
The journalist working for local newspaper NewsDay is expected to appear in court on Wednesday, his lawyer Passmore Nyakureba said.
His story, also published on the news website on Monday reported that the First Lady Grace Mugabe had donated second-hand underwear to party members in Mutare.
This was the reason for his arrest in the night and detention.
ZANU-PF party members gathered at the police station in Mutare in solidarity with the first lady, local media report.
NewsDay described in its editorial on Wednesday that the arrest of its employee Kenneth Nyangani is “outright mischief, stupidity” by the authorities.
“No doubt, the intention is to send a chilling message to journalists and other media workers that they must self-censor rather than expose truths,” said the editorial published on their website.