‘Arrested journalist was in possession of materials used by security agents’
THERE are reports that journalist Zenzele Ndebele (pictured) who was arrested at State House in Bulawayo yesterday was in possession of teargas cannisters in a restricted area in a city where President Mnangagwa escaped an assassination attempt in June last year.
“(His arrest) it has to do with his conduct that was likely to breach the maintenance law and order. He was likely to breach maintenance of public peace considering that this was a public gathering. So he had no reason at all to go into that gathering carrying some items which in actual fact are items which are used by security services and he is not a member of the security services,” Zimpapers reported, courting an unnamed security source.
The security further says: “The law is very clear no one should go into any public gathering carrying items which legally no one would be allowed to be in possession of. He had no reason at all to carry those items to the gathering. Whatever he was carrying he had no reason to be in possession of those items.”
Ndebele is also a political activist and director of Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), an online media organisation. He is likely to appear in court today.
Human rughts lawyer Doug Coltart described the charges as “ridiculous”.
Said Coltart: “The charges are utterly ridiculous. A used tear gas canister is clearly not an “offensive weapon” (whatever that even means – it should be struck down as void for vagueness) and if it was found in his car then clearly he was not possessing it in a “public place”. They are trumped up charges to try to intimidate him and stop the incredible work that he does: documenting Gukurahundi through film-making, exposing current atrocities through journalism, and mobilizing support for the victims of Cyclone Idai.”
Zenzele Ndebele is known for his Gukurahundi Documentaries, a project which has archived, interviewed and documented witness accounts of the 1980s political disturbances in the southern parts of the country.
In September 2018, police called in Mr. Zenzele Ndebele for questioning over his documentary entitled: “Gukurahundi Genocide: 36 years later.”
He was questioned and released without any charges.
Ndebele is also prominent for his deep investigative projects especially surrounding issues of Gukurahundi and marginalization of the Matebeleland region.
President Mnangagwa was in Bulawayo to meet with leaders of the civil society for an interface.
Ndebele will appear in court tomorrow. — ZOOMZimbabwe