Police Quiz Chronicle Editor and Reporter

BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe Republic Police in Bulawayo have charged the Chronicle newspaper for criminal defamation and the matter is expected to go to court soon.

Chronicle Editor Brezhnev Malaba and reporter Nduduzo Tshuma were summoned to the police Cabs building where a senior officer identified as Ndlovu made them sign a warned and cautioned statement.

The journalists went there in the company of a lawyer, Job Sibanda.

The charges, which have left journalists in the state owned paper baffled, stemmed from a story published by the paper in January which claimed that some senior police officers in the region were involved in the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) maize scandal which saw a large number of tonnes sold on the black market and also in neighbouring Zambia.

Police claimed the story defamed the force.

"The police have been coming here looking for the reporter. Last week, plain clothes officers came here saying they were sent by Ndlovu to arrest the reporter, but the reporter ran away and only went to the police in the company of the Editor, who is equally shocked at the behaviour of the police.

Initially, the police wanted the reporter to name the source of the story so that they can deal with him or her, but the reporter refused saying it was not ethical and then they came up with a charge of criminal defamation against the police force," a reporter at Chronicle said.

The date of the court hearing has not been set. It is very rare that state media is subjected to such kind of treatment by the police.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Open University in Bulawayo has been evicted from Charter House offices.

The university, which is reeling under severe financial problems, was forced to shift from the Charter House building where it occupied two floor after failing to pay rentals for a number of months.

"The rentals were now in foreign currency and the university had no money and again, there was a lot arreas in terms of payment so we had no choice but to move from the building," said a staff member.

The university is now operating from its library at Zimdef house, where all staffers and seniors managers are now cramped in cubicles.The place has been overwhelmed by students who are preparing for examinations set for month end.