Two journalists detained over police exams story

HARARE – Police have detained Nqobani Ndlovu, a reporter with the weekly Standard newspaper over a story that he wrote last Sunday.\r\n

The story is about the cancellation of the police promotion examinations by the Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri.

Ndlovu pointed out in the story that retired police officers and war veterans have been invited to fill the vacant senior posts within the police force and they would be heavily involved in the planned election next year.

The Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, (ZUJ) Foster Dongozi said his organisation was concerned about the arrest of journalists by the police.

“Ndlovu will be charged under the Criminal Codification Act when he appears in court soon,” Dongozi  said.

Ndlovu, who is based in Bulawayo, is the second reporter from the same stable to be arrested over the same story during the past two days.

On Tuesday, police in Bulawayo picked up Dumisani Sibanda, the Bulawayo  bureau chief of the daily NewsDay for questioning over the same story yet was not the writer. 

Dumisani, who is the President of ZUJ, was released after about two hours but was ordered to  report back at the same police station  later.                                                                                       

Dongozi  said  ZUJ was not sure of the fate of Nevanji  Madanhire, the editor of the Standard newspaper who was  also summoned by the police in Harare late Wednesday  in connection with the  publication of the story.

“I last spoke to him soon after he was called by the police but I haven’t been able to speak to him since then and I am not sure of his safety,” Dongozi said.

Dongozi said Zuj has informed its affiliate organisations, the Southern African Journalists Association, the Federation of African Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists.

Despite assurance of Press freedom from the Ministry of Media Information and Publicity  police continue to arrest, detain and harass journalists in the country.

Repression of  the Press dates back to 2002, when the government  enacted the heinous piece of legislation called Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act ( AIPPA) during the tenure of office of Jonathan Moyo as Information Minister.

At least four newspapers, including the Daily News and its  Sunday edition were closed down and more than 40 journalists  were either arrested, harassed, detained or  even jailed.