A JOURNALIST who claimed President Robert Mugabe’s wife donated used knickers to his political supporters has been arrested by state police.
Kenneth Nyangani, a reporter with Zimbabwe’s NewsDay newspaper, was detained in Mutare after the story was published, revealed his lawyer Passmore Nyakureba.
In the story, it was reported that a ruling party legislator called Esau Mupfumi donated the underwear on behalf of Grace Mugabe.
“Recently I visited the State House and I met the First Lady Grace Mugabe and I was given these clothes so that I can give you,” he reportedly said
“I have briefs for you and I am told that most of your briefs are not in good shape, please come and collect your allocations today.
“We have nightdresses, sandals and clothes, come and take, this is from your First Lady,” the newspaper quoted Mupfumi as saying
Grace Mugabe, whose political profile has risen in the recent years, routinely donates clothing and food items to ruling party supporters at her rallies.
However, it seem she is far from happy about the knickers story.
“They wanted to charge him with criminal defamation, but I told them that law has been struck down by the Constitutional Court,” said lawyer Nyakureba.
“They didn’t even seem aware of that fact. They are also not telling us whether the complainant is the first lady or the legislator.”
Amnesty International today appealed for the writer’s release, describing his arrest as an attempt to harass and intimidate him and other journalists.
“The intention is to send a chilling message to journalists and media workers that they must self-censor rather than expose truths,” said Cousin Zilala, executive director of Amnesty.
“Zimbabwean journalists should not be criminalised simply for doing their work. Kenneth Nyangani must be released immediately and unconditionally, and all charges against him dropped.”
President Mugabe, meanwhile, was in South Africa today for a meeting with President Jacob Zuma.
He was not accompanied by his wife, who received diplomatic immunity from the country after being accused of attacking a young woman in a Johannesburg hotel in August by whipping her with an extension cord.
Grace Mugabe has denied any wrongdoing, saying she acted in self defence.