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Police Pressing Journalists to Reveal Name of Senior Cop Fingered in Elephant Poaching

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Attorney James Muzangaza of Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana law firm says arrested Sunday Mail staffers, Editor Mabasa Sasa, investigations editor Brian Chitemba and reporter Tinashe Farawo are facing some charges under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The police dismissed the Sunday Mail’s lead story at a press conference that alleged a senior officer was working with National Parks rangers to poison elephants with cyanide.

Journalists were also apprised of police investigations into the cyanide killings at the press conference.

Muzangaza told VOA Studio 7 his clients are expected to appear in court Wednesday, but adds he is considering challenging the constitutionality of the statute under which the three scribes have been charged.

“They have since been charged with contravening Section 31 paragraph (a) sub-paragraph 2 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9.23, which is basically the publication of falsehoods that have got an effect of the economic interest of Zimbabwe,” he said.

MISA-Zimbabwe chairperson Kumbirai Mafunda also said the media watchdog is concerned by the continuing attacks on journalists that he noted are on the rise.

“The police has decided to extend the onslaught against journalists to the state, to our colleagues at the state-run media as we saw just a couple of weeks ago the arrest of Sydney Saize and Kenneth Nyangani,” Mafunda said, adding that "it really worries us.”