Bulawayo magistrate Franklin Mkhwananzi today set free veteran Bulawayo based journalist Zenzele Ndebele with the state preferring no charges against him. There will be no trial to this effect.
State security authorities on Thursday arrested and charged Ndebele after he was found in possession of used tear gears canisters at the Bulawayo State House where President Mnangagwa was presiding over a Gukurahundi stakeholder meeting with Civil Society Organizations.
Ndebele who is the Director of the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE) was brought before the court Friday morning and was represented by Nqobani Sithole from Ncube Attorneys.
“”It beats logic that a USED canister and an empty cartridge could be defined as DANGEROUS WEAPONS if weapons at all,” the magistrate is quoted as saying in dismissing the case.
Ndebele’s arrest was widely condemned with human rights activists describing his arrest as a strategic move to ease Mnangagwa’s meeting which could have proved difficult is he had been allowed to question the president.
The opposition MDC today demanded the unconditional release of Ndebele describing his arrest as Mnangagwa’s own goal whose administration has been keen to close democratic space in Zimbabwe a move that will keep the country isolated from the international community.
“The continuous closure of democratic space in Zimbabwe is retrogressive and inflicts Zimbabwe’s further isolation from the family of nations. Yet the re-engagement rhetoric is gobbling millions of tax payer’s funds. The own goals must stop.
“Ndebele is being targeted for his role as a producer of a documentary on the 1982-1987 genocide known as Gukurahundi,” party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said. Nehanda Radio