Police charge journalist over Mnangagwa ‘fleeing’ story he did not write
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested and charged NewZimbabwe.Com journalist Leopold Munhende for publishing falsehoods in connection with a story he said ‘he did not write’.
Munhende was called by the police on Monday, detained for about five hours before he was charged for communicating falsehoods in a story published on NewZimbabweCom on 21 September 2022 claiming President Emmerson Mnangagwa had fled protesting Zimbabweans in New York.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Zimbabwe) deployed lawyer Chris Mhike to assist Munhende. The date for trial is yet to be set.
“NewZimbabwe.com journalist Leopold Munhende was on 28 November 2022 charged for publishing falsehoods in a story that the online platform published on 21 September 2022,” MISA said in a statement.
“Munhende was charged for contravening Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. He is accused of communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State.
“The police said they charged Munhende in his capacity as the editor of the publication. However, the law enforcement agents were informed that Munhende was in fact not the NewZimbabwe.com editor, they insisted on charging him for the crime.
It is further stated that the law enforcement agents specifically allege that Munhende published an article on NewZimbabwe.com that Mnangagwa had fled protesting Zimbabweans in New York. The article said dozens of aides had to shield the Zanu PF leader at the airport.
“The police said Munhende knew or realised that there was a real risk or possibility that his actions or words may adversely affect the defence or economic interests of Zimbabwe.
“In the warned and cautioned statement, Munhende denied the allegations, and questioned why the police arrested and charged him when he was neither the author of the article, publisher nor the editor of NewZimbabwe.com.
“Munhende was released at 17:15 hours, after about five hours of interrogation,” Misa said in their statement