MASVINGO-based journalist and Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) vice president, Godfrey Mtimba was arrested Monday on charges of insulting and undermining the authority of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mtimba was initially charged with taking pictures of police details arresting MDC Alliance activists including the party’s national youth organising secretary and Masvingo councillor, Godfrey Kurauone without a valid press card.
However, the charge was later changed to undermining the authority of the President.
According to the police, Mtimba addressed commuters at a bus rank in the city Friday evening and told them that they were suffering because Mnangagwa and his sons were looting Zimbabwe’s resources.
Mtimba is denying the charges and insists that he was never at the said rank.
“Muri muqueue imomo nokutamba nhamo nenyaya yaMnangagwa nevana vake vari kuba (You are standing in that long queue and suffering because of Mnangagwa and his children who are stealing),” reads part of the charge sheet.
Masvingo police spokesperson chief inspector Charity Mazula was not reachable on her mobile phone. Efforts to get a comment from Mtimba’s lawyer Philip Shumba were also futile. However, ZUJ secretary-general, Foster Dongozi confirmed the arrest.
Sources said Mtimba got details last Friday that police were involved in a high-speed car chase in pursuit of Kurauone after the youth leader had addressed commuters in the city.
Kurauone and two other activists later abandoned their vehicle in Mucheke and ran away.
Mtimba made a follow-up and found some police details guarding the abandoned car. Police accused Mtimba of using an expired press card and ordered him to leave the scene.
However, Mtimba was shocked when he was summoned to the police Law and Order Section Saturday morning. He went back Monday and was arrested and charged for allegedly insulting Mnangagwa.