Air commander takes journos to court

BULAWAYO - Two reporters from and Zimpapers Bulawayo branch acting general manager appeared in court facing charges of criminal defamation against National Railways of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai.

The reporters, Simiso Mlevu and Sikhumbuzo Moyo, and manager, Max Shayamano, allegedly published a story that the parastatal’s CEO, Karakadzai, pointed a firearm at an employee who had unearthed his unscrupulous activities at the company. The article also said that he carried out negotiations for salary increments for employees with workers’ representatives with a firearm on top of the table.

Mlevu (24), Moyo (33) and Shayamano (48), were not formally charged with contravening section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (criminal defamation) when they briefly appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Phathekile Msipa.

They were remanded out of custody to 19 May on US$50 each. Initially the police had charged Mlevu and Moyo as the reporter and acting editor at the time of publication of the story.

However, they later added Shayamano’s name on the State papers at court as the acting general manager representing the publisher. Jerry Mutsindikwa for the State told the court that on Fools Day, Mlevu telephoned Karakadzai and told him that they intended to publish a story in their Umthunywa publication.

The court heard that Karakadzai told her that the story was false and there was no need to publish it. It is alleged that NRZ public relations manager, Fanuel Masikati, also spoke to Mlevu and Moyo over the phone and told them not to publish the story as

it was false.

On 2 April, the pair allegedly published the story with a headline ‘Umaqhuzu we NRZ ukhombela isisebenzi ngovolovolo” literally meaning “NRZ boss points a firearm at worker’. However, on seeing the story Karakadzai reported the matter to the police.

The trio is represented by Job Sibanda of Sibanda and Associates.

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