Freed journalist recounts ordeal at police station

Mziwandile Ndlovu, a journalist with the Bulawayo-based Weekly Agenda, has described how he was smacked and threatened by police while in custody last week.

Ndlovu was charged with writing a fictitious story under the notorious Section 31 of the Criminal Law Codification Act.

Ndlovus ordeal started last week Monday when he was told to report to Lupane police station for questioning regarding a story he had written in April. His story was in connection with a National Healing meeting in Victoria Falls, which had to be cancelled after speakers Vice-President John Nkomo and Sekai Holland, Minister of State in the Deputy Prime Ministers Office, failed to turn up and National Healing Minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu was arrested in Hwange on his way to the meeting.

When Mziwandile arrived at the police station, he was held overnight and then transferred to Hwange, where he was grilled by the police there.

I was told they were deliberately keeping me in Hwange so that my lawyers would not have access to me. And should my lawyers know that I am in Hwange, they would further transfer me to another police station until Id be taken to court, he explained.

I was pushed from one officer to another. I was interrogated by some people there. They tried to force me to sign a warned and cautioned statement, and I was also threatened with being harassed at night, Ndlovu said, but my lawyers had informed me I should not sign that in the absence of a lawyer and I refused. I was then assaulted.

He eventually saw his lawyers on Wednesday and was released on bail the same day. He says the ill-treatment by the police shows ZANU PF is in fear and panic, and knows its on its way out. These are the last days of a dying horse, he said.

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