Zim man detained over “fake” Mnangagwa COVID-19 national lock down extension statement

A ZIMBABWEAN man was on Monday 20 April 2020 detained in remand prison after he was denied bail by a Harare Magistrate when he appeared in court for allegedly peddling falsehoods about President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s extension of the duration of the national lockdown period to May.

36 year-old Lovemore Zvokusekwa of Chitungwiza appeared at Harare Magistrates Court on Monday
20 April 2020 after he was arrested on Saturday 18 April 2020 by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
officers, who charged him with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state as
defined in section 31(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

In court, prosecutors alleged that Zvokusekwa, who is re represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, peddled falsehoods when he reportedly circulated a false and unsigned press statement
purportedly written and issued by President Mnangagwa titled “EXTENSION OF LOCKDOWN PERIOD
BY 13 DAYS ONLY” advising people that he had extended the national lockdown period by 13 days from
20 April 2020 to 3 May 2020.

Zvokusekwa, prosecutors charged, disseminated the false press statement on different WhatsApp
platforms using his Huawei mobile phone handset and yet President Mnangagwa had not written or
signed the purported press statement.

Prosecutors said some witnesses who received the false press statement will testify against Zvokusekwa
during his trial.

Zvokusekwa, who was remanded in prison custody, will return to court on 13 May 2020.

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