HARARE, October 5 ‑ Journalist Kenneth Nyangani, who was arrested over a published story where he wrote that Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe had donated used panties and nightwear, was granted bail Wednesday.
Nyangani was picked up by the police on Monday night, and charged with criminal nuisance as defined in section 46(2)(v) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 the following day.
The article was published in the private newspaper NewsDay under the headline Grace donates used underwear.
In granting bail, magistrate Sekai Chiwundura ordered Nyangani to deposit US$200 with the clerk of court, reside at his given address, not to interfere with witnesses and report every Friday at Mutare Central Police Station Law and Order section.
His matter was remanded to October 18.
He is being represented by Passmore Nyakureba from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
The article read that businessman and Zanu PF legislator for Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency, Esau Mupfumi, handed over a donation from Grace, which consisted of used undergarments and night wear to the ruling party’s supporters at a meeting held in Mutare, a city about 265km east of the capital, at the weekend.
After publication of the article, Mupfumi filed a report with the police as an informer and the complainant in court papers is the State.
The State accused Nyangani of causing “ordinary discomfort, hurt and humiliation to the informant and the recipients of the donated goods”.
In the warned-and-cautioned statement, Nyangani denied the allegations, saying: “I deny the allegations in toto. The charges are malicious and are a violation of my constitutional rights . . . My right to practice my profession as a journalist has been seriously threatened. The arrest and detention has violated my freedom of movement.”