Zimbabwean journalist arrested for reporting on Grace Mugabe 'used underwear donation'

Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe accused of beating model with extension cordNewsweek

A Zimbabwean journalist has been arrested for reporting that the country's First Lady allegedly donated clothes including used underwear to the ruling party's supporters.

Journalist Kenneth Nyangani was arrested after an article appearing on Zimbabwean news site Newsday which claimed that Grace Mugabe "reportedly donated used underwear and night dresses at a Zanu PF meeting in Mutare".

The clothes were reportedly donated to the ruling party activists by Zanu PF member Esau Mupfumi who, according to the article, claimed he had been sent by the First Lady.

Advertisement

The article further said that party activists expressed anger as they felt treated as "charity case " and blamed the leadership for not "creating employment opportunities".

Newsday reported that Nyangani was arrested on Monday 2 October.

Nyangani's lawyer, Passmore Nyakureba, told News 24 that his client was in custody at Mutare Central Police Station. He added that Nyangani faces charges of defamation, although it was not clear if against Mugabe or Mupfumi.

The Zimbabwean embassy in London has not responded to a request from IBTimes UK for a comment.

Zimbabwe banned importation of second-hand clothes and shoes in 2015 as a way to promote local companies, according to local news site the Herald.

Rights group Amnesty International has condemned the arrest, which it said was a way to "intimdate" Nyangani and other reporters.

"The intention is to send a chilling message to journalists and media workers that they must self-censor rather than expose truths," Cousin Zilala, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe, said.

Advertisement

"Zimbabwean journalists should not be criminalised simply for doing their work. Kenneth Nyangani must be released immediately and unconditionally, and all charges against him dropped."

President Robert Mugabe kisses his wife and first lady Grace Mugabe during during the country's 37th Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare April 18, 2017.EKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

© Copyright 2017 IBTimes Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.