HIGH Court Judge Justice Jacob Manzunzu on Thursday 30 April 2020 ended the detention of Lovemore Zvokusekwa by granting him RTGS$1 000 bail after he was detained in prison for allegedly peddling falsehoods about President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s extension of the duration of the national lockdown period to May.
The 36 year-old Zvokusekwa of Chitungwiza petitioned the High Court after he was denied bail by a Harare Magistrate on Monday 20 April 2020, when he appeared in court facing charges of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state as defined in section 31(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Zvokusekwa, who was represented by Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Thomas Machinga and Cecil Mutsvandiani, was arrested on Saturday 18 April 2020 by Zimbabwe Republic Police members, who accused him of peddling 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 allegedly disseminated the false press statement on different WhatsApp groups using his Huawei mobile phone handset and yet President Mnangagwa had not written or signed the purported press statement.
Apart from ordering Zvokusekwa to pay RTGS$1 000 as bail money, Justice Manzunzu also ordered him to report once a week on Fridays at Chitungwiza Police Station and to continue residing at his given residential address.
He returns to court on 13 May 2020.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118