HARARE-Two journalists Frank Chikowore (39) and Samuel Takawira (29), who were arrested on Friday for conducting interviews with three MDC Alliance activists who are hospitalised at Parktown Hospital in Harare have on Tuesday been granted 500 ZWL bail each, TSTnews has observed.
By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Chikowore and Takawira appeared before Mbare Magistrate and they were represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyer Paidamoyo Saurombe who confirmed that the state failed to prove why the should be denied bail.
TSTnews noted Saurombe’s concerned on why journalists were being arrested and jailed whilr doing their constitutional duties in Zimbabwe.
“The court granted the two journalists bail in the sum of 500 ZWL on the conditions that they should reside at their addresses and not interfere with state witnesses.
“The question is why did we even came here at first place considering that these were journalists that were in the process of conducting their constitutional duties.
“The state failed to prove why they should not be granted bail,” Saurombe said.
Saurombe added that the two journalists are supposed to appear before the same court on the 15th of June
TSTnews observed that the two, had on Saturday appeared before Mbare magistrate, Musiiwa facing a count of contravening Section 11 (b) of Statutory Instrument of 2020, Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment), they were denied bail and made to spend the entire weekend and holiday behind bars.
MDC Alliance Harare Province Secretary for Social Welfare told TSTnews that the two were not supposed to be denied bail at first place given the nature of their offence.
“Bail denial for journalists is an enfrinchment of their rights. According to the constitution, every accused person has rights which include a fair hearing and bail. I don’t think those journalists can be said to be a flight risk considering the nature of the offense,” Mhetu said.
Speaking to TSTnews NewZimbabwe.com journalist, Leopold Kudakwashe Munhende said they are now practising their profession in fear everyday.
“There is no safety on these streets, everyday the message we share with each other at diaries is to always remember that it could be you tomorrow.
“We feel like we are being marked one by one for harassment, arrest or intimidation and we know for a fact it will not change.
“We are slowly adapting to this unhealthy environment,” Munhende said.