Masvingo – Four vendors arrested in the CBD in Masvingo for selling newspapers following a Covid 19 lockdown declaration by President Mnangagwa have been released following an intervention by Martin Mureri, a lawyer provided by MISA (Zimbabwe).
The four, Moice Chapwanya, Sibongile Zinduru, Sophia Chimvere and Christine Gumireshe were initially charged for doing business outside the prescribed essential services.
However, Police shifted goal posts after it emerged that the media and in particular print is a designated essential service that is there to enable critical service to function effectively. They took hours to look for a new charge.
The Police then sought to charge the vendors for selling newspapers from the pavement without licences and for obstructing human traffic. The four were released at around 5pm before any charge was formally laid against them.
It is a universal norm for vendors to sell newspapers from pavements and this is something that has been tested under the Zimbabwe law before.
A statement by the Minister of Industry and Commerce is crystal clear on the position of media in the campaign against the spread of Covid19.
Under the subheading; ENABLING SERVICES TO ASSIST IN THE COVID-19 RESPONSE, the Minister says “6. Communication and media services on screen, TV, radio, print, broadcast and online are essential services.”https://masvingomirror.com