BEITBRIDGE – Veteran journalist Rex Mphisa who is based in the border town of Beitbridge was arrested last night while investigating shabeens that are not only violating lockdown rules but are selling alcohol illegally.
He spent the night in the cells at Beitbridge Police station and was released this morning.
The charge put against Mphisa by Police is, “contravening section 5 (1) of the statutory instrument 83/20 of the Covid-19 which says no gathering of more than two people in a public place except those exempted”.
Mphisa who is refuting the charge described the cell where he slept as filthy and infested with ‘big’ cockroaches.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists vice president Godfrey Mutimba described the arrest as vindictive, baseless and unlawful.
Journalists are an essential service under Covid -19 rules and further to that they are covered by a High Court order issued by Justice Manzunzu four weeks ago that bars Police from interfering with the work of scribes.
Mphisa who is being represented by Advocate Mzinyathi was arrested together with Zimpapers sales representative Charles Marerwa. Two other people Thulani Nyasha and David Sibanda are also facing the same charge.
“Here is a journalist doing his work within the dictates of the law. It is high time Police are sued and made to pay for senseless and illegal arrests like this one,” said Mutimba.