Court frees journalist Madhuku

HARARE - A Harare magistrate has ordered that the state “puts its house in order” before proceeding with the case of a freelance journalist who was arrested while investigating the shambolic Zimbabwe voters’ role.

Magistrate Anita Tshuma last Thursday freed Thomas Madhuku who was accused of practising without accreditation, after the state failed to furnish him with a trial date.

Tshuma said the state had shown that it was not ready to proceed to trial after postponing the case on several occasions.

Magistrate Tshuma said if the state “puts its house in order” they were free to summon Madhuku to court for trial.

Madhuku, 26, was arrested at Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede’s offices, while trying to get clarification on anomalies he had noted on the Chipinge South voters’ roll.

He was accused of contravening Section 78 (2) of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

His lawyer Advocate Tonderai Bhatasara successfully applied for refusal of further remand after the state highlighted it was failing to secure the presence of the complainant, Mudede whom it said was a busy man.

Prosecutor Tonderai Chakurira had told the court that Madhuku was arrested working on a story for the Daily News pertaining to alleged anomalies on the voters’ roll.

Pursuant to the idea, the court heard, Madhuku sent a fax to Mudede on July 16, this year, seeking audience with him over the issue.

Madhuku later went to Mudede’s offices where he identified himself as a journalist before producing his press card, the court heard.

According to state papers, Mudede checked the press card and realised it was valid from August of last year to December of the same year.

Madhuku produced a flash disc which he alleged contained information about the Chipinge voters’ roll at Mudede’s request, the court was told.

Mudede then made a police report leading to Madhuku’s arrest.

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