By Professor Matodzi
Harare, April 09, 2016 – POLICE on Friday intensified their crackdown on media practitioners after quizzing Malvern Mukudu, a journalist employed by Media Centre, over the publication of a story in a news agency quoting an opposition political party leader demanding that President Robert Mugabe should relinquish power.
The Zimbabwe Sentinel, a local news agency run by Media Centre, published a story titled “Pressure on Mugabe as another demonstration is set for … as new party declares war on Mugabe”.
The story quoted Zimbabwe People Front Party leader Owen Kuchata declaring that his political party would roll out demonstrations to compel the Mugabe as President.
Kuchata is currently serving a nine-year jail term after he was convicted for committing insurgency, sabotage, banditry or terrorism and money-laundering in February.
He was accused of attempting to petrol-bomb, Alpha and Omega Dairy plant, which is run by Mugabe and his family.
Mukudu, who is employed as editorial and research consultant by Media Centre, reported at Harare Central Police Station in the company of his lawyer, Gift Mtisi, of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
He spent about seven hours at the police station answering questions by police detectives over his role in the publication of the story.
The police detectives quizzed Mukudu over his roles at Media Centre and recorded a statement from him as they indicated that they would treat him as a witness in a treason case which they are reportedly investigating.
Mukudu becomes the second journalist to be quizzed by police detectives after they first questioned journalist and Media Centre Director Earnest Mudzengi on Thursday over the same issue.
They also recorded a statement from him as a witness in a treason case in which RadioVOP understands that the police are currently investigating.
While Kuchata is currently serving time for committing banditry and terrorism, in February prosecutors slapped him together with some serving soldiers Borman Ngwenya and Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, a former soldier with treason charges.
Prosecutors claim that the quartet plotted to subvert a constitutionally elected government and had been holding some drills in Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West under a plot to bomb his Alpha Omega Dairy farm in Mazowe.
The four join a long list of Zimbabweans who have been arrested over the years and charged with treason including the country’s main opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.