Nqobani is being charged with criminal defamation after he wrote a story titled “Police Exams Cancelled” which exposed that retired police officers and war veterans had been re-called to take up vacant top posts in the police force to direct operations during next year’s elections and this had led to the cancellation of police promotional examinations this year.
The police on Friday sent the journalist to Grey Remand Prison here.
After listening to submissions from both Ndlovu’s lawyer Josphat Tshuma and from the Investigation officer Inspector,Moses Boora, Bulawayo Magistrate, Sibongile Msipa said she needed time to study the submissions and will only make a ruling on the bail application on Monday.
In opposing bail in court, the Investigation officer, Inspector Boora from Bulawayo Central police station’s Law and Order Section said “Ndlovu’s co-accused Nevanji Madanhire who is the editor of The Standard is on the run and they need to arrest him first.”
Boora also claimed charges faced by Ndlovu were serious and said if granted bail he might abscond.
However in defence Tshuma said: “Your worship my client is a law abiding citizen, who even went to present himself to the police after getting wind that police were looking for him. He is of fixed abode, full employed and ironically his offices are even located at a building just a few metres from the Bulawayo Central police station and there is no way he can abscond.”
Ndlovu’s incarceration has sparked outrage among journalists’ unions.
The Norwegian Journalists Association (NUJ) sent a petition to President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai asking them to order his release and guarantee freedom of the press.
Despite the formation of the unity government, the harassment of journalists by police has not abated.
Earlier this month, freelance journalists, Nkosana Dlamini and Andreson Manyere were arrested in Harare and held overnight before being charged with “criminal nuisance.”
On the same day, another freelance journalist, Sydney Saize, was beaten up, robbed and injured in Mutare.