The editor of the Standard Bornwell Chakaodza set a new record when he was arrested three times in one week. He was arrested on 16, 22 and 23 May 2002.
The editor of the Daily News Geoff Nyarota has been arrested more times, six times in two years.
Chakaodza and his reporter Farai Mutsaka were arrested for publishing falsehoods following an article in which the Standard speculated in staff changes at the government-owned Zimpapers.
Viewing cable 02HARARE1258, STANDARD” EDITOR SETS NEW ARREST RECORD
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001258
DEPT FOR AF/PD (COX AND ROBERTSON), AF/S (KRAFT AND
NSC FOR JANDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: “STANDARD” EDITOR SETS NEW ARREST RECORD
¶1. BORNWELL CHAKAODZA, EDITOR OF THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY
“STANDARD” WAS ARRESTED AGAIN ON MAY 23, SETTING A NEW
ZIMBABWEAN RECORD FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES AN EDITOR HAS
BEEN ARRESTED IN ONE WEEK. CHAKAODZA WAS ALSO ARRESTED ON
MAY 22 AND MAY 16. WHILE OTHER EDITORS MAY BOAST A HIGHER
NUMBER OF LIFETIME ARRESTS (BY OUR RECKONING “DAILY NEWS”
EDITOR GEOFF NYAROTA LEADS THAT RACE WITH 6 ARRESTS IN THE
LAST TWO YEARS), NO ONE COMES CLOSE TO CHAKAODZA’S RECORD-
SETTING THREE TIMES IN ONE WEEK.
¶2. THE MAY 23 ARREST OF CHAKAODZA AND ONE OF HIS
REPORTERS, FARAI MUTSAKA, WAS FOR “PUBLISHING FALSEHOODS,”
A VIOLATION OF THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF
PRIVACY ACT (AIPPA). THE MAY 23 ARREST WAS SPARKED BY AN
ARTICLE IN THE MAY 12 EDITION OF THE “STANDARD” THAT
PREDICTED STAFFING CHANGES AT THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED
“ZIMPAPERS” PUBLISHING CONMPANY. THE ARREST FOLLOWED THE
NOW-FAMILIAR NORM: POLICE ARRIVE AT THE “STANDARD’S”
OFFICES, TAKE THE JOURNALISTS INTO CUSTODY AND DELIVER THEM
TO POLICE CENTRAL HQ IN HARARE. AT THE POLICE STATION, THE
JOURNALISTS SPEND TWO OR THREE HOURS ANSWERING A POLICE
INSPECTOR’S QUESTIONS ABOUT DIFFERENT STORIES IN VARIOUS
EDITIONS OF THE NEWSPAPER. EVENTUALLY, THE POLICE CHARGE
THE JOURNALISTS FOR A SPECIFIC STORY, COLLECT THE BAIL, AND
LET THEM GO. THUS FAR, THE JOURNALISTS HAVE NOT BEEN
¶3. THE HARASSMENT OF THE “STANDARD” OVER THE LAST WEEK
HAS BEEN EXPENSIVE IN TERMS OF TIME LOST IN THE NEWSROOM,
LEGAL FEES AND BAIL. THE ARRESTS, HOWEVER, SEEM TO HAVE
STRENGTHENED THE RESOLVE OF CHAKAODZA, HIS REPORTERS AND
THEIR PUBLISHER TO CONTINUE THEIR WORK.