The trial of Daily News reporter Lloyd Mudiwa, who was charged with publishing falsehoods after his report that a woman was supposedly beheaded by Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front supporters, was postponed.
According to Daily News assistant editor Bill Saidi, the trial was postponed because the government decided to charge Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota and reporter Collin Chiwanza with the same offense and try all three journalists at the same time.
The story has since been disproved.
Viewing cable 02HARARE1568, JOURNALIST’S TRIAL POSTPONED
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001568
DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S , AF/RA
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: JOURNALIST’S TRIAL POSTPONED
¶1. The trial of “Daily News” reporter Lloyd Mudiwa
has been postponed. Mudiwa was charged on April 30
with “publishing falsehoods” because of his report
about a woman supposedly beheaded by ruling party
supporters. That story has since been disproved. On
June 20 Mudiwa presented himself to the Harare
Magistrates’ Court as ordered, but was told to return
on July 22.
¶2. According to “Daily News” Assistant Editor Bill
Saidi, the trial was postponed because the government
decided to charge “Daily News” editor-in-chief Geoff
Nyarota and reporter Collin Chiwanza with the same
offense and try all three journalists at the same
time. The government, apparently, needs additional
time to draw up the charges against Nyarota and
¶3. Developing charges against Chiwanza may involve
some interesting legal contortions. He and Mudiwa
were arrested together on April 30 and spent two
nights in jail, joined by Amcit journalist Andrew
Meldrum on May 1. Harare magistrate Lillian Kudya,
however, withdrew the charges against Chiwanza on May
7, stating that he “did not contribute to the initial
false publication.” In a society in which rule of law
prevailed, charging Chiwanza with the same offense for
a second time would likely be seen as double jeopardy.