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Journalist sues minister for unlawful arrest

MUTARE-BASED freelance journalist Sydney Saize has sued Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri and State security agents for humiliation and unlawful arrest in Chimanimani while investigating alleged theft of Cyclone Idai donations last year. BY KENNETH NYANGANI The matter was heard on Thursday by High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera who reserved judgment on whether it should to a full hearing. The journalist is claiming $500 000 damages. Saize cited Muchinguri, State Security minister Owen Ncube, Sports minister Kirsty Coventry, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Phillip Vallerio Sibanda and Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Isaac Moyo as respondents. Muchinguri and Sibanda, who were represented by lawyer Mutumbwa Mugabe, raised preliminary objections that the case should not go to a full hearing. Mugabe told Justice Mwayera that Saize in his summons to sue the State security agents did not name the officers who harassed and arrested him. Saize’s lawyer Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga Maanda and Associates said the arguments raised by State were meant to delay the finalisation of the matter. “These arguments are ill taken, they are meant to delay the finalisation of the matter because my client complied with everything the State needed,” Nyakureba said. “He was unlawfully arrested by officers from the army, Central Intelligence Organisation and from the Border Gezi while doing investigative journalism on Cyclone Idai donations to verify if allegations that they were stolen were true.” Saize claimed that on April 11, he travelled to Chimanimani to investigate alleged theft of Cyclone Idai donations by State security agents and government officials. It is alleged that while interviewing the survivors at Ngangu Primary School, the journalist was arrested by some members of the security forces. He was detained at Ngangu Primary School and some officers later forced him to accept a food donation and ordered him to sign for it before posting messages on social media that he had stolen the donations. Saize was handed over to police in Chimanimani who refused to open a docket against him, saying they recognised him as an accredited journalist.

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