Home International Mnangagwa threatens 20 year jail time over fake lockdown statement

Mnangagwa threatens 20 year jail time over fake lockdown statement

44
SHARE

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa threatened 20 years in jail to the author of a statement purporting to bear his signature that said the lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak had been extended.

Harare – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson

Mnangagwa threatened 20 years in jail to the author

of a statement purporting to bear his signature that said the

lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak had been extended.

Mnangagwa, who was speaking at his farm after touring Gweru

city in central Zimbabwe, told state broadcaster ZBC he had not

extended the 21-day lockdown. The statement that claimed the

restrictions were extended was circulated on social media last

week and was immediately denied by the government.

“If we catch this person it must be exemplary and they must

go in for at least a level 14, which is 20 years imprisonment

…. I think we need to demonstrate that we don’t want false

news to be circulated,” Mnangagwa said.

The southern African nation last month published lockdown

regulations, which included jail terms of up to 20 years for

people who spread falsehoods regarding the outbreak.

National police spokesman Paul Nyathi said more than 5,000

people had been arrested for venturing outside their homes

without permission but denied security forces had abused

residents.

Rights groups say there have been a growing number of cases

of abuse after the army was deployed to help police enforce the

lockdown. Security forces in Zimbabwe have a history of

brutality when enforcing the law.

Mnangagwa said his cabinet would meet this week to decide

whether to end, adjust or extend the lockdown.

The authorities have said three people have died from the

new coronavirus and 17 people have been infected in the country

of 15 million people. Just over 600 people had been tested by

Monday night.

Police spokesman Nyathi said police had not received any

official complaints of abuse from residents.

But in a ruling, the High Court issued a warning to police

after a petition by some citizens.

“It is unlawful for law enforcement officers or any other

person purporting to be enforcing the regulations to affront the

dignity of persons by assaulting them or ordering persons to

carry out humiliating acts,” the court said.

In an editorial on Monday, the state-owned Herald newspaper

criticised the police for harassing journalists doing their work

during the lockdown, including forcing some to delete pictures

and video that captured abuses by security forces.

Nyathi said he was not aware of the incidents.

In a separate case, the High Court ordered the government to

provide enough protective clothing to frontline health workers

fighting the coronavirus outbreak at state hospitals after some

doctors sued the government. 

Reuters