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Journalist threatened following publication of article

Tatenda Chitagu, a journalist with "The Mirror", Masvingo province's private paper, has taken legal action against the provincial chairperson who threatened her following the publication of an article in which she is alleged to have been involved in a criminal activity.

In its 27 March-2 April 2009 issue, "The Mirror" published a story entitled "Top Zanu PF official linked to armed robberies" in which the author alleged that the provincial chairlady, Shylet Uyoyo, was involved in a spate of armed robberies.

The story alleged that the chairlady's party vehicle had been used as a getaway car in a series of armed robberies that had occurred in the city of Masvingo and surrounding area. The story further alleged that Uyoyo's driver, Edward Mwaona, who was later killed in a police shootout, was the ringleader in these robberies.

Uyoyo, accompanied by Zanu PF youths, visited "The Mirror" offices and demanded to see the reporter, Tatenda Chitagu, in connection with the story. After learning that Chitagu was out on duty, Uyoyo is said to have threatened to mete out unspecified action against Chitagu which would result in the journalist being unable to walk again.

Golden Maunganidze, the editor of "The Mirror", along with Chitagu went to Masvingo Central police station on 2 April 2009 where they filed a police report before being subsequently summoned to court on 16 June 2009.

Uyoyo appeared before Magistrate Walter Chikwana of the Masvingo magistrates court to face charges of assault by threat, but Chikwana deferred the matter to 22 June 2009 after Uyoyo's lawyer, Charles Ndlovu, failed to turn up for the court proceedings.

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