A 39-year-old man from Chivhu who was charged with spreading false information on a WhatsApp group insinuating that a nurse stationed at Sadza District Hospital in Chikomba had died of Covid-19, escaped jail by a whisker after he was fined just $500 for the offence.
This comes against the backdrop of warnings by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that those who spread Covid-19 (coronavirus) falsehoods during the current lockdown which ha since been extended by two weeks, will be subjected to severe punitive measures.
Elliott Mafuta paid his $500 fine at Chivhu Police Station after he was charged for contravening Section 14 of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 which prohibits the spread of false Covid-19 information during the current national lockdown.
It is alleged that last Thursday, Mafuta posted a message on a WhatsApp group which read:
“A Sadza Hospital nurse who was Covid-19 positive died yesterday so the situation requires us to be cautious (sic).”
Later on the same day, Mafuta reportedly posted another message, falsely claiming that he was withholding the identity of the deceased nurse for ‘other reasons’ and Chivhu police received a tip-off leading to his subsequent arrest.
Meanwhile, Sadza District Hospital administrator, Tawanda Dzvairo dismissed Mafuta’s claims as ‘utterly false’, saying the hospital is yet to record any Covid-19 suspected case.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews