The arrest of yet another Zimbabwean man on allegations of spreading falsehoods pertaining to the catastrophic Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic during the prevailing extended national lockdown has been received with mixed reactions by various opinion leaders, and commentators alike.
The country’s policing unit, the Zimbabwe Republic Police announced on Twitter Sunday night that it had apprehended 36-year-old Lovemore Zvekusekwa on allegations of spreading false coronavirus-related information during the current national lockdown.
“The ZRP confirms the arrest of Lovemore Zvekusekwa(36) for circulating false information meant to cause alarm (and) despondency during the COVID-19 national lockdown. He is being charged for contravening section 31(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23,” the country’s policing service posted on its official Twitter handle.
But, in his reaction to the latest developments, fugitive former Zanu PF cabinet Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo querried if by ‘circulating’, the charged criminal had, in actual fact, put the alleged falsehoods in writing as interdicted by the current lockdown regulations.
Prevailing Covid-19 regulations have put in place deterrent measures against ‘publication’ of fake Covid-19 information.
“Circulating. Can you confirm whether circulating is the same as authoring!” Moyo probed.
On the other hand, Zanu PF official Lewis Matutu literally laughed off Moyo’s queries, saying as a past cabinet minister, the former Higher and Tertiary Education minister was in a position to know better during these ‘difficult and dangerous times.’
During the early 2000s, Professor Moyo also served as Media and Information minister and got the notoriety of being the ‘media hangman’ for the Government’s vicious clampdown on the apparently anti-Zanu PF media houses.
“These are difficult and dangerous times (Professor Moyo) (and) as a former minister of Information, you should understand the consequences of allowing reckless flow of information during a disaster,” Matutu argued.
A couple of days ago, Zwnews carried a story in which a man from Chivhu was fined Z$500 for spreading false information that a nurse at Sadza District Hospital in Chikomba had died of coronavirus.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record calling for punitive measures to be taken against peddlers of Covid-19 falsehoods.