Couple arrested for making false claims about Mnangagwa’s death

Joyce Muchenje,centre, poses for a photo with her three children, who all have albinism, outside their family home in Chitungwiza on the outskirts of Harare, in this Tuesday, June, 9, 2020. Muchenje used to provide for them by washing laundry and household cleaning for cross border traders at a busy border town before the lockdown, but now the border trade has stopped and Mutenje has run out of money to get the skin cream for her children. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

A Beitbridge couple has been arrested for allegedly broadcasting via a WhatsApp group that President Mnangagwa had succumbed to Covid19.

The suspects become the latest to be caught up in the web as Government cracks hard on those publishing falsehoods.

Devine Panashe Maregere (20) and his wife Vongai Nomatter Chiminya (20) are accused of having falsely claimed that the Head of State had died on the morning of January 25 due to Covid-19 related complications.

The two have since appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate Mr Toyindepi Zhou charged with contravening section 31 (a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 (publishing or communicating false statement prejudicial to the State).

They were remanded in custody to March 5.

Prosecuting, Miss Tsitsi Mutukwa said on January 26, the two were at their place of residence in Dulivhadzimu Suburb when Chiminya received an audio message via a WhatsApp group ‘Ruwadzano Rwemadzimai’ which she is a member of.

The audio message claimed that President Mnangagwa had died of Covid19 on January 25 at around 6.24am.

Chiminya allegedly sent the message to Maregere, who in turn forwarded it to another WhatsApp group, “Agents and Runners, Beitbridge”. He used his phone NetOne line to forward the audio message.

The offence was discovered on the following day leading to the pair’s arrest and the recovery of the two mobile phones, a Mobicel and Samsung Galaxy J4. – Herald