A Zimbabwean man has been arrested after he was found in possession of a fake message which circulated on social media recently purported to be President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s statement on the state of the coronavirus lockdown.
The message in question alleged that the president has extended the national lockdown by 13. The lockdown which was imposed on the 30th of March to suppress the spread of the coronavirus pandemic was due to expire on the 19th of April and it was extended to the 3rd of May.
The accused, Lovemore Zvokusekwa, (36) is a resident of Chitungwiza.
Papers at the CID Law and Order Section read in part:
During the month of April 2020, the accused person published a fake Press statement document purported to be issued and signed by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe His Excellency Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa headlined “EXTENSION OF LOCKDOWN PERIOD BY 13 DAYS ONLY.” The false press statement document was extending the lockdown period by 13 days from 20 April 2020 to 3 May 2020. Accused then disseminated the false press statement document of different WhatsApp platforms using his phone Huawei 6 pro serial number 861855030065887 and 861855030082163 with Econet line number 0772103312, yet, in actual fact, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe His Excellency Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa did not make or neither sign that press statement.
The development comes when Zimbabwe has gazetted a Statutory Instrument under the Public Health Act that criminalises the circulation of false information, particularly on the coronavirus pandemic.
The SI makes falsehoods on the virus the highest level (14) offence in the country that attracts 20 years in prison.
– Zim Media Review