afrol News, 30 September - Tawanda Majoni a journalist with the Zimbabwean 'Daily Mirror' has been sentenced to three months in prison for allegedly breaching the Police Act. Mr Majoni is accused of working as a journalist and a police officer at the same time.
Mr Majoni was tried by a Police Disciplinary tribunal on 18 September, and was found guilty of having sought employment with the 'Daily Mirror' whilst he was still a member of the police force. He has since denied the charge and filed an appeal against both the conviction and sentence.
At the outbreak of this case, Mr Majoni had informed the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) that he had legally and procedurally resigned from the police force. His lawyer, Johannes Tomana said that he would appeal against the sentence passed on Majoni.
MISA-Zimbabwe is reliably informed that Mr Majoni is out of custody and at work pending the hearing on his appeal. "The sentence is harsh under the circumstances", said Mr Tomana, adding that his client had appealed against both the conviction and sentence.
- He was convicted by a disciplinary court in terms of the Police Act, the lawyer said. The reporter was also fined 500 Zimbabwe dollars (US$ 9).
On 9 September, Mr Majoni wrote an article in the Daily Mirror's first edition alleging that Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri was unhealthy and unfit for duty. The article was immediately dismissed as untrue. Majoni was arrested and questioned a few days later by police before being charged under the Police Act and ordered to appear before a police hearing.
Mr Tomana said the state also alleged Mr Majoni gathered information for the article before he had been properly retired from the police on 4 September and this was said to be "in conflict with his being an officer."
- We think they have erred, added Mr Tomana.