The editor of The Chronicle, Brezhnev Malaba, and reporter Nduduzo
Tshuma have been charged with criminal defamation, writes a

This comes after the Bulawayo-based regional daily published a story claiming police were involved in a maize scandal.

Malaba and Tshuma are also facing  charges of breaching sections of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which deals with the publication of falsehoods.

In January, a report in the paper claimed that some senior police officials were involved in a Grain Marketing Board (GMB) maize scandal in which tonnes of maize were sold on the black market and in neighbouring Zambia.

Media bodies have said the charges against the two journalists runs against the grain of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change formations which culminated in the formation of the inclusive government.

"Article 19 of the GPA recognises the importance of the right to freedom of expression and the role played by a free media in a multi-party democracy.

"MISA-Zimbabwe urges the relevant authorities to ensure that journalists conduct their lawful professional duties without being harassed, arrested, threatened or intimidated,'" said Misa in a statement.

Meanwhile, a prominent DJ has appeared in court to be charged with  raping and infecting a 16-year-old girl with HIV.

Police have issued a statement inviting more witnesses to come forward as they fear they could be more girls who might have been infected by the DJ.

Charles Arnold, 36, is accused of turning his Bulawayo hotel room into a base for parties and drugs with young girls.

Arnold is facing 3 counts of rape.

He was remanded in custody to April.

Prosecutors said the victim had been billed to perform at a modelling and fashion show at a local nightclub on December 31. When the show was called off power outages, Arnold allegedly invited the girl and other contestants to his hotel room for a party which carried on until the early hours of the New Year's Day.

The court was told that the girl feared going back home after a night out without her parents consent and was lured into Arnold's room for a another party where she allegedly turned down the DJ's sexual advances.

He is accused of having forced himself on her and raped her again in the early hours of the next morning.

Arnold was said to have raped her for the third time before releasing her.

On January 3, the victim’s mother is said to have received a tip-off from one of the alleged victim’s friends that she was at Arnold’s residence.

She took her daughter for medical checks where she tested positive to HIV.