A Zimbabwe court has freed two journalists and 12 political activists who had been on remand facing charges of political and public violence, writes our correspondent.


Harare Magistrate Margaret Rusinahama released freelance journalist Frank Chikowore and former Daily News news editor  Luke Tamborinyoka who were both arrested in the Zimbabwean capital on April 15 for allegedly torching a bus.

Chikowore and Tamborinyoka spent 17 days in prison before being freed on remand in May. They were ordered to report to the police regularly, and made several court appearances.

Lawyer Alec Muchadehama argued that his clients had been on remand for too long and should be freed. He argued that the accused had waited long enough for the trial to begin. Delays were caused by the unavailability of the state witness.
Rusinahama  concurred and set free the journalists.

However, she said should the state find new evidence, the journalists and the supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would be hauled back to court by way of summons.

Meanwhile, Chronicle newspaper has fired an employee in its production department for placing an advert foir former Finance Minister, Simba Makoni, without government approval.

Makoni  was one of the presidential candidates in the March 29  elections after his defection from Zanu PF. He polled just 8% of  the  vote,  leaving Zanu-PF’s Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to square off in a run-off.
Milidzi Khupe had been on suspension since March but was dismissed last week.

Khupe becomes the latest casualty in a government crackdown against state media journalists it suspects of promoting the opposition.

He became the 9th  person to be fired following the earlier sacking of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive officer Henry Muradzikwa and 8 senior journalists at the state-run broadcaster who were accused of  “failing” Mugabe by giving the opposition MDC “too much airtime”.