Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A junior police officer in Plumtree has been arrested for allegedly using social media to incite members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to defy orders from their superiors to enforce lockdown regulations.
Levias Ngwenya (36), a police constable stationed at Plumtree Police Station allegedly wrote on his Facebook timeline, urging his colleagues in the security service sector to disregard Government directive by allowing people to engage in anti-Government protests.
He accused the Government of “bribing” police and soldiers by offering them a pay rise and US$75 Covid-19 risk allowances so that they descend on protestors.
Ngwenya appeared before Plumtree magistrate Tayengwa Chibanda facing charges of causing disaffection among members of the police force or defence forces as defined in section 30 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
He was released on $500 bail and remanded to July 28 for trial.
Ngwenya was ordered not to access his social media accounts and to continue residing at his given address until the matter is finalised. He was also ordered not to interfere with State witnesses as part of the bail conditions
Prosecuting, Ms Dorothy Kanengoni said on July 8 at about 2.58AM, Ngwenya posted on his Facebook page, alleging that soldiers and police were being used by the Zanu-PF-led Government to turn against the generality of impoverished Zimbabweans.
The post read: “Soldiers and police don’t be fooled and brainwashed with the money, which has little buying power. You should not allow Zanu-PF and Government to use you to attack your fellow brothers and sisters.”
“The reason why police officers and soldiers were given the money is to oil them so that they are able to descend heavily on impoverished civilians who are scheduled to demonstrate on July 31 as it is a divide and rule tactic,” wrote Ngwenya.
Ms Kanengoni said the message was aimed at inciting security forces to revolt against the Government.
“The accused person had no lawful right to induce other members of the ZRP and Zimbabwe Defence Forces to disregard Government directive,” she said.
The court heard that on August 9, Ngwenya using his Facebook account posted: “Zimbabwe police officers and ZNA must wake up and smell the coffee. It is time to embrace change not to fight our fellow citizens. Zanu-PF Government is using you for nothing.”
“What can you achieve with a paltry ZW$10 000 and useless Covid-19 risk allowance of US$75, which is not even accessible in banks. Wake up guys.”
Mr Bruce Masamvu who is being instructed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is representing Ngwenya. [email protected]