Zimbabwe court drops charges against journalist

A Zimbabwe court has dropped charges of inciting violent anti-government protests levelled against journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono.

The court said prosecutors had failed to specify how a series of tweets constituted an offence.

Mr Chin’ono, who has a large social media following, was arrested in July last year and held for several weeks in prison for tweeting in support of planned anti-government protests later that month.

Justice Siyabonga Musithu said it was “a vital requirement of the justice system that a charge must be framed in a way that does not leave an accused person guessing as to what offence they are alleged to have committed and how it was committed”.

The same court had cleared Mr Chin’ono of publishing false information in April.

He still faces trial for alleged obstruction of public justice for posting a tweet ahead of a judicial decision in November last year.

He has been freed on bail and banned from using his Twitter account to post anything that might “incite the public to revolt against the government”.

The outspoken award-winning journalist has been critical of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s governance, accusing his government of corruption and mismanagement.

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