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Reporter arrested for airing Grace Mugabe's 'dirty laundry'

Kenneth Nyangani was arrested after he wrote a story claiming Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe donated second-hand underwear to supporters.

FILE: Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe. Picture: EWN.

HARARE - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested a newspaper reporter after he wrote a story claiming First Lady Grace Mugabe donated second-hand underwear to supporters.

Rights lawyers say police wanted to charge the reporter with criminal defamation.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says Kenneth Nyangani was arrested in the eastern city of Mutare on Monday.

That’s after he wrote a story claiming a local Zanu-PF Member of Parliament had distributed second-hand undergarments to supporters.

The MP was quoted as saying the clothing was a gift from the first lady.

Nyangani’s lawyer Passmore Nkakureba says police want to charge the reporter with criminal defamation, even though that law was struck down as invalid by the Constitutional Court last year.

The lawyer said it’s still unclear whether the complainant in the case is the MP or the first lady.

At the same time, Amnesty International has slammed Nyangani’s arrest and detention.

It says Nyangani’s arrest was meant to harass and intimidate him and other journalists.

The group’s Zimbabwe director Cousin Zilala says the arrest on Monday night will send a chilling message to journalists that they must self-censor rather than expose the truth.

Nkakureba told EWN the reporter is still in custody and that police are going through statements from the complainants.