Commissioner Charamba

Elizabeth Zimunda, the woman identified as a veteran journalist who was allegedly killed by security forces in Chitungwiza during last month’s violent protests organised by MDC-Alliance and its associates, was not a journalist, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has said.

The publication which she purportedly worked for, the Zimbabwean Leadership Magazine, also does not exist on the list of accredited publishing companies, giving indications that her purported death was false and part of the anti-Zimbabwe narrative peddled by the opposition and non-governmental organisations.

This comes barely a week after The Herald exposed that  one Tinashe Kaitano, who was being reported by NGOs, the opposition and its media appendages as having died in Kadoma, was actually alive and appeared in court this week in Kadoma.

The Herald understands that Zimunda is the one named “EZ” (Number 9) on the list of victims supplied by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

Zimunda’s story, claiming she was shot in the head and buried on January 20, went viral.

Some individuals went to the extent of publishing an EcoCash number with a view to raising funds to assist the family left behind by the “journalist”.

Donations, according to a tweet posted by Zimbabwe Leadership Magazine, were to supposed to be sent via EcoCash number 0782 467 663.

The phone number used was registered under the name of Maxwell Musanga.

However, investigations by The Herald revealed that Zimunda was not on the ZMC register of journalists.

ZMC chief executive Dr Tafataona Mahoso said: “We have checked with our register and the name Elizabeth Zimunda does not exist. We do not have a journalist by that name.”

The Herald is aware of investigations by journalist bodies in the country that have since drawn blanks.

And investigations pointed to a possible fraud under the pretext of fundraising to assist a five-year-old child purported to have been left behind by the woman.

When The Herald tried the EcoCash number, the person who answered the phone refused to comment on the issue before hanging up.

The number then went unanswered after further attempts.

Police chief spokesperson Commissioner Charity Charamba warned the public against being conned by EcoCash fraudsters.

She urged the people to first verify the genuineness of the EcoCash numbers and the purpose for the funds before making payment.

“We urge people to make the necessary verifications before making payments through EcoCash because a number of people are losing money to fraudsters,” said Comm Charamba.

Meanwhile, five people who were part of violent demonstrators who torched Southlea Park Police Station in Harare, two police vehicles and the Skyline tollgate during the MDC-Alliance-instigated violence that rocked the country last month were each sentenced to an effective three years in jail after being found guilty of public violence, reports our correspondent Prosper Dembedza.

Tawanda Sibanda (22), Tafadzwa Murape (20), Lorencia Kachidza (47), Vincent Jonasi (26) and Ronald Garanánga (21) were initially jailed for five years by Mbare magistrate Mr Marwehwanazvo Gofa before he suspended two years from each sentence on condition of good behaviour.

Brighton Sabawo (22) was sentenced to perform 400 hours of community service at Southlea Park Primary School after the court ruled that he only bought looted goods.

In passing sentence, Mr Gofa said the five were facing a serious offence which resulted in large-scale destruction of property.

He said it was not wrong to demonstrate, but people should learn to do so in a peaceful manner.Herald