Hopewell Chin’ono was arrested on Monday night. Sadly, a respected journalist calling attention to corruption in Zimbabwe puts his life in danger. ZANU PF, the ruling party for almost 40 years does not take criticism well. Itai Dzamara, a critic of the former President Mugabe, disappeared after an arrest over five years ago.
Brave journalist Hopewell Chin’ono arrested
Brave journalist Hopewell Chin’ono had eight security personnel break into his home and drag him out. According to The Guardian, no warrant was issued or shown. Importantly, Chin’ono has upset powerful people through reporting COVID-19 profiteering by ZANU PF officials and their families.
Only the bravest Zimbabwean’s tell the truth about members of the ZANU PF upper echelons. Itai Dzamara’s family never found him. Amnesty International printed a reminder of his bravery in March 2020 when they published a letter from Itai’s wife, Sheffra. In it, she begged President Mnangagwa to please let her know what happened to her husband. “Imagine”, she says, “not being able to tell your children if their father is alive or dead.” She goes on to say that someone must know the truth. Her pleas remain ignored.
“Imagine not being able to tell your children if their father is alive or dead.[Undoubtedly], someone knows where Itai is.” Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa says it is cruel to keep a family in suspense for over 5 years.
ZANU PF does not take criticism lightly
Things don’t look good for Chin’ono. Subsequent to his arrest, his Facebook profile has been taken down. Importantly, the few items that remain are about his arrest. Also, his Twitter handle has been removed. According to his lawyer, he and an opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, are facing charges. Importantly, the charges are vague, citing them both for “incitement to participate in public violence”. Why? The two of them are trying to organise a protest against corruption. The protest has not taken place as yet. The well-known activist, Evan Mawarire has called for Hopewell’s release.
Amnesty International appeal for immediate release.
Amnesty Internation, The British Ambassador to Harare and other leaders are appealing for an urgent release. Importantly, the video showing Chin’ono’s arrest is no longer on Facebook. Ironically, Zimbabwe’s secretary for information, Nick Mangwana tweeted on Monday:
“Journalists are not above the law. Lawyers are not above the law. Doctors and nurses are not above the law. Politicians and bankers are not above the law. Anyone suspected to have committed a crime should be subjected to due process.”
A few brave souls responded, commenting, “only ZANU PF is above the law”.
David Coltart, himself subjected to interrogation and arrest in the past, visited the two detainees to hand over some PPE for them.
Mai Mtetwa and I finally leaving Harare Central after the police eventually relented and allowed Hopewell and Jacob to wear PPE in the cells. We prayed together before we left. They are both in good spirits. They have the peace of a clear conscience. #FreeHopewell #FreeJacob pic.twitter.com/1mPXTurGzz
— Doug Coltart ✊🏽🇿🇼 (@DougColtart) July 20, 2020
Soldier on brave Zimbabwean souls. It looks hopeless, but one thing about Zimbabweans, they show remarkable resilience.