The Zimbabwe Republic Police(ZRP) Yesterday launched an operation to arrest government critics and activists, evident by the arrest of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and 31 July imminent protest convenor against state sponsored corruption, Jacob Ngarivhume.
Chin’ono is an award-winning investigative journalist and one of the topnotch journalist who has been using social media to expose massive corruption and mis-governance allegedly propagated by the current government lead by president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The arrest of Chin’no flooded all over social media platforms within few minutes, as it emerged that, police officers who came to arrest Chin’no did not have an arrest warrant and they had to forcefully enter his house by breaking the main entrance veranda screen.
According to a press statement released on 21 July by the ZRP, in connection to the arrest of Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe and Hopewell Chin’ono, the two are being charged for inciting citizens to partake in public violence and they are set to appear in court
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms that Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe and Hopewell Chin’ono have been arrested in connection with allegations of Contravening Section 187(1)(a) as read with section 37(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law [Codification and Reform] Act, Chapter 9:23, “incitement to participate in public violence,” said ZRP.
“The duo will appear in court soon and are currently in police custody, “added ZRP.
Ngarivhume was the first to be arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station.
Speaking at Chin’ono’s house, human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa noted the illegal entry of state security agents.
“We have just arrived at Hopewell’s house after receiving an SOS that his home has been surrounded by about eight security agents and they broke the glass at his door, gained entry and he has been abducted we are not sure where he has been taken because his workers say they did not produce a warrant when they came to his house.” said Mtetwa.
A number of prominent organizations and individuals expressed displeasure over the arrests, these include one of the 2018 presidential candidates, Noah Manyika, United States Embassy in Zimbabwe, student representative body ZINASU and former ZANU-PF Secretary for Commissariat Godfrey Tsenengamu.
“President Mnagagwa noted the important role investigative journalists, like Hopewell Chin’ono play in shedding light on corruption. Political intimidation of the press has no place in democracies,” said United States Embassy Harare.
“Arresting citizens calling for reforms is a clear message ZanuPF won’t reform. Arresting those denouncing corruption means it is not going to deal with corruption. There can be no clearer message that there will never be a level playing field under ZanuPF than that,” highlighted Manyika.
“Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume are being persecuted by a paranoid regime that would rather suppress than provide for its citizens.Mnangagwa is inciting a revolution and we are happy to comply! hashtag FreeNgarivhume. hashtag FreeHopewell,” said ZINASU on micro blogging site twitter.
“You can raid our homes, harass and brutalise our families, arrest us, torture us and imprison us but 31st July it’s game on. All we want is a prosperous and corrupt free Zimbabwe. We have a right to peaceful protests and petitioning,” said Tsenengamu
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance Vice National Chairman and human rights lawyer Job Sikhala is in hiding after claims by his wife last night she was being chased by three motor vehicles without number plates.
“My wife being chased by three motor vehicles without number plates on her way from the church. They wanted to block her and she suddenly turn into tiny corridor which they didn’t expect. They went on a chase allover Zengeza.” said the outspoken Lawyer.
Commenting on Hopewell Chingono’ capture the Permanent secretary for Information and Publicity Nick Mangwana said, “There is no profession which is above the law. 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.”
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent