Aljazeera reports that prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has recently been arrested by authorities following his reporting on alleged corruption by the government during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This past Monday, Chin’ono was reportedly arrested by several “state security agents” with police saying the journalist would be charged with “incitement to participate in public violence”. The charge is thought to be linked with a protest against corruption which is set to take place on July 31st. Additionally, opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume is also being kept in police custody in connection with the upcoming protest.
More than two years after former President Robert Mugabe resigned following a 37 years-long rule, Zimbabwe continues to crackdown on dissenting political views. Under the leadership of current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, there has been a spate of abductions of government critics, activists and even artists speaking out against the regime. Anti-government protests planned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have often been banned and resulted in police brutality towards protesters.
According to The Guardian, Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Information, Nick Mangwana, recently posted on social media writing that “journalists are not above the law”. It is unclear if his tweet was connected to Chin’ono’s arrest.
There is no profession which is above the law.
-Journalists are not above the law.
-Lawyers are not above the law
— Nick Mangwana (@Nick Mangwana)1595236497.0
Those on the ground, including veteran author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga, are demanding the release of both Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume. Those on social media are rallying together under the banner #FreeHopewell. Human rights groups have also called on the release of the journalist and others similarly in police custody.
Just heard that journalist Hopewell Chin’ono @daddyhope has been abducted from his home. This barbaric and unaccept… https://t.co/RwCVHJHBtt
— #ThisFlag E Mawarire (@#ThisFlag E Mawarire)1595241850.0
Some men are so good at fighting off feminism but when it comes to real issues that affect our everyday life & need… https://t.co/J7yxwgsPdF
— Wellence Mujuru (@Wellence Mujuru)1595316575.0
Good morning to the HEROES OF OUR struggle! @daddyhope @Wamagaisa @jngarivhume @efie41209591 @DougColtart… https://t.co/AEQQGlnM4K
— LynneM 💕💝💎 (@LynneM 💕💝💎)1595309558.0
Political detainees Hopewell Chin’ono & Jacob Ngarivhume spent the night in custody. Thanks to lawyers Beatrice Mte… https://t.co/1slnuNxwUd
— Alex T Magaisa 🇿🇼 (@Alex T Magaisa 🇿🇼)1595314137.0
Lastly, @daddyhope is a @Harvard trained journalist, so I am hoping that the institution, my fellow alumni in the U… https://t.co/g9nsKE7eWz
— Farai Gundan (@Farai Gundan)1595281299.0