Zimbabwe journalist behind corruption exposé to be detained until August: court

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FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. COURTESY via Daily Nation

A court in Zimbabwe on Friday ordered that Hopewell Chin’ono, the journalist behind an exposé of an alleged $60 million dollar procurement scandal at the Ministry of Health, will be detained until August after ruling that he was a danger to the public.

According to Chin’ono’s lawyer, Doug Coltart, the court ruled so because “he has not yet completed his mission of inciting people to demonstrate on 31 July.”

Chin’ono was arrested on Monday in Harare alongside opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume, who had called for protests against widespread state corruption at the end of July. Chin’ono’s exposé, which implicated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family, resulted in the arrest and subsequent dismissal of Obadiah Moyo as Health minister.

The duo, charged with “incitement to participate in public violence”, face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty. They have denied the charges against them.

“Journalism has been criminalised. The struggle against corruption should continue. People should not stop, they should carry on with it,” Chin’ono told reporters as he was being led to the prison cells.

Coltart said he will appeal the ruling which will see Chin’ono detained until the hearing on August 7.

On Thursday, Ngarivhume was also denied bail with the magistrate saying that the protests would expose Zimbabweans to the coronavirus and instigate violence.

Various rights groups have criticised the Zimbabwean government following the arrest and detention of the two and called for their unconditional release. They also maintained that calling for peaceful protests or reporting on allegations of corruption were not criminal offences.

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