Chin’ono,Ngarivhume not being persecuted-Minister

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Harare(New Ziana)-Opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader,Jacob Ngarivhume and journalist-cum political activist, Hopewell Chin’ono were not arrested for speaking out against corruption, but for trying to incite the nation into toppling a constitutionally elected government, a Cabinet Minister said on Saturday.

The duo was arrested on Tuesday, and appeared in court mid-week, charged for allegedly inciting the public to engage in violence.

They were both denied bail by the Harare magistrates court, and remanded in court to next month for trial.

Addressing the media, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said government had noted with dismay a misinformation campaign where the duo are said to have been arrested for exposing alleged corruption in government.

She said on the contrary, government welcomed media exposure of corruption in any place as this was in tandem with President Mnangagwa’s stance on the vice.

The government has repeatedly spoken out against corruption, and has taken action against those involved, including two cabinet ministers who have been arrested and lost their jobs.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Hopewell Chin’ono was not abducted. He was lawfully arrested by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. And he was not arrested for exposing corruption.

“He was arrested for using his social media accounts to incite Zimbabweans to violently overthrow the Government,” said Mutsvangwa.

She said all media houses in Zimbabwe openly report on corruption both in the public and private sector, but their journalists have never been persecuted.

Said Mutsvangwa; “Even though Hopewell Chin’ono writes about corruption he is not unique in this regard. All the Newspapers in Zimbabwe, including independent publications have written extensively about corruption in Government and private sector. None of the Journalists who have written about the subject of corruption have been arrested for publishing the same”.

She said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is not blind to corruption if recent big name arrests are anything to go by.

Among these is former Tourism and Hospitality Minister Prisca Mupfumira who was arrested early this year on suspicion of corruption involving US$90 million at the National Social Security Authority.

Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo was also arrested this month for alleged involvement in a drugs procurement scandal involving an international supplier, Drax International.

“President Mnangagwa ordered an investigation into the Drax Affair before Hopewell Chin’ono started tweeting about it. As a result of those investigations several arrests were made. The most prominent of those arrested was the former Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Moyo who was charged and relieved of his duties as Minister of Health and Child Care,” Mutsvangwa said.

Ngarivhume and Chinono are suspected of playing key roles in mobilising support for banned opposition protests planned for next week, ostensibly to press the government to tackle prevailing economic hardships.

The government has said while it recognised the rights of citizens to protest, it cannot sanction the planned marches, in part because of the dangers these posed in spreading Covid-19.

The country, like all others around the world, is in Covid-19 lockdown.
Mutsvangwa said local and international opponents of the government were disappointed the pandemic had not affected Zimbabwe as terribly as wished for, to provide them ammunition to attack it.

“Hopewell and Ngarivhume belong to that camp of evil wishers. The begging question is why call for a violent uprising in the midst of a raging and ravaging Covid 19? She asked.

“The ongoing USA elections are a big exercise in democratic expression. Even President Trump has had to cancel the Convention of the Republican Party in Jacksonville for fear of Covid 19. Why can’t the detractors and doom mongers equally copy this act of noble political restraint?

“And why can’t the American and Western embassies provide counsel to their regime change charges that this is not the hour to play dice with the lives of Zimbabweans?”

The government also suspects the opposition protests, which have strong western embassy support, were renewed disguised attempts to subvert it.

For two decades now, the West – in particular Britain and the United States – have led a campaign to dislodge Zimbabwe’s ruling party from power after it seized excess farmland from white farmers to resettle landless peasants.

Mutsvangwa said the land reforms laid the foundation for Africa’s eventual economic freedom from the West, hence its hostility towards Zimbabwe.

“The mortal fear of Africa by the West is the economic success of a self sustainable African Nation. Zimbabwe now offers that prospect after braving through devastating sanctions by the West for two decades.
“No wonder the pandemonium being engendered by the fear of a good example.

“President Mnangagwa and his government are fully appraised on this evil agenda and devilish machinations.

“We will keep the course of re- engagement while safeguarding the nation from a slide to chaos,” she said.

New Ziana

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