Zimbabwe’s Outlaw Regime
By arresting a prominent corruption-busting reporter, the Zimbabwean government has once again demonstrated its intention to use the law as a political weapon to criminalize journalism. Finally, the international community is seeing behind President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s lofty rhetoric and recognizing the true nature of his regime.
PARIS – On July 20, the Zimbabwean authorities arrested the internationally renowned investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and charged him with “incitement to participate in public violence.” But Chin’ono’s real crime was to expose – in collaboration with Mduduzi Mathuthu, another journalist now facing arrest – alleged procurement fraud at the health ministry involving COVID-19 medical supplies.
Chin’ono’s revelations led a reluctant Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country’s president, to eventually fire health minister Obadiah Moyo. But whereas Moyo was granted bail following his arrest, Chin’ono remains in detention awaiting trial.
After Chin’ono was arrested, Magistrate Judith Taruvinga signed an overly broad warrant allowing the authorities to search his home for “illegal documents and other articles kept at the house.” About 30 armed police, brandishing an additional warrant, later raided Chin’ono’s home and seized his camera. By contrast, Moyo was subject to no such raids or searches.