The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa has said Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume were not arrested for exposing corruption but for using their social media accounts to incite Zimbabweans to violently overthrow the Government.
“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. This is because the Government and the President of Zimbabwe acknowledge and appreciate the role the media plays in the investigation and exposition of corruption.
“The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent newspapers together with the State media reported on the NSSA scandal that resulted in the arrest of Minister Prisca Mupfumira. None of the journalists from these newspapers were arrested or censured for reporting in this case. In addition, the President appointed Trevor Ncube the proprietor of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) which is the biggest independent newspaper stable in Zimbabwe, to his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC),” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
Mutsvangwa said such claims are deliberately calculated to mislead and manufacture a false narrative which brings into question His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s sincerity in fighting corruption both in Government and private sector. She said since coming into office as leader of the New Dispensation, President Mnangagwa has provided a favourable working environment for media practitioners to conduct their business unfettered.
The Zimbabwe Independent from AMH publishes articles accusing Government Officials of corruption on a weekly basis without fail but this has not attracted any arrest of the journalists concerned.
Mutsvangwa said the Second Republic through Parliament has repealed AIPPA which in the past was used against journalists and replaced it with a raft of legislation aimed at protecting the rights of journalist to practice their profession freely and the rights of citizens to information concerning the areas of interests and concern.
The Minister said 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. Obadiah Moyo who was charged and relieved of his duties as Minister of Health and Child Care.
“It is therefore false to state that no action has been taken against the corrupt individuals fingered by Hopewell’s expose. The President has consistently shown his unflinching commitment to fighting corruption by setting up a robust legal infrastructure to fight this economic scourge. He has also spearheaded the funding of the Zimbabwe Anticorruption Commission (ZACC) as a way of capacitating it to deliver on its constitutional mandate.
“This has seen an unprecedented arresting and summary dismissal of two serving Cabinet Ministers in a short space of time. The conviction and jailing of high profile individuals such as former Minister Samuel Undege, Mr. Douglas Tapfumaneyi, and Simon Taranhike and many more are also indicative of this Zero Tolerance to Corruption Policy.”
In that regard, Mutsvangwa said, the arrest of these two individuals clearly, has nothing to do with their anti-corruption stance which finds convergence with President Mnangagwa’s own position but their ploy to violently destabilize the country and unconstitutionally seize power (by any means necessary) putting Zimbabwean lives and property at risk.
Mutsvangwa added that the role of foreign powers in this plot to instigate an illegal regime change in Zimbabwe is made apparent by a set of events and statements that followed the police operation.
- Within minutes of the arrival of the police at Mr. Chin’ono’s home, the US embassy was already all over this issue which is between a sovereign country and its citizen, by tweeting and trying to bring pressure to bear on the Zimbabwean Government, so it would not enforce the law of the land. Its particular interest in this one person is curious in the least.
- Other Western Embassies who usually take the USA’s lead joined in this irregular interference by tweeting and releasing statements which were calculated to obstruct the course of justice in a hosting country.
- Even after Zimbabwe’s Independent Judiciary had issued its verdict on the duo’s bail application, a senior member of the US Administration issued a very derogatory and undiplomatic statement against the Government of Zimbabwe, showing condescending disrespect to a sovereign country.
She added that Zimbabwe is keen to engage with all members of the community of nations but will not surrender its sovereignty as a trade-off for this. All that Zimbabwe seeks is mutual respect and non-interference in its internal affairs.
Going forward, she said the Government will not compromise on Zimbabwe’s national security and expects all foreign embassies hosted here to behave with propriety as set out in the Vienna Convention.
Mutsvangwa claimed Hopewell and Ngarivhume belong to the camp of evil wishers.
“The begging question is why call for a violent uprising in the midst of a raging and ravaging COVID-19? 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? This is the season of Black Lives Matter after the choking to death of George Floyd by a cruel white police officer in Minneapolis.”