By Kumbirai Mafunda
Zimbabwean police on Monday 20 July 2020 arrested journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition Transform Zimbabwe party leader Jacob Ngarivhume for allegedly inciting people to revolt against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration during some planned anti-government protests called for at the end of the month.
Chin’ono was arrested by some armed Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members at his residence in Chisipite suburb in Harare, who raided and forcibly gained entry into his home.
ZRP members charged Chin’ono with incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry as defined in section 187(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with section 37(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
ZRP members also pressed alternative charges of incitement to commit public violence as defined in section 187(1)(a) as read with section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The law enforcement agents alleged that Chin’ono, who is represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, Gift Mtisi and Douglas Coltart of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), allegedly posted various messages on his Twitter account using the handle @daddyhope between May 2020 and July 2020 calling upon Zimbabweans across the country to engage in acts of
public violence against the government on 31 July 2020.
The journalist allegedly posted several messages on Twitter which read; “@Ngarivhume and many others have come to put their hands up and said they will lead an anti-looting demo on 31 July”, “Zimbabwe will never be free from looters through elections it is just a waste of time” and “If you feel like shouting#zanuPFMustGo and Mnangagwa and his regime has failed, how they will go will be determined by history and yet Mnangagwa refuses. The change will come by any means.”
ZRP members alleged that by posting such messages Chin’ono intended to disturb the peace, security or order of the public.
The law enforcement agents also raided Chin’ono’s residence late on Monday evening, where at the time of publishing this alert they were searching his office for some gadgets including laptops and mobile phone handsets.
ZRP members also arrested Ngarivhume, who is represented by Moses Nkomo of ZLHR, on charges of inciting Zimbabweans to revolt against President Mnangagwa.
Ngarivhume and Chin’ono are expected to appear in court.