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Zimbabwe police arrest opposition member and journalist

Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembwa demonstrates outside Hopwell Chin'ono's house in Harare, Monday, 20 July, 2020.
Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembwa demonstrates outside Hopwell Chin'ono's house in Harare, Monday, 20 July, 2020. AP - Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi
3 min

Zimbabwe police arrested opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume and freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on Monday, saying they were inciting violence ahead of street demonstrations slated for next week against government corruption.

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In a tweet seen by RFI, Chin’ono tweeted that the police were abducting him after they broke a glass door in his house. His account has now been deleted.

In an unverified tweet, another Zimbabwean posted a video purportedly taken by Chin’ono (he is seen at the beginning of the short video) as people come into a room.

Police said that Ngatihume, from the small opposition party Transform Zimbabwe, was the one who called for the protests, which are backed by the largest opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Both are in police custody and faced charges of "incitement to participate in public violence," said police spokesman Andrew Phiri in a statement.

Zimbabweans sick of corruption

Zimbabweans are very unhappy with the way President Emmerson Mnangagwa is leading the country into ruin, especially as inflation in the southern African country is at nearly 800 percent.

Mnangagwa took power in a coup from president Robert Mugabe in 2017.

Although Mnangagwa has repeated that Zimbabwe is “open for business”, the alleged corruption rife throughout the government has kept possible international investors from coming.

The latest issue – amidst the Covid-19 pandemic – was the firing of health minister Obadiah Moyo earlier this month after he was arrested in June for giving out contracts to government-connected cronies for health supplies, to the tune of 52 million euros.

Chin’ono was one of the journalists who helped to expose this corruption.

According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, they had tried to get access to their client, Chin’ono, but said on social media that he was being ‘profiled’ by police.

MDC says that it fears that this is the beginning of a government crackdown to prevent the 31 July protests. In January 2019, protests against the loss of fuel subsidies turned violent and a number of people were killed after a security forces crackdown.

Harare says that protests cannot be carried out due to Covid-19, and have vowed to continue to impose lockdowns in Bulawayo and Harare.

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