Hopewell Chin’ono was among investigative journalists who first exposed the scandal and linked one of the President’s sons to the controversial company.
Zimbabwean police on Monday, July, 20, 2020 arrested an investigative journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono who exposed alleged corruption in the procurement of Covid-19 medical supplies, a matter that involves the first family.
Mr Chin’ono was among investigative journalists who first exposed the scandal and linked one of the President’s sons to the controversial company.
Hopewell Chin’ono’s lawyers said he was “abducted” by eight state security agents who did not produce a search warrant.
One of the lawyers, Beatrice Mtetwa, said she went to Mr Chin’ono’s residence after getting an “SOS that his home was surrounded by state security agents”.
Via Twitter, the Committee to Protect Journalists called Mr Chin’ono’s immediate release, saying he was “abducted from his home by police”.
It added, “Authorities must stop harassing Hopewell Chin’ono and focus on the real criminals.
A fortnight ago, Mr Mnangagwa fired Health minister Obadiah Moyo after he was arrested for his role in the procurement scandal, where the government paid $60 million to a company that allegedly inflated prices.
Last week the ruling Zanu PF threatened unspecified action against the journalist after singling him out as one of the people allegedly tarnishing the image of the President.
The United States embassy in Harare said it was “deeply concerned for his welfare” following the arrest.
“President Mnangagwa noted the important role investigative journalists like Hopewell Chin’ono play in shedding light on corruption,” the embassy tweeted. “Political intimidation of the press has no place in democracies.”
A growing discontent over the government’s handling of corruption cases involving the president’s inner circle is brewing as the his critics, believes he is increasingly becoming autocratic as pressure mounts on him over his failure to turn around the economy and handling of corruption cases.