The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) demands the urgent and unconditional release of veteran investigative journalist Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono who was arrested by law enforcement agents for what is publicly perceived as the role he played in exposing grand acts of corruption by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) in Zimbabwe. Among the sterling roles played by Mr. Chin’ono exposed the Zimbabwean Covidgate scandal which resulted in the arrest and dismissal of the Minister of Health and Child Welfare. The arrest amounts to reprisals or punishment for exposing grand acts of corruption responsible for the misery bedeviling the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe”s commitment to anti-corruption is thus put or cast in doubt. Mr. David Jamali the Chairperson of ACT-SA urged the government of Zimbabwe to protect whistleblowers and desist from persecuting them.
“We would have expected the government and all law enforcement agents to support, work closely and benefit from journalists such as Mr. Chin’ono who are exposing corruption but instead they are viewed as enemies of the state. This is not good for the country. My organization is disturbed that the same government signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) which calls upon it to protect whistleblowers yet are pulling upstream against it. ZACC as the main anti-corruption authority must take action to ensure the protection of whistleblowers” he says.
When Mr. Chin’ono was arrested security agents broke the door to his house which shows that they were violent. These developments show that the security of whistleblowers in Zimbabwe is in jeopardy.
Mr. Jamali urged the government to immediately release Mr. Chin’ono and other individuals arrested for exposing corruption and/or showing willingness to participate in the planned 31 July 2020 protests against corruption.
“We all know how corruption has ruined the Zimbabwean economy. The people of Zimbabwe are justified to loudly speak against corruption in the country. Our message to President Mnangagwa is that he should ensure that Mr. Chin’ono is unconditionally released from detention without any further delays” he says
On the 31st of July 2020, Zimbabweans planned peaceful demonstrations against corruption. However, it appears that the government has already launched an onslaught against the organizers, including whistleblowers against corruption. Furthermore, the government is also accused of using the cover of COVID-19 restrictions to make it difficult for Zimbabweans to protest as planned on 31 July 2020.
Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)