Zimbabwean journalist ‘fears for his life’ after being singled out by Zanu-PF

Zimbabwean investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said on Thursday that he fears for his life after being singled out for criticism by governing party spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa.

Chin’ono has recently published a series of Facebook posts that outline alleged connections between President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Collins Mnangagwa, and Drax International, a United Arab Emirates-based company that was awarded a $60-million tender to supply equipment to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Zanu-PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said that the party was unhappy with Chin’ono’s reporting.

“We have noted the systematic targeted attacks of the first family members … by unscrupulous characters like Hopewell Chin’ono targeting the president’s son. The false reports that [claim] the president’s son has interest in Drax International … have not been backed up by any evidence,” Chinamasa said.

He added: “We are warning the public and those writing these lies to stop … We wish to advise false reporters and our detractors to desist from perpetrating desperate character assassination.”

On Twitter, Chin’ono responded, saying: “My life is now in danger after Zanu-PF attacked me personally through their spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa. I am only a detractor of corruption … I am a trained journalist, if I have said something that is not true, legal remedies are there. I will not be cowed to fear.”

Chin’ono’s concerns were echoed by the Committee to Protect Journalists. “Zimbabwe’s record against perceived critics, including journalists exposing graft is well documented. This is dangerous talk. The potential consequences cannot be ignored,” the organisation’s Africa account said on Twitter.

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Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is a climate and environmental journalist at the Mail & Guardian’s environmental unit, covering socioeconomic issues and general news. Previously, he was a fellow at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism.

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