By Lloyd Takawira
Government has been blasted by the international community following its brutal crackdown on journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono and #31July protests organiser, Jacob Ngarivhume.
Police yesterday arrested the two government critic.
Chin’ono and Transform Zimbabwe leader, Ngarivhume are being charged with inciting public violence.
United States embassy in Harare in a statement said it was appalled by the conduct of President Mnangagwa’s administration.
“President @edmnangagwa noted the important role investigative journalists, like @daddyhope, play in shedding light on corruption. Political intimidation of the press has no place in democracies.”
United States Senator and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, San Jim Risch said, “… the arrest of journalists like Hopewell Chin’ono who investigate & expose it undermines anti-corruption efforts and further erodes democratic progress”.
The EU in Zimbabwe also wrote:
“We are concerned by the arrest of @daddyhope this morning and call for his immediate release. Journalism is not a crime, but a crucial pillar of any democratic society & of the fight against corruption. Journalists and freedom of expression deserve protection.”
Uinited Kingdom embassy in Harare posted, “Following closely reports of the arrests of Hopewell Chin’ono & Jacob Ngarivhume today. Urge the authorities to follow the rule of law and uphold media freedoms and freedom of speech #ActiononReform
Meanwhile the ruling party, ZANU PF has accused the European Union (EU) as well as the US of meddling in the Southern African country’s domestic affairs.
The party was responding to a social media post by the EU in Zimbabwe which criticised the arrest of a prominent journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono over “incitement to participate in public violence.”
In response, the ruling party recalled the words of the late former president Robert Mugabe saying that Zimbabwe was a sovereign state. ZANU PF tweeted:
“Seeing this @euinzim tweet one would be anxious on whether Zimbabwe is an Independent Republic or a district under @euinzim. Honestly, how does the EU assume role of the Jury to demand the release of a person arrested lawfully? Zim is a Sovereign State & laws of Zim apply here!
The duo’s arrest has been widely interpreted as persecution for their anti-corruption crusade.