By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Award-winning Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has expressed concerns for his life after the ruling Zanu PF party convened a press conference where they made veiled threats at him for exposing alleged corruption by the First Family.
In a statement read by ZANU PF Acting Spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa, the ruling party warned the prominent journalist from reporting on corruption by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his family adding that the allegations were sponsored and “baseless”.
“ZANU PF has noted with concern, the systematic well choreographed and sponsored attacks on the integrity of the first family by unscrupulous characters such as Hopewell Chin’ono. This time targeting the President’s son.
“We are aware that these baseless attacks did not start today but need to stop forthwith,” Chinamasa said.
ZANU PF has tried to cleanse Mnangagwa, arguing the allegations were false including claims that the First Lady (Auxillia Mnangagwa)’s convoy hit a child in Kwekwe and that one of his sons (Collins) has interests in Drax International, a company embroiled in a Covid-19 tender storm.
“We warn the public and those writing these lies to stop. The President has posed for photos with various business players both local and international particularly those donating in COVID-19.
“As a gesture of appreciation, this can not therefore translate to owning, knowing or working with those businesses either personally or otherwise.
“We therefore wish to advice false news peddlers and our detractors to desist forthwith from perpetrating desperate character assassinations,” the former Finance minister added.
Chin’ono responded with a statement on his Facebook and Twitter account saying;
“My life is now in danger after ZANUPF attacked me personally through their spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa accusing me of targeting the Mnangagwa family! I am only a detractor of corruption and I have backed up everything that I said with evidence!
“I am a trained journalist, and if I have said something that is not true, Zimbabwe provides a court system that can be used to prove that! ZANU PF should not intimidate journalists using fear, I will not be cowed from saying the truth! If what I have said is not true, they should simply prove so!”
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said ZANU PF’s response to Chin’ono’s work and threats against him showed the tragic death in the organisation (Zanu PF) and civil society forces.
“This shows that what Chin’ono is doing is very effective. It’s simple; prove him wrong or go to courts than intimidation!” Ruhanya said. Nehanda Radio