By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Information Ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana has told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that he is not aware of the charges leveled against incarcerated investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and had not taken a “keen interest” in knowing them.
Chin’ono was arrested last month and charged for allegedly inciting public violence in connection with the 31st July protests against corruption by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.
Asked on SABC News to explain charges leveled against Chin’ono, Mangwana claimed he did not know.
“I haven’t been taking a keen interest in the charge sheet itself. I didn’t know we were going to speak about Mr Chin’ono and I don’t have to cram his charge sheet,” Mangwana said.
Mangwana was also asked to explain the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. He said there was no human rights crisis, regardless of massive allegations of their abuses by Mnangagwa’s regime.
“What is happening in Zimbabwe is that normalcy is carrying on. People are going on about their businesses and those people alleged to have committed crimes are being arraigned before the courts. What we had in July was a build up to the overthrow of the government.
“Statements were made to that effect that they needed to overthrow the government or remove the constitutional order by any means necessary. Because of such plans certain people were arrested for planning and plotting such subversive acts.
“I’m not preview to what was found when certain search warrants executed in the premises of these people or certain communication devices were in house proved true,” Mangwana added.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing massive human rights violations perpetrated by Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration which is battling an economic crisis partly blamed on corruption and mismanagement.
Over 60 people have been arrested and some of them brutalized by suspected state security agents following the 31st July anti-corruption protests.
Chin’ono who played a key role in exposing Mnangagwa, his son Collins and his wife Auxilia in allegations of corruption was arrested on spurious charges of inciting violence.
The fallout saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. But Chin’ono was also arrested together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume.
MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala was also arrested last week Friday.
They were charged for inciting violence, in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
They are being detained at the country’s largest and notorious jail, the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
MDC Alliance national youth organiser, Godfrey Kurauone was recently arrested and charged with undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s authority.
All of them including Sikhala have been denied bail.