Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Hopewell Chin’ono acquitted as judge exposes state ‘fishing expedition’

High Court judge Justice Siyabona Musithu has dismissed incitement charges against prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and accused the state of showing ‘contradictions’ during court proceedings.

Chin’ono was arrested last year and charged with inciting public violence in connection with the 31st July anti-government protests. He was arrested together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and MDC Alliance vice chairman Job Sikhala.

Hopewell Chin'ono seen here with lawyer Job Sikhala arrives at the Harare Magistrates' Court  in November 2020
Hopewell Chin’ono seen here with lawyer Job Sikhala arrives at the Harare Magistrates’ Court in November 2020

They spent more than 45 days in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison before being released on bail by the High.

On Monday, more than a year later, Justice Musithu acquitted Chin’ono.

Justice Musithu said: “The first respondent’s ruling dismissing the applicant’s exception to the charges is hereby set aside.

“The failure to allege or specify the exact words in annexure ‘A’ to the charge sheet, which allegedly constituted an offence, as well as the evident contradiction between the charge sheet and the state outline vitiates the charge sheet and renders it nullity,” he said.

Commenting on the latest development, Chin’ono said the judgement in the case was trumped up.

“The High Court of Zimbabwean has dismissed the charges against me for Incitement to Public Violence.

“It means my arrest was and my case were trumped up as I have always argued!

“I spent the past 15 months in jails and courts for something that I didn’t do! It was cruel and tragic!” Chin’ono said.

The arrest of Chin’ono came some weeks after he had exposed alleged corruption involving President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and son Collins, in the Covidgate scandal which has since been controversially dismissed by the courts. Nehanda Radio