I’m Not Worried About Jail – Chin’ono

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By Mary Taruvinga

INCARCERATED journalist Hopewell Chin’ono says he is not worried about being sent back to prison but is determined to continue investigating and exposing corruption and other vices as a scribe.

The journalist, who has been arrested and remanded in custody, opened up during a court break last Friday at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

His latest charge is that of defeating the course of justice.

The state accuses him of breaking his bail conditions by creating contacts with prosecutors from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who allegedly then informed him that Henrietta Rushwaya was going to be granted bail. Chin’ono went on to tweet about this leading to his arrest last week.

Rushwaya was arrested some two weeks ago at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport while attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai.

The state initially consented to Rushwaya’s bail before making a U-turn.

The state said Chin’ono’s tweets had the potential to jeopardise his earlier case also before the same courts and that of Rushwaya.

Chin’ono was first arrested in July for inciting public violence ahead of the #31July anti-corruption protests.

He went on to spend nearly two months in remand prison at the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security prison where he is currently languishing.

However, Chin’ono said time in jail will not deter him.

“The application we made today (Friday) is open and shut, but I’m not worried about jail. After this we are going to make another application which has nothing to do with applying for bail.

“Don’t worry about me. Bail is not a matter of concern now,” said Chin’ono before the MDC Alliance vice-chairperson, Job Sikhala, also part of the accused’s legal team interjected with the statement, “When they arrest us, we will be prepared already to stay in prison.”

Sikhala and Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume are also facing similar charges of inciting public violence and are awaiting trial. The two politicians also spent some time with Chin’ono in prison when the trio was arrested mid this year.

According to Chin’ono what is key is to make sure all his court proceedings are put on record.

Earlier on Friday, through his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Chin’ono had challenged his court appearance arguing he was over detained by the police at the Harare Central Police Station.

On his first court appearance last week, a defiant Chin’ono brought business to a standstill at Harare Magistrates’ Courts when he protested why he was being brought before an Anti-Corruption Court magistrate when he was facing criminal charges.

He also protested when the police attempted to throw journalists out of the court building.

“This is a public court and anyone is allowed to be part of the proceedings. These are my colleagues. They are journalists and you have no right whatsoever to chase them out of this court. They are here to do their job,” he said in a scuffle which took a couple of minutes.

The police later backed off after Chin’ono’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa also informed them the Judiciary Services Commission (JSC) owned the building and not the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

Chin’ono will be back at the same courts Monday afternoon.