By Robert Tapfumaneyi
OUTSPOKEN journalist and government critic, Hopewell Chin’ono Thursday said he was now living in fear for his life after a furious Zanu PF spokesperson singled him out for continuously spotlighting on alleged high level corruption taking place in top government offices.
The country’s stinking corruption running into billions of US dollars has been blamed for running the country’s already fragile economy to the ground.
Zanu PF’s acting spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa Thursday warned Chin’ono, other media practitioners, and the public against attacking the First Family.
“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 (Collins),” Chinamasa said at a press conference at the Zanu PF headquarters.
“We are aware that these baseless attacks did not start today but need to stop forthwith. From that there are false allegations that the First Lady’s convoy hit a child in Kwekwe to that one of his sons has interests in Drax International all of which have not been backed by evidence except the publication of pictures involving Delish Nguwaya. We warn the public and those writing these lies to stop.
“The President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has posed for photos with various business players, both local and international, particularly those donating for Covid-19 as a gesture of appreciation.
“This cannot, therefore, translate to owning, knowing nor working with those businesses either personally or otherwise. We, therefore, wish to advise false news peddlers and our detractors to desist forthwith from perpetrating desperate character assassinations and shenanigans,” he said.
Chinamasa went on to defend controversial Covid-19 government tender supplies claiming the prices could be affected by inflation although most of the goods are quoted in foreign currency.
“You know it’s not permissible to do un-business like prices. They should be exposed when they appear. I don’t know the actual circumstances but what I know currently is there is a problem because of the inflation.
“There is a problem with pricing and tendering. I will not be specific for now until I get full details,” said Chinamasa.
Following Chinamasa’s threats, Chin’ono said he now feared for his life.
“My life is now in danger after Zanu PF attacked me personally through their spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa. I am only a detractor of corruption…I am a trained journalist, if I have said something that is not true, legal remedies are there. I will not be cowed by fear.”
Chin’ono’s concerns were also echoed by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
“Zimbabwe’s record against perceived critics, including journalists exposing graft is well documented. This is dangerous talk. The potential consequences cannot be ignored,” CPJ said.