By Thandiwe Garusa
VILLAGERS and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists descended on Murewa’s Mukarakate village at the weekend to defend journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono’s goat project.
This follows threats by Zanu PF youths, led by one Taurai Kandishaya, to invade Chin’ono’s rural home and seize goats which they claim he received from government.
In a video recording and numerous social media posts, the youths accuse Chin’ono of benefiting from government’s command agriculture.
The journalist has dismissed the allegations as a direct attack on him because of his criticism of the Zanu PF regime, even sharing receipts of the first 35 goats he bought and imported from South Africa.
The villagers and activists slept at Chin’ono’s rural home over the weekend to support him against the Zanu PF threat.
“As the government-in-waiting we are saying Hopewell’s property must be protected,” said CCC activitist only identified as Katsaria.
“If we fold our hands and do nothing this violence will continue in the 2023 elections. We will defend the people’s rights; Zanu PF youths should never be allowed to take people’s property.
“We are not going anywhere until we are sure his property is safe.”
Chin’ono’s goats were roaming freely within his compound throughout the day under close watch of both activists and villagers .
A member of his staff also raised concerns about his security saying he now fears for his life.
“I am now scared because so many strangers call me asking personal information about Mr Chin’ono. Some have been trying to bribe me with money and beer in exchange for information,” he said.
“I do not feel safe anymore; I now fear for my life and my family because I feel like I am being followed. I have changed sim cards, but the people still call me; I am just a worker who looks after livestock.”
One villager who refused to be named also said: “We have been losing our property to Zanu PF thugs since 2008; we are here to defend one of our own’s property.
“The police are not here yet they are supposed to protect Hopewell. The president (Mnangagwa) is always saying we are open for business, but we are shooting ourselves in the foot.
“Whoever is pushing this agenda is not patriotic. How can you attract investors, yet you steal from them?”