Lawyers representing Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, whose Boer goats may be seized by a man linked to the ruling party and his colleagues on Sunday, are seeking police intervention amid concerns of violence at his rural home as some citizens are planning to defend him.
In a tweet, Chin’ono, who is currently in South Africa, said, “My lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has served this letter to @PoliceZimbabwe’s Law and Order section, the Police Commissioner General at Police General Headquarters and Highlands police officer in charge. As a law abiding citizen, I have had to report the threats as required by the law.”
In a letter written to the officer in charge of Highlands, Harare, his attorney Beatrice Mtetwa, said, “Our client has been the victim of threats by one Taurai Kandishaya. The threats have been through Kandishaya’s twitter handle and the tweets complained of are as follows: “This project was meant to be pass on (sic). Government distributed goats to farmers so they breed and pass to others. Hopewell Chin’ono personalized the project. Now is time for the youth of Zimbabwe to demand their share. Here are your goats, just go and collect your share. Down with the goat looter.
“Apart from the fact that the allegations in the tweet by Kandishaya are demonstrably false, there can be no question that Mr. Kandishaya is inciting the youth of Zimbabwe to go and collect Mr. Chin’ono’s private property, which constitutes incitement to steal the goats, an offence in terms of the law.
According to Mtetwa, despite Chin’ono’s denial that he never received any goats from the government, Kandishaya is promising fireworks. In another tweet, he said, “We (are) coming for the goats and we are unstoppable.”
Chin’ono has provided documentary evidence that he bought the Boer goats from South Africa.
Mtetwa said, “We therefore request that you (police) immediately investigate this matter with a view to preventing the illegal actions advocated by Kandishaya and prosecuting him for his criminal actions. In particular, we request that you liaise with your colleagues at Murehwa Police Station to secure out client’s rural home in order to protect members of his family, employees and all his property.
“As there is the possibility that there those who may disagree with Mr. Kandishaya’s incitement, and may therefore wish to repel his intended invasion, it is our view that the police are obliged to take all steps necessary to avoid possible breaches of the peace which may lead to the loss of life and property.”
Kandishaya was not available for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.
Some citizens are mobilizing others to go and camp at Chin’ono’s property in Murehwa in order to stop Kandishaya from seizing his goats.
Children of Zimbabwe War Veterans Association said in a tweet, “We are organising a tour specifically to learn & see this very good goat project. In that regards the directions are:- From Murewa turn off u turn right. Macheke road, drive for 5km then turn left into Mukarakate road. Drive for 3 kms then you have arrived at Chin’ono village.”
Job Sikhala, member of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change led by Nelson Chamisa, will also be joining other people who will be driving to Chin’ono’s village.
In a tweet, Sikhala said, “I have decided to join other citizens who have volunteered to be at Chin'ono village near Mukarakate in Murehwa tomorrow to defend one of our citizens under attack from the regime. I have mobilised more volunteers. Tonorarika ko. This nonsense has to be stopped once and for all … The overwhelming inquiries by volunteers to @daddyhope homestead in Murewa!!!”
Reverend Kenneth Mtata of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches is urging the police to stop Kandishaya from seizing Chin’ono’s goats.
In a tweet, Mtata said, “We should never create the perception that individual property rights are not respected and the country is lawless. Our ZRP @PoliceZimbabwe should make sure noone follows through these threats on Hopewell @daddyhope. It's not in the national interest. @zcczim.”
Chin’ono said he was on Saturday invited by the South African Broadcasting Corporation to talk about his harassment by the ruling party and “its thugs and its thugs and the attempt to LOOT my goats and destroy the 6 year-old project. I will talk about how the @GenevaSummit speech triggered all this”.
He claimed that the government is unhappy about his speech at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy early last month where he indicated that the ruling party is to blame for the country’s social, economic and political crisis.
Soon after he delivered his speech at the Geneva Summit on April 6, Chin’ono said in a tweet, “Today I addressed the @GenevaSummit for Human Rights and Democracy in Switzerland. I chose as I always to stick to facts and figures regarding the Zimbabwean economic crisis. I explained that it was a product of grand corruption, LOOTING and PLUNDER by ZANUPF elites!”
Chin’ono is an investigative journalist who has won several international awards for uncovering shady deals linked to the ruling elite.