Zimbabweans on Sunday teamed up and went to journalist Hopewell Chin’ono’s homestead in Murewa to block a Zanu PF activist who was threatening to seize his Boer goats, claiming that they were part of a state-sponsored project.
Chin’ono told VOA Zimbabwe Service that Taurai Kandishaya failed to achieve his mission as villagers, civic society leaders, opposition Citizens Coalition for Change activists and others formed a human shield at his homestead.
He said, “So, today came and I’m told that a lot of people around the villages have gone to my homestead to defend my goats and my property from the illegal action that has been threatened to be carried out.”
Chin’ono said Kandishaya made false claims about the goat project following his address at the World Summit on Human Rights in Geneva where he told the gathering that Zimbabwe’s problems are caused by rampant corruption.
“The whole of last week I was getting threats from Zanu PF executive member of the Youth League Taurai Kandishaya saying that they were going to expropriate my goats and they were lying that I received the goats from the government. They were saying that it was part of the government project which I had personalized. I produced my receipts on social media showing that the goats had been imported from South Africa from a town called Nigel in South Africa. I produced the import licenses and everything but he continued threatening me that he was going to my village and that they were going to take the goats.
“What triggered them to do this was the speech that I made in Geneva in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago where I correctly pointed out the problems that were faced in the health delivery system in Zimbabwe that there is no single cancer machine in the whole of the public health system in Zimbabwe, that 2,500 women are dying everyday because we do not have maternity theaters. The biggest hospital, Harare Hospital, now known as Sally Mugabe Hospital only has one maternity working. It was built in 1977 by Ian Smith.”
According to Chin’ono Zanu PF does not tolerate constructive criticism.
“So, when I mentioned those things in Geneva the Zanu PF government was upset and they have been abusing me writing articles in The Herald which is controlled by the state saying lies, saying I’m a sellout, I’m a puppet.”
But Kandishaya claimed that his mission has been accomplished despite the fact that he did not seize the Boer goats belonging to Chin’ono.
“We achieved our first stage according to plan. Our first stage was to expose the double standards done by people in the opposition where they go around telling people that Zimbabwe does not have a conducive environment for conducting business and that if you are not under Zanu PF you are targeted. They will be fooling youths to go on streets and fight for jobs. They don’t tell the youth that they must fully utilize land by coming up with projects.
“So, other triple C (Citizens Coalition for Change) members are calling me saying ‘we never knew that Hopewell Chin’ono and other senior members have farms, businesses and various projects while they are telling us to go to the streets and protest over lack of jobs. So, first stage we have achieved …”
CCC deputy spokesperson, Ostallos Siziba, said they formed a human shield in order to defend a citizen, who was being terrorized by the ruling party.
“We are here as citizens of Zimbabwe. Young people are saying enough is enough to the harassment, torture and abuse of state institutions by Zanu PF. Hopewell is a citizen and so we stand together with anyone. We saw Zanu PF doing this to Siphosami Malunga (in Nyamandlovu). And now they are coming for Hopewell. We cannot allow that to happen. The agenda of the liberation struggle was about the sacrosanctity of land, that people should be given land. So, we must protect it with our hearts and souls. If we don’t speak about what is happening to journalists, tomorrow they are coming for us. We have to speak for and on behalf of the oppressed.”