Zimbabwe is accusing the United States and its allies of allegedly spearheading a regime-change agenda in the wake of the arrest of a local journalist and politician, organizing a mass protest against corruption and other issues in the southern African nation.
In a strongly-worded statement, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa dismissed reports that investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was allegedly abducted by state security agents and dragged to the courts to face charges of inciting public violence.
Mutsvangwa said there are many journalists, who have written about corruption in the corridors of power, but have not been locked up for uncovering graft.
She claimed that Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are misrepresenting the circumstances leading to their arrest.
“We have noted with dismay, a well-coordinated local and international misinformation, and disinformation media campaign where the duo are said to have been arrested for supposedly exposing alleged corruption cases in Government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Hopewell Chin’ono was not abducted. He was lawfully arrested by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. And he was not arrested for exposing corruption. He was arrested for using his social media accounts to incite Zimbabweans to violently overthrow the Government.”
Mutsvangwa said the United States government was allegedly peddling this so-called misinformation for its benefit.
“The role of foreign powers in this plot to instigate an illegal regime change in Zimbabwe is made apparent by a set of events and statements that followed the police operation. Within minutes of the arrival of the police at Mr Chin’ono’s home, the US Embassy was already all over this issue which is between a sovereign country and its citizen, by tweeting and trying to bring pressure to bear on the Zimbabwean Government so it would not enforce the law of the land. Its particular interest in this one person is curious.
She said, “Other Western embassies who usually take the USA’s lead joined in this irregular interference by tweeting and releasing statements which were calculated to obstruct the course of justice in a hosting country.”
She added that a senior U.S official “issued a very derogatory and undiplomatic statement against the Government of Zimbabwe, showing condescending disrespect to a sovereign country” after Zimbabwe’s judiciary had delivered its verdict on the two men’s bail application at the Magistrates’ Courts.”
She said Zimbabwe is keen to engage with all members of the community of nations, but “will not surrender its sovereignty as a trade-off for this.
“All what Zimbabwe seeks is mutual respect and non-interference in its internal affairs. Going forward, Government will not compromise on Zimbabwe’s national security and expects all foreign embassies hosted here to behave with propriety as set out in the Vienna Convention.”
Tibor Nagy, U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, said in a tweet two days after the arrest of the two that his government is concerned about the arrest of Chin’ono and Ngarivhume.
The United States Embassy – Harare and several other embassies had also tweeted, noting their concerns over the arrest of Chin’ono and Ngarivhume.
“… We have travelled and suffered from their past depredations. It’s not democracy they want. After all we paid a heavy price to attain it from the conquering colonials. They did not give up Zimbabwe on a platter. It’s cruel self-enrichment from our resources that they seek. Please why can’t you give Africa a break? As Zimbabwe we are saying: WE CAN’T BREATHE.”
Mutsvangwa further noted that the Zimbabwean government is taking stern measures against corruption as shown by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent dismissal of Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, who was linked to a Drax International shady deal linked to the first family and several other locals.
The government has distanced the president’s family from the $60 million deal to procure COVID-19 equipment. Indications are that the deal was struck without following proper tender procedures.