ORGANISER of the planned July 31 protests Jacob Ngarivhume and freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono were arrested today and charged with inciting public violence.
Ngarivhume leads opposition political party Transform Zimbabwe, which is behind the planned nationwide protests.
Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Paul Nyathi said the two are being charged with contravening section 187 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms that Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe and Hopewell Chin’ono have been arrested in connection with contravening section 187(1)a(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9(23): incitement to participate in public violence.
The duo will appear in court soon and are currently in police custody,” Nyathi said.
While Ngarivhume’s arrest went without notice, Chin’ono’s was more dramatic.
According to a video that went viral, Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the police officers broke a glass door to gain entry into his house in Chisipite, harassed domestic workers and seized him mid-morning.
Chin’ono has been at the forefront of exposing grand state corruption.
“We have just arrived at Hopewell’s house after receiving an SOS that his home has been surrounded by about eight state security agents and they broke the glass at his door, gained entry and he has been abducted,” Mtetwa said as she stood by the broken door.
“We are not sure where he has been taken to because his worker said they did not produce any warrant when they came to his house,” she stated.
Chin’ono had initially made the announcement of his arrest on micro-blogging site. Twitter and he was also live on his Facebook page as the police entered the room where he was.
“Police and state agents are harassing my workers at home. They are breaking into the house, alert the world,” he tweeted.
A short video streamed live on his Facebook account, and immediately went viral, shows four police officers, two of whom were plain-clothed, budging into a room where he was and ordering him to put his phone in his pocket before the video abruptly cut.
The US embassy also tweeted yesterday saying: “We have learned @PoliceZimbabwe officials are at Hopewell Chin’ono’s home now and are deeply concerned for his welfare. #Protect journalists.”
The tweet drew an immediate response from Mnangagwa’s chief spin doctor George Charamba using @jamwanda2 as his Twitter handle, replied: “Catch the cub, the lioness comes roaring. I like the turn of events; we are now in business.”
Several other embassies, including the European Union and the British also tweeted in condemnation of the arrests.