HARARE , Controversy has erupted on Twitter following a post by Makomborero Haruzivishe, a human rights activist in Zimbabwe. In his post, he accused journalist Hopewell Chin’ono of collaborating with the Zimbabwean military to expose survivors of torture to further violence. Haruzivishe’s accusations have sparked a debate on social media, with some users calling for an investigation into the matter, while others have criticized him for causing unnecessary conflict.
According to Haruzivishe, Chin’ono had come under the guise of a journalist to interview survivors of torture during the 2019 shutdown who were seeking sanctuary at a safe house. The interviews were meant to expose the atrocities committed by the Zimbabwean military during the January 2019 protests triggered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s announcement of fuel price hikes. However, Chin’ono allegedly gave the videos as evidence of their location, including their identities, to the military.
As a result, survivors who had already been tortured by ZanuPf militia endured a second wave of torture by soldiers using steel bars, sjamboks, and other weapons. Many of them were injured so badly that when they were delivered to Harare Central Police station, police officers refused to detain them, fearing that some might die in their custody. They were immediately released after profiling. Alistar Pfunye, one of the victims of the raid by soldiers, was among those permanently injured.
Haruzivishe condemned Chin’ono’s actions and questioned the type of journalism he was practicing. He accused Chin’ono of being a mercenary working with the military and of exposing survivors of torture to further violence. Haruzivishe’s post has sparked a heated debate on social media, with some users calling for Chin’ono to be investigated, while others have criticized Haruzivishe for causing unnecessary conflict.
In response to Haruzivishe’s post, Professor Ibo Mandaza called for an end to the conflict and urged Haruzivishe to bury the hatchet. However, Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, seemed to dismiss the concerns, stating that they were “enjoying the game” and that they would let it play out.
The accusations against Chin’ono raise serious concerns about the safety of journalists and human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. If the allegations are true, Chin’ono’s actions could have put the lives of survivors of torture in danger and could have undermined efforts to hold the Zimbabwean government accountable for human rights abuses. The controversy highlights the urgent need for greater protections for journalists and human rights defenders in Zimbabwe and for accountability for human rights abuses.
Source -MasimbaNews ✍🏿