The government has accused the international community of interfering in the Hopewell Chin’ono case and tampering with the judicial system in order to influence the verdict.
Chin’ono, a towering figure and a gentle giant according to his close colleagues is showing signs of depreciating and unwellness amid scares that he might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
The prominent journalist was arrested 44 days ago after he exposed deep-rooted corruption in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, a move which angered the authorities. He has been awaiting bail since his arrest.
Government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana blamed the “international community of interfering in the courts.
He said: “I would say that the so-called international community has been interfering in Zimbabwe’s judicial system and in the Hopewell case, in particular, they are interfering.
“The Zimbabwean government is enforcing its law; it is governing and they are interfering.”
Chin’ono’s arrest is seen as a punishment to the government’s critics, a tactic which the current administration borrowed from the former president, the late Robert Mugabe, who in most cases persecuted or even killed his opponents.
Chin’ono, an award-winning journalist yesterday said he was unwell and his health is now a major concern.
Outside the Harare Magistrate’s court yesterday, he said he has a fever. He said he was forced to go to the court despite him not being needed on the day.
“I got a coronavirus test done yesterday (Monday) but the prison services forced me to come against my doctor’s advice. My doctors said I shouldn’t come.
“I have got fever. I’m not well but I have been forced to come to court,” he said while showing a frail figure of his former self.
His lawyers are waiting for his COVID-19 test results.
The lawyers say Chin’ono is being persecuted by the government for its corrupt dealings
“The manner of his arrest and his prosecution does seem to be directly linked to his reporting as a journalist on corruption in Zimbabwe,” said Human Rights Lawyer, Doug Coltart.
Chin’ono will be back in court Thursday for seeking bail, which the authorities have denied him for over a month.