Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has given a harrowing account of his imprisonment in the country’s maximum prison, likening it to a Nazi concentration camp.
Chin’ono was released last week after being in custody for 45 days on charges of inciting violence on social media.
But he said he was arrested because he exposed COVID-19 corruption, within the Zimbabwean government.
“Even the policemen at the police station would privately tell me that ‘you are being incarcerated because of the exposures. The president is upset that you have tarnished his name and that of his family’.”
The investigative journalist said government was trying to send a message, not only to him – but upcoming journalists.
“The idea is to try and instill fear, not only in myself as an investigative journalist but also to other journalists – especially the young ones, that ‘if you write about the president and his family and other high ranking officials this is how we are going to punish you. We will send you to prison and we will make sure that you will rot there’.”
Listen below for the full interview
There has been a lot of political tension in Zimbabwe, with claims of human rights abuses against those who are critics of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
There have been growing calls for urgent interventions from the South African government and President Cyril Ramaphosa as chair of the African Union.
A delegation led by African National Congress secretary-general Ace Magashule has returned to the country to try and resolve the ongoing instability.