Zimbabwe court frees anti-corruption activists

A court in Zimbabwe freed prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who exposed corruption in the supply of equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and Zimbabwe’s Transformation Party leader Jacob Ngarivhume for calling for an unauthorized rallies and protests.

Judge Tawanda Chitapi of the Zimbabwe High Court said the court erroneously ruled in August to refuse bail, AllAfrica reports.

Mr Ngarivhume was granted $600 bail while Mr Chin’ono was ordered to pay $120 for his freedom.

Part of their bail conditions included that they surrender their passports and stop sharing messages on social media.

Earlier, the media reported about the inhuman prison conditions in which Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are being held. Lawyers said that prison officials repeatedly denied them the right to interview their clients in private.  They also refused to allow lawyers to give their clients warm clothing and food from outside the prison.

In addition, Chin’ono’s lawyers early this week said he had fallen seriously ill in prison with symptoms to those of Covid-19.

The imprisonment of two anti-corruption activists was met with global condemnation of President Mnangagwa’s government, which is accused of using the cover of Covid-19 to crush dissent.

Another investigative journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu, who broke a story about a $60 million dollar Covid-19 drugs procurement scandal that implicated President Mnangagwa’s family, is in hiding after police raided his home.