Arrests of Chin’ono, Ngarivhume give(s) all of us a chance to speak

The tweets were not on embarking on violence, but much the fall of corruption and corrupt individuals

By Trust Sibanda

This past week was like a month in Zimbabwe, packed with activity. A lot of things happened within a day. And by the end of the week, a lot more things had happened

The arrests of the corruption whistle blower Hopewell Chin’ono (Daddy Hope) and the man of faith Jacob Ngarivhume have exposed how unready our country is in attending to grievances of subjects.

In one week the two were picked up by police on crimes linked to their refusal to be silent about corruption. On the contrary Mayor Gomba was picked for corruption allegations over land deals.

As a country we can decide to be quiet about corruption while it matures to levels which even our courts cannot handle. Why has it become so wrong to speak out about corruption? Just like emotional abuse corruption has the potential of creating conflict.

While we were still thinking about the fate of the arrested, the President appeared on National Television with the new lockdown rules. Everything people do under the Zimbabwean sun was tightened except the occurrence of corruption and the onslaught of those who speak against it.

Tightened lockdown

On the presser, the President did recently when he tightened the lockdown by imposing the Smith curfew there are a lot of things he deliberately avoided to address. His counterpart Ramaphosa the of South Africa on his latest presser spoke against Covid 19 motivated corruption.

Over pricing of essential services, goods as well as dubious tenders must be investigated according to him. He said this statement to save South Africa from legitimizing crime and also to show that he is leading a listening government.

In all his public speeches he puts South Africans first which is a good thing for a leader to do.

Our own President ED was supposed to address such issues as well. He was not however expected to read the printout of Ramaphosa though. We expected him to talk of salient issues which Ngarivhume and Daddy Hope always tweeted about.

Their tweets were not on embarking on violence but much the fall of corruption and corrupt individuals. ED was supposed to put his head on the block as the Head of State to save Zimbabwe.

He has a constitutional duty to save the county we all belong to. As Zimbabweans we expected him to put ZANU under the bus by denouncing corrupt activities.

It is too late to save ZANU but not too late to save the bleeding of the country. The millions that are claimed to have voted ZANU must raise their voices on corruption than to wait for the number defeated at the Constitutional court to speak for the said majority.

A current setting on the street is that people cannot breathe. Corruption is chocking them.

Expectations of Zimbabweans now are on a transparent engagement involving the ruling party, opposition and civic group. These three bodies must help one another to shortlist the common enemy.

Three big enemies Zimbabwe has now are corruption, sanctions and Covid 19. It is within our powers to tighten bolts on corruption and working against sanctions by doing that which is right. Our approach needs a generational consensus.

No go areas

Let our prisons be a no go area for whistle blowers. Daddy Hope and Ngarivhume must be friends of the courts not enemies. As for Covid 19 it is easy to manage when we find each other.

Lest we forget an African Proverb which says when brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their property. We will arrest each other and kill each other for China to milk our resources for no value at all.

The feeling our president had when he went to exile in November 2017 is the feeling the majority of Zimbabweans have now. He felt oppressed and betrayed. This is the same feeling people have as of July 2020, three years after.

It is not possible for us all to go out and come back in two weeks as rulers but it is possible that the person you arrest today can one day wake up at the helm.

Joseph was in prison for him to lead. Ngarivhume and Daddy Hope remain in custody today. The law did not pick these two at random. It is difficult to rule out that one day they will rise and shine.

Arrested for a crime that has not happened

It is not a lie to say Ngarivhume and Daddy hope have been arrested for the crime the government says they will commit.

Just the thoughts were enough to frustrate authorities. Are they arrested for an idea? What is better to have the two in prison for fighting corruption than to be out embracing corruption?

The case of Mayor Gomba is a different one. The law is holding him suspect for stealing from the state coffers. If that is proved beyond any reasonable doubt then the feeling is mutual that he has to taste his own medicine.

As for Ngarivhume and Daddy Hope their issue was more of a dialogue issue than incarceration. At school we used to say when I grow up I want to be a President and our teachers never took that as inciting a coup. The words meant what they meant. Corruption has to be addressed now.

Principle and leadership

This issue is not about Ngarivhume or Daddy Hope. This is a matter of principle and leadership. Those who are supposed to investigate corruption must not be paid to look stupid by arresting to investigate but they must investigate to arrest even if it takes years.

In SA the President set a target of six week reports on the progress of investigations. Our targets must not be to fill prisons with whistle blowers.

Our leaders must facilitate a referendum where we need to decide as a country in adopting corruption as a way of life.

Currently no one knows whether corruption is legitimized or not.

The list of people who looted from the public purse is out and no one is talking about it. The loss is on those who did not loot. How come those perpetrators justify such evil acts?


Trust Sibanda is a businessman. The views expressed are his, and do not represent the editorial policy of the newspaper


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