Award-winning investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has once again exposed the Zanu-PF regime to the world accusing its elites of looting US$100 million every month when Zimbabwe’s hospitals are struggling to save people’s lives.
Chin’ono, a fierce critic of the regime’s alleged corruption, human rights abuses, economic mismanagement and dictatorial behavior addressed the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy on Wednesday.
The bold journalist shared the podium with Nazanin Boniadi, a British actress and human rights activist, NBA player and activist Enes Kanter Freedom, North Korean two-time defector and torture survivor Timothy Cho and Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known by his stage name Bobi Wine, a Ugandan opposition politician, singer, and actor.
Chin’ono narrated his investigative journalism experience in Zimbabwe, articulating how it exposed corruption orchestrated by the regime in Harare.
“In 2019, I set up an organisation called ‘Save Our Hospitals’. This gave me a wide open window of opportunity to see the healthcare system up close and very personal.
“I learnt that all Zimbabwe’s six central hospitals only needed US$50 million to run efficiently without shortages. Yet doctors and nurses had no gloves and up to now they still don’t have gloves.
“There was and still there is no medication in our hospitals. I just tweeted yesterday that one of the big five hospitals could not even give a patient a paracetamol as of yesterday in my country.
“The amount of money being looted in smuggled gold could run all central hospitals for two years without any shortages.”
He added: “The Zanu-PF political elites loot US$100 million every month. Our central hospitals require only US$50 million. So, what they are stealing in a month, can run the central hospital in two years.
“That is the absurdity of how corrupt the regime has become. When I started to use Twitter and Facebook to expose how the government had destroyed our healthcare system, which led to a local politician organising an anti-corruption march I became public enemy number one.
“The judicial officers themselves have become part of that capture, they don’t care about the evidence. They take instructions from the top. But I refuse to be silenced.
“In Zimbabwe arrest is a tool of perception used to silence journalists, critics and the opposition. We must hold the corrupt to account for their actions. Perhaps, with my little efforts I will leave Zimbabwe a better place than what it was when I came into it.”
Chin’ono was arrested three times in less than a year for tweeting. Once for dubious charges of inciting public violence. The arrest came a few days after he exposed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and son Collins had looted US$60 million in a dubious Covid-19 deal.
Secondly for contempt of court charges for allegedly claiming corruption within the country’s national prosecution agency.
He was arrested again “communicating falsehoods”, a charge which the High Court ruled non-existent.