- Zimbabwean police stormed the Bulawayo home of journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu, accusing him of links to planned protests.
- Mathuthu wasn’t home at the time of the raid, and police arrested and detained his sister.
- This follows the arrest of another prominent journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, and opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume.
Zimbabwean police officers ransacked the home of journalist and ZimLive editor Mduduzi Mathuthu during a raid in Bulawayo on Thursday, according to reports.
Police after their search say they found a pellet gun, 100 pellets, HP laptop, 2 flyers and 2 masks inscribed ‘Zanu PF Must Go’. Those so-called flyers planted obviously, never seen them with my naked eye. Anyway, I’m ready for the rope ???? pic.twitter.com/xmkEM790Yl
— Mduduzi Mathuthu (@Mathuthu) July 30, 2020
In their warrant of search and seizure, police said they were looking for equipment and any subversive materials which were reportedly meant to be used in “illegal” demonstrations planned for Friday, 31 July.
According to MISA Zimbabwe, police accused Mathuthu of “organising and advocating for the demonstrations”, using his mobile phone.
Mathuthu wasn’t home at the time, but TimesLIVE reported that one of their journalists was outside the house and witnessed the raid.
His sister, Nomagugu, was taken into custody instead and detained at the Bulawayo police station.
“They raided my house, found me absent and they gave my sister an ultimatum: Get Mduduzi here, or we will take you. They took her. She has no journalistic or political bone in her,” he said.
Mathuthu later tweeted that his sister had been released from police custody after the assistance of a lawyer employed by MISA.
AFP previously reported that Zimbabwe police on Monday launched a manhunt for opposition and union activists days after the arrest of another prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono, who is also an outspoken critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.
Chin’ono reportedly invited the public to join the 31 July demonstrations via Facebook and Twitter.
He had also helped expose a multimillion-dollar corruption scandal, known as “Covidgate”, involving the procurement of coronavirus supplies.
#Zimbabwe: This is the list of things seized by police during a raid on ?@zimlive? editor ?@Mathuthu?’s home today. Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Two masks & 2 pamphlets saying “Zanu-PF must go”, a pellet gun & a laptop. Police must be desperate! pic.twitter.com/z7TwLuc6MC
— Angela Quintal (@angelaquintal) July 30, 2020
Opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, who also called for the 31 July protests, was arrested at the same time as Chin’ono.
The two were charged with incitement to commit public violence and denied bail by a magistrate’s court.
In a statement on Monday, Zimbabwean police appealed for information on the whereabouts of 14 well-known government critics, including trade unionist Peter Mutasa, opposition legislator Job Sikhala and two former youth leaders of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
– Compiled by Denver Keytle