TRANSFORM Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume, who was recently released from prison after being acquitted of incitement to commit violence, says the eight months he served in prison has strengthened his resolve to speak out more against corruption and will not be silenced by the imprisonment.
RUVIMBO MUCHENJE/ BRENNA MATENDERE
Ngarivhume was arrested ahead of the planned 13 July 2020 protests for calling on people to protest the corruption around procurement of Covid-19 protective clothing.
In an interview with The NewsHawks, Ngarivhume said more advocacy and campaigns against corruption must be expected from him.
“You will see even more of that, I do it because I believe this is the right thing. We fight for our country because that is our heritage. Zimbabwe is our heritage and we have no other heritage except Zimbabwe. If we do not speak out, it will be wrong. Look at Zimbabwe, such an endowed country with mineral resources. We have all the minerals that you can think of. One of the books that I read when I was in prison details the mineral resources found in this country, they run into hundreds. There is no reason absolutely why Zimbabwe would be this poor. What has happened to all these mineral resources?” querried Ngarivhume.
During his stay in prison, Ngarivhume met niece to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and president of Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, Henrietta Rushwaya,when she had been convicted of a crime of trying to smuggle six kilogrammes of gold via the Robert Mugabe International Airport.
He questioned how she was later given a wholly suspended five-year custodial sentence and fined US$5 000 for the crime.
“When I was inside I had an opportunity to speak to Henrietta Rushwaya convicted of trying to smuggle 6kg of gold. Of course she was given a wholly suspended sentence. She came out ahead of me and Job and it’s amazing that you would understand how much gold is moving and changing hands in this country. So there is no reason why we should be in this position as a country and that we speak out against, it’s the corruption, bad leadership, bad governance. When people loot a country from 1980 without even feeling and deciding that you need to give the country an opportunity to grow and prosper, it is startling. That is unacceptable and someone needs to speak out and we will do that,” said Ngarivhume.
The 45-year-old opposition leader says his motivation to protest and speak out against corruption is because he dreams of a better country. He explained that his protests are driven by national interests and not personal reasons.
“This is not personal, our fight is not personal against ED (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) or against Zanu PF as an organisation. It is based on principle, to say we have to do the right thing for our country. If we do not do that right thing, then someone needs to speak up. That is what we are doing,” said Ngarivhume.
According to him, this is a travesty of justice and exposes a lax approach in government in dealing with corruption which he plans on tackling head-on.
Ngarivhume was convicted in April this year and given an effective four-year sentence for inciting the public to commit violence and has been trying to have his appeal heard at the High Court since then.
Before he appealed, his defence lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the sentence was “outrageous” as “you cannot send a political leader to jail . . . for merely tweeting what you consider to be incitement.”