Zim lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa banned from representing Hopewell Chin’ono,faces disbarment

Beatrice Mtetwa

Zimbabwean Human Rights Lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa has been banned from representing investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who is charged with inciting violence in connection with protests that were set to take place on 31 July.

Magistrate Ngoni Nduna ordered that the Prosecutor General file contempt of court proceedings against Mtetwa and for the Law Society of Zimbabwe to be provided with a copy of his judgement.

Mtetwa has been replaced by Taona Nyamakora who represented vice president Constantino Chiwenga's wife Mary Mubaiwa in a case against him.

Mtetwa was accused of contempt for comments posted on a Facebook page associated with her. State prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi, said that Mtetwa should have taken corrective action against the people running the “Beatrice Mtetwa and The Rule of Law” Facebook page, when she realised that they were disparaging the courts.

Mabhaudhi also accused Mtetwa of being “unethical and unprofessional”, by failing to act on information produced under her name.

Ms Mtetwa last week submitted that the application to remove her from Chin’ono’s case was sui generis (had no legal basis), because the prosecutor relied on “obiter” remarks made by a High Court judge.

Mtetwa also maintained that she was not on Facebook and had no social media accounts.

Chin’ono’s bail hearing has started at the Magistrate Court in Harare with Nyamakora as his new legal counsel.

Chin’ono, a prominent and well-known reporter, recently published documents that raised concerns that powerful individuals in the Zimbabwe government were profiting from multimillion-dollar deals for essential supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Chin'ono's reporting on alleged Covid-19 procurement fraud within the health ministry led to the arrest and sacking of Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.

Chin’ono was taken from his home in Harare mid July by eight “state security agents” who broke windows to gain entry and did not produce any warrant.