Zimbabwean government gives details on why Journalist David Hundeyin was detained

The Permanent Secretary of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Service of Zimbabwe, Nick Mangwana, has given details why Journalist, David Hundeyin was detained at the Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, July 19.

Nick Mangwana claimed that David came to his country with Ghanaian Refuge papers claiming he was a Nigerian who was a refugee from his home country

According to him, David Hundeyin’s country of Asylum is Ghana after claiming to be running away from persecution in Nigeria and people in this category need Visas to enter Zimbabwe as he wasn’t coming in to work as a journalist.

Recall that David Hundeyin on Wednesday, July 19, shared pictures of himself being detained upon his arrival in the Southern African country.

In a series of tweets, Hundeyin said he arrived in the Southern African country on the strength that it has a visa-free relationship with Nigeria but that upon his arrival, he was asked to provide his visa. He said he was later locked up with another woman from Uganda.

He tweeted, “I landed in Zimbabwe earlier today, and I have been detained at Harare Airport inside a smelly locked room for nearly 7 hours.

“They said that despite using the travel document of a country with a visa-free relationship, my nationality is still Nigerian, and thus, I need a visa.

“I was processed for removal from their country and locked in a tiny room, but I have heard nothing from anyone for several hours.

“Alongside a lady from Uganda (also a visa-free country), I have been locked in a room with no windows or toilet, plus a bottle of pee on the floor. I am ready to hop on my flight and never come back to Zimbabwe for the rest of my life.🙏🏿

“Please, someone out there who is actually in charge of something should let me go so I can be on my merry way. I’m not interested in visiting Zimbabwe anymore. I want to go home. Please.🙏🏿”

Upon reading the tweet, an award-winning International Journalist and Zimbabwean Film Maker, Hopewell Chin’ono sent a Tweet message to Mangwana asking that the authorities release Hundeyin as his arrest does not do the image of their country well.

He wrote, “Dear @nickmangwana, The journalist you are detaining at the airport called
@DavidHundeyin is the African journalist of the year for 2020. He is a big journalist in Nigeria and not a chance. These are the things that taint the image of our country when you treat other Africans like animals. Why was he being denied the right to use a bathroom? This is sad, please don’t do this to fellow Africans!”

However, in his response, Mangwana defended the decision of the Zimbabwean government saying that the laws of their country are no respecter of any person. He went further to reveal that Hundeyin came into their country with ‘Ghanaian Refuge Papers as he was claiming to be running away from his country. He said the Ghanaian Refuge Papers’ requires a visa.

He said, “I am sorry that this journalist found himself in this situation. That said, we do have Immigration laws in our country that are obligatory to all prospective entrants, and no profession is immune to them. If someone’s travel document is such that they need a Visa, that law applies to everyone including “an award-winning journalist”. Our laws are blind to social stations or attended achievements.”

Also reacting to David’s detention, a Zimbabwean lawyer, Jaqueline Sande, questioned Nick Mangwana, stating that David Hundeyin said his passport didn’t require a visa to enter Zimbabwe.

She wrote, “He says his passport doesn’t require a visa, so what’s the problem”

Nick Mangwana responded, “Jaqui, since he has chosen to put all his issues out without making full disclosure, it forces us to give details we would have preferred not. But we realize this may affect how Zimbabweans are treated when they visit Nigeria so we are going to give the information here. David came with Ghanaian Refuge papers claiming he was a Nigerian who was a refuge from his home country. His country of Asylum is Ghana after claiming to be running away from persecution in Nigeria. People in this category certainly need Visas to enter Zimbabwe. He wasn’t coming in to work as a journalist. He said he was just coming to visit but without getting a Visa in Ghana first. Other parts of his story were also unsatisfactory to the immigration authorities. He was considered not a candidate for entry into Zimbabwe.”

Hundeyin in his defence said that he inquired from the Zimbabwean embassy in Ghana if he required a visa and he was told he didn’t. He did not hesitate to express his displeasure that Mangwana put out his personal information on social media.

He wrote, “I wasn’t aware that it is standard operating procedure in Zimbabwe for the country’s minister of information to tweet the asylum status of a foreigner, but since you’ve resorted to telling half truths, perhaps you should mention to your audience that I came into Zimbabwe with this valid Ghanaian refugee passport, which I have used to travel extensively over the world for 2 years.

“I’m sure you saw the valid UK Visa inside it. I’m also sure that you saw the numerous entry and exit stamps inside it belonging to multiple jurisdictions inside and outside Africa. Only in Zimbabwe have I EVER had an issue travelling with this document.

“You might also want to share with your audience that I put a call through to the Zimbabwean embassy in Accra before I travelled to confirm that I did not need a visa, and that J was expressly advised that as long as the airline was happy to recognise the travel document, I would have no problem coming into Zimbabwe visa-free.

“I know this despicable Twitter stunt of yours does not represent the behaviour of the generality of Zimbabweans, many of whom I have had as dear friends since university 15 years ago, so I will not hold it against Zimbabwe. From experience, I know that it is possible for a great country to be held captive by a criminal political elite who lack legitimacy.

“Whatever you thought you achieved by doing this, I assure you that you should have completed the job yesterday because you will not like what happens next.”

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