Zimbabwe veterans’ spokesman in court for insulting Mugabe

Zimbabwe veterans’ spokesman in court for insulting Mugabe
July 30 10:17 2016

A senior official with Zimbabwe’s war veterans 
association appeared in court on Friday on charges of
undermining President Robert Mugabe, after the group
accused him of “dictatorial” behaviour.

Douglas Mahiya, spokesman for the Zimbabwe
National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA), was remanded in custody until a bail
hearing on Saturday.
”The accused is facing charges of undermining or
insulting the president,” prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema
told the court.

“The state is opposed to the granting of
bail.”
Kasema said that as the war veterans’ spokesman,
Mahiya was responsible for distributing a hard-hitting
statement last week that was highly critical of the 92-
year-old Mugabe.
In the statement, veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s
independence war, who had previously been loyal
Mugabe supporters, bitterly denounced the president,
who faces growing signs of opposition.
They vowed not to support Mugabe, in power since
1980, if he stands for re-election.
After the court hearing a handful of veterans who had
attended the session sang songs in support of Mahiya
who is in custody at Harare police station.

Police arrested Mahiya hours after Mugabe told party
supporters that authorities were investigating the origin
of the war veterans’ statement warning the authors
would face “severe” punishment.
The prosecutor also claimed that Mahiya also
denigrated Mugabe in an interview with the South
African Broadcasting Corporation.

The association’s secretary-general, Victor
Matemadanda, was also taken from his rural home
after being summoned for questioning.
Zimbabwe has recently seen demonstrations against
Mugabe’s government, prompted by anger over an
economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and a
high jobless rate.
Earlier this month, a one-day strike shut down offices,
shops, schools and government departments as people
protested over the economic crisis.

BBC