Pro-democracy groups rally behind Mahiya

HARARE - Civic Society leaders and pro-democracy groups turned out in full force at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts where spokesperson of the war veterans — Douglas Mahiya — was appearing following his arrest on Wednesday evening.

He has been charged with insulting President Robert Mugabe.

His bail hearing will continue today after the court dismissed an argument by his lawyers that the proceedings were unlawful in the absence of a prosecution certificate.

Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe ruled that the absence of a prosecution certificate did not take away the charges that Mahiya is facing and deferred the hearing to today.

The State is opposing bail arguing that the 61-year-old is facing a serious offence and likely going to abscond if released.

But the focus was on the support that Mahiya would receive in light of the war veterans’ stunning fall-out with Mugabe last week.

And pro-democracy groups came to give their support after launching an overnight campaign to rally behind the war veterans.

Interestingly, Mahiya was represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), a civic grouping of lawyers that fights for justice in the country.

The ex-combatant is being given counsel by rights lawyers — Andrew Makoni and Harrison Nkomo.

Although the crowd was not as huge as the thousands that swamped the same courts two weeks ago in solidarity with #ThisFlag campaign leader Evan Mawarire, riot police struggled to contain war veterans and civic leaders who flooded Court 6 yesterday.

Respected lawyer and lecturer Alex Magaisa even penned an article urging solidarity with the war veterans.

He was joined by activist Patson Dzamara, who was among the pro-democracy leaders who came to support Mahiya.

Mahiya was arrested on Wednesday moments after President Robert Mugabe had issued chilling warnings to political groups, including the war veterans, who are calling for his resignation.

His colleague, Victor Matemadanda, who was likely to face the same allegations was yet to appear in court despite his arrest on Thursday.

Mugabe fell out with the war veterans who are rallying behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over from the nonagenarian — which saw the former freedom fighters issuing a scathing communiqué which formed the basis of the arrests and charges preferred on Mahiya.

Yesterday, the court was told that allegations against Mahiya arose between April 7 and July 21, this year, when he allegedly connived with other high-ranking national, provincial and district executive ZNLWVA members, who are still at large and authored a document that undermined Mugabe’s office.

According to court papers, the document was captioned, War Veterans Communiqué on the State of Zimbabwe’s Economy, the Zanu PF Party Leadership and the Way Forward for the People of Zimbabwe.

Prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema charged that Mahiya, as the spokesperson of the 33 000-member group of former freedom fighters, has the power to influence and manipulate the minds of the association’s members.

Police searches conducted at his house resulted in the recovery of three copies of the communiqué and documents titled Response to the President’s Attack on War Veterans.

Comments (10)

coalition of the wounded

truth - 30 July 2016

vanhu vese handei ku court tese taramba asara,,ma war vets mese ko akanganisa chiiko upresident ibasa.....ndihwo usatanism hwacho this one is a job ....a job on offer tall zimbabwean kana ndapinda ...ndavekuresva ....ndiakakutukai mondisunga iwo vamugabe kana vasingadi zvokunetsva kana knyadziswa kana kutamba nepwere ngavasiyeka basa racho....zvenyu zvavekutinyadzisa......wanodei pachigaro chevana vadiki....dzitori tsitsi dzamwari vakasukumidzwa iwo vamugabe vanopamira here so....vanoitei...varume regai satanism yamurikuita do charge any one kuti anotukamunhu who is at wrong place at the wrong with the wrong people mugabe is not our generation leader.....we need new blood.....Iam always telling people there about 1million zimbabweans qualified for tha job.....for zimbabwe president post...tell you mugabe to step down......do not harm him and let someone take over......we want him to witness zimbabwe ichibudirira vanhu vachifara ..mabasa zvese zvese zvichiendeka ....mozomuti watch /tarisa....anochema misodzi achiona vana vevamwe vachivaka nyika zvaaiti hazviitike zvichiitika mari yezimbabwe /currency more stronger than he can imagine

dofo - 30 July 2016

The Economy has also spoken unequivocally against the mis-rule of ZANU PF. Daily it speaks to each Zimbabwean trying to press on in an ever harsher environment. High unemployment, industrial & agricultural decline, bad policy, ridiculous waste & misallocation of public resources are just a few of its laments. (Oh jobs where hast thou flown?) The economy has shrunk so much that there may be enough space for it at Matapi Police Station. just saying...

The Economy speaks too - 30 July 2016

@Truth, even the liberation struggle was fought by brave men & women who came together because they where wounded as a result of the Smith regime. The most important thing is that the struggle was won with these wounds. Similarly we will win and remove ZANU pf from power after which I will come and to take your farm for free watch the space. You will seek refuge in Mars because ZANU pf members are not accepted anywhere.

Mentalist - 30 July 2016

Mr Mugabe must know n remember the real heroes of the struggle,those that introduced him to the struggle.Those that taught him about Zimbabwe,the comrades.Mr Mugabe ,mr chombo,mr sekeramai ,ms chimene,all must remember the real fighters they are fighting now.Remember they are strong.Strong men of honour.

viola gwena - 30 July 2016

I was at the magistrate's court to support Evan Mwarire, but I will not be there to support Mahiya. The War vets were happy to ride the back of the hyena and feed it, so long as they themselves were also eating. Now that they have fallen off, they too are getting eaten and crying foul. Where were you for the last 20 years? Why is it only now when you have fallen off the gravy train do you suddenly find a conscience? As far as I'm concerned, you now deserve to be eaten.

obert - 31 July 2016

AKANGANISEI MAHIYA? IMHOSVA KUTAURA PFUNGWA DZAKO?

JAMES - 31 July 2016

The law or regulation about insulting the president does not apply to RGM as he himself does insult the populous each time he opens his mouth in public and lately he is more direct in doing so.

Forbeska - 31 July 2016

Today marks the third anniversary of Zanu Pf's "miraculous" victory where they evaded the ultimate form of accountability, for our dying economy. They must account for the economy both this side of the grave and the other.

Nooshie - 31 July 2016

Don't slam the war veterans because they woke up too late. They add weight to the growing movement to end this pathetic dynasty.

Nooshie - 31 July 2016

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