Mahiya case postponed

HARARE - Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya’s case in which he is charged for insulting President Robert Mugabe was yesterday postponed after the prosecutor failed to turn up.

Mahiya was represented by Harrison Nkomo when the matter was remanded to September 5, a date his co-accused will also be back in court.

He appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe but the matter could not proceed because the prosecutor Tinashe Kasema was committed at the High Court.

ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, political commissar Francis Nhando, deputy chairperson Headman Moyo and Hoyini Samuel Bhila are accused of contravening section 33 of the Criminal Law on charges of undermining authority of or insulting the president.

“We would want the court to know that on the next remand date we shall proceed with our application challenging remand on basis that State papers as they appear do not disclose an offense warranting deprivation of the accused person’s rights,” Nkomo said.

“The accused person resides in Chitungwiza but the bail condition was that he reports at Harare Central. May he be ordered to report at Makoni Police instead?”

Chikwekwe subsequently altered the reporting conditions.

Allegations against Mahiya arose between April 7 and July 21 this year when he allegedly connived with Mtemadanda, Nhando, Bhila, Moyo and ZNLWVA members who are still at large and authored a document that undermined Mugabe’s office.

According to court papers, the documents were 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.

The State alleged that information contained in the document is defamatory.

“It will be recalled that our fellow war veterans and masses in the western region suffered brutal purges which only the unity accord pacified.

“Particularly worrisome in this context is the fact that, whilst the man (Mugabe) has dismissed that sad period as, ‘a moment of madness’, such language bellies his insincerity in the Unity Accord,” reads part of the communiqué that is being attributed to the war vets.

“He should be extending an honestly remorseful regret over this foul did, yet he appears to extol this as some macabre virtue. His continued resort to genocidal language should worry every right thinking citizen as to his true nature.

“This is unacceptable to the memories of those who perished during that time”.

The court heard 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.

The State also alleged that after writing the communiqué, the ZNLWVA spokesperson and his company distributed the document to the press.

It is further alleged that he later gave an interview to the South African broadcaster SABC, where he denigrated Mugabe, which resonated with information in the communiqué and other documents that were recovered at the war veteran’s place of residence.

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