War vets trial dates set

HARARE - Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande yesterday set trial dates for war veterans’ leaders who are facing charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe after the State notified that investigations on the alleged matter had been completed.

The leaders — Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, 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 the authority of or insulting the president.

They were represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, Andrew Makoni and David Drury.

Their trial will commence on November 22 to 23 and resumes on 28 to 30 the same month.

The group’s reporting conditions were subsequently scrapped pending commencement of trial.

Allegations against Mahiya arose between April 7 and July 21 this year when he allegedly connived with Matemadanda, 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 alleges 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 deed, 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,” it said.

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 company distributed the document to the press.

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

Comments (1)

This trial is unnecessary and would only serve to embarrass the state at the end of the trial.It is an open onslaught on the liberties of these gentlemen.This trial serves to confirm that Zimbabwe is a rogue state which unleashes terror against its own citizens.

Gen. Spinola - 18 October 2016

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