Police in Zimbabwe have targeted leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation war veterans Association (ZNLWVA) after they produced a communiqué blasting President Robert Mugabe for destroying the country’s economy.
ZNLWVA spokesman, Douglas Mahiya, who was arrested on Wednesday appeared in court on Thursday where he was charged with undermining the authority of or insulting President Mugabe in contravention of Section 33 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
He was arrested on Wednesday and held at Matapi police station after police ransacked his home.
The police claimed that Mahiya and other members of the ZNLWVA connived to produce a document titled “War Veterans Communiqué on the state of Zimbabwe’s economy, the ZANU PF party leadership and the way forward for the people of Zimbabwe,” between April 7 and July 21, 2016, which was published in newspapers in and outside the country.
They said the contents of the document insulted and undermined the authority of the president and were likely to cause hatred, contempt and ridicule against Mugabe in his person and as the head of state.
Mahiya, who was represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyers Andrew Makoni and Harrison Nkomo, will be back in court Friday, July 29.
Meanwhile, ZNLWVA Secretary General, Victor Matemadanda, was reported to have been picked up from his rural home in Gokwe in connection with the same document.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Matemadanda was picked up in the early hours of Thursday by five individuals who said they were taking him to the Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station.
His whereabouts could not immediately be established and charges against him were still not known.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, was not immediately available for comment.
According to the ZLHR, more than 150 people have been charged with undermining the authority of the president since 2010.
Mugabe warned on Wednesday, while addressing party supporters in Harare, that he would deal ruthlessly with the authors of the communiqué.
– African News Agency (ANA)