War vets secretary remanded in custody
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary for information and publicity, Douglas Mahiya, yesterday appeared in court facing charges of undermining the authority of the President. He was remanded in custody to today for bail application. Mahiya’s lawyer, Mr Harrison Nkomo, unsuccessfully applied to have him released by the court on the basis that prosecution did not have a certificate of prosecution from the Prosecutor General (PG).
Mr Nkomo submitted that under Chapter 3 of the Criminal Law and Codification Act, it is imperative under Section 34 that prosecution produce a certificate signed by the PG.
Prosecutors, Mr Tapiwa Kasema and Ms Sharon Fero argued that for purposes of placement on remand the certificate was immaterial.
In his ruling the magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe said the lack of the certificate was a legal defect that the State should be alive to but there was no need to set aside remand.
“The State is ordered to bring the certificate on Monday while other proceedings continue,” said Mr Chikwekwe.
Mr Nkomo proceeded to lodge complaints against Senior Assistant Commissioner Ncube from CID Law and Order Harare for verbally insulting Mahiya.
“He insulted the accused saying he was confused and disorderly to the extent that the disorderliness has extended to his children,” said Mr Nkomo.
“The senior assistant commissioner added that the bedroom of the accused’s children is filthy and unsuitable for human habitation.
“The accused was interrogated from 3PM on July 27 to 2AM on July 28. Notwithstanding the availability of many detention centres, they detained him at Matapi Police Station which was condemned as unfit for human habitation.
“The alleged communiqué, which is the subject matter was not retrieved through a diligent search but was planted by the police for purposes of finding grounds to arrest him.”
Mr Nkomo added that it was worrisome that he was denied access to the court by the police manning the courtroom.
“I want the officer-in-charge of the Harare Magistrates’ Court to submit a report and the senior assistant commissioner investigated,” he said.
Mr Chikwekwe ordered the investigation of the senior asstistant commissioner and that the officer-in-charge at the Harare Magistrates’ Court submits a report within seven days. The State is opposed to bail.
Mahiya (61) of Chitungwiza pleaded not guilty to charges of undermining the authority or insulting the President.
It is alleged that between April 2016 and July 2016 Mahiya, acting in connivance with other high ranking national, provincial and district members still at large, authored a document 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 in which they allegedly made defamatory statements thereby undermining the authority of the President.
The State alleged that Mahiya created the communiqué with the knowledge and realisation that the contents of it may endanger the feelings of hostility or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule towards the President.
On July 21, Mahiya held a meeting at Raylton Sports Club in Harare and issued the communiqué to journalists leading to the document being published in Newsday and on the internet. It is alleged that in an interview with an SABC reporter, the accused also denigrated the President.
On July 27, a search was conducted at the accused’s residence and copies of the communiqué were found as well as documents titled Response to the President’s attack on War Veterans, which also undermined the President’s authority.