$300 bail for war vets spokesman
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary for information and publicity Douglas Mahiya was yesterday freed on $300 bail.
Meanwhile, ZNLWVA secretarygeneral Victor Matemadanda was picked up by police outside the Rotten Row magistrate courts in Harare after Mahiya’s bail hearing.
Prosecutors Mr Tapiwa Kasema and Ms Sharon Fero applied for suspension of the bail for 48 hours pending their appeal in terms of Section 121 as amended by the 2016 Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA). The amended section of the CPEA now gives a magistrate or judge discretionary power to suspend or confirm his bail decision but before it allowed the State to revoke bail for seven days while it appealed. Magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe upheld his bail ruling saying the appeal does not suspend bail. As part of his bail conditions, Mr Chikwekwe ordered Mahiya to report every Monday and Thursday at CID Law and Order, Harare and to reside at his Chitungwiza house pending finalisation of the matter. Mahiya (61), through his lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo, notified the court of his intention to challenge placement on remand on the basis that State papers do not disclose an offence.
The matter was remanded to August 12. The court adjourned briefly after one of the war veterans identified as Cde Shingi fell in a trance.
Ousted Vice President and now Zimbabwe People First leader Dr Joice Mujuru attended the court proceedings.
Mahiya is facing charges of undermining the authority of, 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 headlined, “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 President Mugabe.
The State alleged that Mahiya created the communiqué with the knowledge and realisation that its contents may engender hostility or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule towards President Mugabe.
On July 21, Mahiya allegedly held a meeting at Raylton Sports Club and issued the communiqué to a few journalists leading to the document being published in the Newsday newspaper, and on the Internet. It is alleged that in an interview with an SABC reporter, Mahiya also denigrated the President.
On July 27, a search was conducted at his residence and copies of the communiqué were found as well documents titled ‘Response to the President’s attack on War Veterans’, which also undermined the President’s authority.
Douglas Mahiya (left) embraces Victor Matemadanda outside court in Harare yesterday