More war vets’ lead­ers in court

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Fun­gai Lu­pande Harare Bureau

FOUR more Zim­babwe Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion War Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion lead­ers ap­peared in court yes­ter­day on al­le­ga­tions of un­der­min­ing the au­thor­ity of the Pres­i­dent. They were re­leased on $300 bail each. The four are the as­so­ci­a­tion’s na­tional po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar Fran­cis Nhando, sec­re­tary-gen­eral Vic­tor Matemadanda, na­tional vice chair­man Head­man Moyo and ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber for Harare prov­ince Hoyini Sa­muel Bhila.

The quar­tet is rep­re­sented by Lawyers for Hu­man Rights (ZLHR) mem­bers Ms Beatrice Mtetwa and Mr David Drury.

As part of their bail con­di­tions mag­is­trate Mr Vakayi Chik­wekwe or­dered the four to re­side at their given ad­dresses pend­ing fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the mat­ter.

Nhando was or­dered to re­port at CID Chiredzi, Matemadanda at CID Gokwe South, Bhila at CID law and Or­der Harare and Moyo at ZRP Lu­pane.They will re­port twice a week on Mon­day and Fri­day. The mat­ter was re­manded to Septem­ber 5. Ms Mtetwa gave no­tice to chal­lenge place­ment on re­mand say­ing the facts do not con­sti­tute an of­fence.

“Even if they con­sti­tute an of­fence, the facts do not con­nect the ac­cused to the of­fence,” she said. “It is an abuse of the pre­trial in­car­cer­a­tion pe­riod of 48 hours to un­nec­es­sar­ily de­tain the ac­cused when they can be taken to court.

“Nhando and Matemadanda were taken into cus­tody on Mon­day and their warned and cau­tioned state­ments were recorded that same day.

“The po­lice had no deal­ings with them yes­ter­day (Tues­day) and they should have ap­peared in court then.

“The right to lib­erty means nec­es­sary and min­i­mum pre­trial in­car­cer­a­tion. It is a breach of the Con­sti­tu­tion to keep the ac­cused for the fun of it.”

Ms Mtetwa added that she will chal­lenge re­stric­tions by po­lice in ac­cess­ing her clients at po­lice sta­tions.

“The ac­cused were de­tained at dif­fer­ent po­lice sta­tions; High­lands, Rhodesville, Avondale and Brae­side,” she said.

“These sta­tions de­manded that a lawyer be ac­com­pa­nied by a po­lice of­fi­cer from CID Law and Or­der yet they didn’t have the man­power or re­sources.”

Ms Mtetwa added that there was no need to ar­rest the ac­cused when they sur­ren­dered them­selves.

“On the next re­mand date State has to show why they de­tained the four when they sur­ren­dered them­selves.

“The Form 242 was with­held from de­fence mean­ing we could not take in­struc­tions on is­sues of bail. This is an in­fringe­ment on the ac­cused’s right to rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“Rights of war vet­er­ans as en­shrined on sec­tion 84 of the Con­sti­tu­tion are be­ing in­fringed. If war vet­er­ans ex­er­cise their rights it is now an of­fence.

“The per­son who signed the cer­tifi­cate to pros­e­cute is an act­ing Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral who has not been ap­pointed in terms of the Con­sti­tu­tion, it means there is no cer­tifi­cate be­fore you.”

The pros­e­cu­tor, Mr Tapiwa Kasema, al­leged that be­tween April 2016 and July 2016, Matemadanda, 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 Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

The state al­leged that the quar­tet cre­ated the com­mu­niqué with the knowl­edge and re­al­i­sa­tion that the con­tents of it may en­gen­der the feel­ings of hos­til­ity or cause ha­tred, con­tempt or ridicule to­wards Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

The court heard that on July 20, Matemadanda sent What­sApp mes­sages invit­ing the top five from pro­vin­cial and dis­trict ex­ec­u­tives to the meet­ing.

The meet­ing was held on July 21 at Rayl­ton Sports Club and the com­mu­niqué was is­sued to a few jour­nal­ists lead­ing to the doc­u­ment be­ing pub­lished in News­day and on the In­ter­net.

It is al­leged that in an in­ter­view with an SABC re­porter, Matemadanda 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.

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