Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa yesterday condemned the arrest of two members of his executive inside 48 hours as government intensified its crackdown on suspected authors of last week’s damning communiqué calling on President Robert Mugabe to step down.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda was reportedly picked up in Gokwe yesterday as police were frantically battling to have the association’s spokesperson Douglas Mahiya charged with seeking to subvert a constitutionally-elected government and insulting Mugabe.
Mahiya is set to appear in court today, while Matemadanda’s whereabouts could not be readily established last night. His mobile phone continuously went unanswered, while police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment as she was said to be in a meeting.
“I condemn the arrest of my executive members. This comes in the wake of a mob justice -type rally addressed by HE (His Excellency) President Mugabe yesterday (Wednesday),” Mutsvangwa said.
He called on Mugabe to stop the persecution.
“I call upon the President, as Head of State, to arrest forthwith the police action and the persecution of my comrades. As a fellow revolutionary and renowned statesman, why is he allowing such treatment of comrades who as young men sacrificed all they had including offering (their) only life so freedom could be attained?
“From that sacrifice, HE ended up being elected President in sovereign Zimbabwe. This high-handed over-reaction is surely uncalled for. Surely an announced withdrawal of political support by my executive colleagues, no matter how wounding to historical pride, cannot be grounds for such over-reaction.”
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Mahiya’s lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, said the State was shifting goalposts as regards the charges against his client.
“We have been able to see Mahiya, but have no idea where Matemadanda is. It is difficult to tell the charges because they are constantly changing,” Nkomo said.
Liberation war hero and former Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele said he was ready to offer legal assistance.
“I stand ready to help them. Only that I have not been briefed,” Gula-Ndebele told NewsDay.