War veterans’ leader, Victor Matemadanda, who is accused of insulting and undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority, yesterday filed an application for removal from remand when he appeared before provincial magistrate Elisha Singano.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Matemadanda submitted that the charge against him and the facts as contained in the State outline did not disclose an offence.
The war veteran leader is also facing another charge of causing disaffection among the members of the defence forces.
Matemadanda, who is being represented by human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, further challenged his arrest, detention and remand, saying his trial would constitute a gross violation of his constitutional rights.
In her submissions, Mtetwa said some laws were being used as a weapon to intimidate the citizens of Zimbabwe.
“The laws that have been used as a weapon of intimidation in this matter are contained in section 30 of the Criminal Law Act, causing disaffection among defence forces and insulting the President, such laws do not have a place in our constitutional democracy,” she said.
“It is common cause that the applicant [Matemadanda] was arrested and charged with contravening the aforementioned section in connection with his press conference, Matemadanda was exercising his right to freedom of expression.”
Mtetwa said the investigating officer, Benius Murira denied that he obtained a warrant to search for T-shirts in Matemadanda’s possession. But on the charge sheet it was stated that the police suspected he distributed T-shirts denouncing First Lady Grace Mugabe, saying she had failed to control her children.
The lawyer further said the courts had always stressed the importance of observing the right to personal liberty and that it would be a serious miscarriage of justice if it did not set aside the decision to arrest Matemadanda in the matter.
The State was expected to file its response late yesterday to enable magistrate Singano to make his ruling on Tuesday.
Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.