Zimbabwe arrests members of war veterans group over Mugabe criticism

zim2HARARE, Zimbabwe – On Thursday, Zimbabwean police said that they had arrested top officials of a war veterans association after the group criticised President Robert Mugabe last week.

Police officials detained Secretary-General Victor Matemadana and spokesman Douglas Mahiya over a statement issued by the association.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba confirmed the news, “Police have taken in Matemadanda for questioning over the communiqué and statements made by the war veterans last week and its investigations are under way.” She also confirmed Mahiya’s detention.

Andrew Makoni, Mahiya’s lawyer, said that if found guilty of charges of undermining the authority of the president, Mahiya would face a year in jail.

Makoni said, “They specifically mentioned the statement but also said he has been insulting the president from April 6 to July 21 with some of his unnamed colleagues.”

On Wednesday, Mugabe had termed the veteran’s association’s leaders as “rebels” and said, “…those behind the statement would be punished for their crimes and of seeing regime change.”

The arrests come after the liquidity crisis that hit the nation, which led to the largest anti-government strike seen in more than a decade on July 6. Protests have been staged as the country’s frustration grows over the deteriorating economy and alleged corruption.

Evan Mawarire, the Zimbabwe pastor, who launched a social media campaign criticising the government, has urged the nation for a massive but peaceful uprising.

Mawarire, who has left the country because of safety concerns, addressed the crowd gathered at a South Africa university on Thursday night. He said that the government “cannot deal with people that are genuinely peaceful”. He added, “Catastrophe has been our story for far too long.”

Requesting for a peaceful strike, Mawarire said, “Violence begets violence, and that is something that you and I have to make a decision to be different on going forward.”

In the midst of protests and arrests, the 92-year-old Mugabe has repeatedly announced his plans to run for Presidential election in 2018.

Culled from Big News Network.com

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About Cholo Brooks 16878 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.