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War vets spokesman's bail application for insulting Mugabe to be heard today

War vets spokesman's bail application for insulting Mugabe to be heard today

Zimbabwe

The spokesman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Douglas Mahiya, would be appearing in court today for a bail hearing after he was arrested on Wednesday night in Harare, and charged on Friday for “insulting” President Robert Mugabe.

The Harare magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwete said he would hear Mahiya’s bail application today and ordered the state to investigate the ZNLWVA official’s claim that he was verbally abused by police while in custody, Reuters reports.

Mahiya was part of the group that accused Mugabe of ruining the once-promising economy, he appeared at the magistrates’ court on Friday in handcuffs and was charged with undermining or insulting the authority of the president.

The government has denounced the statement last week by the veterans, once among Mugabe’s staunchest supporters, as “traitorous and treasonous”. Mahiya, who was not asked to plead, faces up to a year in jail if found guilty.

Even though the insult law has been challenged at the Constitutional Court by dozens of activists, the court is still to rule on whether the legislation limits individual freedoms.

Mugabe, now 92 and looking increasingly frail, faces growing opposition even from his own ZANU-PF party over his plans to contest the 2018 presidential vote.