Zimbabwean police have arrested Victor Matemadanda, secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), which last week dumped President Robert Mugabe saying he is now a liability to the country.
His arrest follows that of Douglas Mahiya, secretary for information and publicity of the ZNLWVA, who handed himself to the police yesterday after 13 men that identified themselves as police officers descended on his Chitungwiza home and searched the premises.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said it is not yet clear where the former freedom fighter is detained.
“In the early hours of the morning of 28 July 2016, five individuals picked up the ZNLWVA secretary general Victor Matemadanda from his home in Gokwe. They indicated that they were transporting him to Harare Central Law and Order Section. His whereabouts are currently undetermined, as are the charges or allegations against him.”
There was no immediate comment from the police.
The ZLHR said Mahiya is facing charges of allegedly violating Section 22 (subverting a constitutional government) and or Section 33 (insulting the office of the president) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
His lawyer was not reachable for comment.
Matemadanda, Mahiya and other members of the ZNLWVA convened a meeting last week in which they resolved to withdraw their support for President Mugabe.
They accused the president of allegedly running down the country and failing to contain corruption, which they claimed is now even rampant among his ministers.
Police have been trying to establish the source of a stinging communique released soon after the war veterans meeting last Thursday. Their leader Christopher Mutsvangwa, who has since lost his cabinet post, was recently expelled from the ruling party which subsequently recalled him from parliament for allegedly undermining the authority of the president.
Members of his association once held a peaceful march in Harare that was crushed by the police. Mutsvangwa and some members of the ZNLWVA are said to be backing a faction of the party led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who allegedly wants to succeed President Mugabe.
The other faction of the party, calling itself Generation 40, is allegedly led by First Lady Grace Mugabe.