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War Vets Leader Facing Charges of Insulting Mugabe Still Locked Up

Some of the war veterans that thronged the Harare Magistrates' Courts to give support to their arrested leader Douglas Mahiya.

A Zimbabwean magistrate on Saturday remanded a top liberation war veteran accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe in custody pending a bail ruling on Monday.

The prosecution, led by Tapiwa Kasema, opposed the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association's spokesperson Douglas Mahiya's bail application filed by the defense.

Kasema told the court that Mahiya was a national security threat and should not be released.

"He might clash with the police and the military if he is released on bail and therefore the state urges the court to dismiss the application", said Kasema.

But lead defense lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, argued that there was no reason to deny the accused bail saying Mahiya was not a security threat.

"The accused person is alleged to have committed the offence between 7 April 2016 and the 27th of July 2016 during which time he could have disturbed peace in the country. That alone demonstrates that the accused person is a good candidate for bail," said Nkomo in reply.

Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe said he needed more time to make a decision on the matter. He deferred proceedings to Monday when he is expected to deliver judgement.

Mahiya is accused of issuing statements through a communique of the war veterans' body that allegedly insulted or undermined the authority of Mr. Mugabe.

Secretary general of the former freedom fighters' group, Victor Matemadanda, who was arrested at his Gokwe home on Thursday, has not yet appeared in court to face similar charges.

The former freedom fighters have called on Mr. Mugabe to address a myriad of economic issues affecting the majority of Zimbabweans. They also vowed not to campaign for the 92 year-old strongman saying his candidature was going to be difficult to support in the 2018 national elections.

They further accused the president for allegedly running a once vibrant economy and paralyzing the social welfare scheme and related issues.

Mr. Mugabe responded by calling a rally with a few veterans at his ruling Zanu PF party's headquarters where he attacked the war veterans and vowed to stay put claiming that Zimbabweans still like him.