A Harare magistrate, Bianca Makwande, on Thursday dismissed an application for removal from remand by five war veterans who are facing trial for allegedly undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority.
The five, Douglas Mahiya, Francis Nhando, Victor Matemadanda, Headman Moyo and Hoyini Samuel Bhila were seeking to be removed from remand arguing that the State case had no merit.
However, Makwande insisted that the State outline of the case showed that there was need for them to be tried.
“The issues that the defence is raising are triable issues. Facts as outlined in the form 242 (request for remand form) clearly disclose an offence…The application is hereby dismissed,” said the magistrate.
The war veterans will be back in court on 17 October.
Mahiya is the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) information secretary and Matemedanda is the organisation’s secretary general.
Together with the other three, they were arrested in July after a communique announcing war veterans’ disengagement with Mugabe was circulated after a meeting in Harare.
The communique described Mugabe as too old to continue ruling Zimbabwe and the source of the political and economic problems the country is facing, but its real origins have not been established.
The five accused, though, argued in the application that the contents of the document reflected the authors’ political rights as provided for in the constitution.
They added that no-one had yet challenged the contents of communique but also denied authoring the document.
“This communiqué, which was not authored by the accused, is merely a challenge by the authors to the governance of the country.
“The authors complained of the perceived erosion of the values of the liberation struggle, the neglect of the masses who are suffering and the persecution, decimation and expulsion of war veterans,” read their application.