Zim war vets boss held over call to have Grace Mugabe arrested

2017-08-17 12:13
Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

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Harare – Zimbabwean police have arrested a prominent war veteran who called for the arrest of the southern African country's First Lady Grace Mugabe after she publicly urged her 93-year-old husband to name his successor

Victor Matemadanda, secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, was taken in after he handed himself to the police.

The top freedom fighter’s attorney, Doug Coltart, confirmed Matamadanda’s arrest, adding that he had been charged with undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe and causing disaffection among the country’s police and defence forces.

"Victor Matemadanda voluntarily handed himself over to the police this morning (Wednesday). He's now been charged with Sections 30 & 33 of the Criminal Code," said Coltart.

Consistency 

Coltart said the state alleged that they had a video of Matemadanda where he allegedly said there should be consistency in the responses to Grace’s call for a successor and the war veterans making the same call.

Matemadanda told a news conference recently that Grace should be arrested for calling on Mugabe to name a successor like what happened to some of the war veterans before the First Lady made her call.

The war veterans, who have openly declared their support of Mugabe’s deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had issued a communiqué in which they called on the nonagenarian leader to step down before the 2018 polls to pave way for young leaders, arguing that Mugabe "had reached his sell-by date".

Matemadanda also made headlines last week when he appeared in a picture that went viral on social media wearing a T-shirt that criticised the First Lady for failing to control her children.

Factions 

"The same offence is now in State House, the first lady has committed the same offence from an unknown base unlike ourselves because we have a stake, but the only stake the first lady has is being married to the president," said Matemadanda at the news conference.

"We have been waiting to hear that dockets have been opened and that riot police have gone to the State House to arrest a person who has committed a crime that we committed and that we were arrested for.

Two distinct factions angling to succeed Mugabe have emerged in the ruling Zanu-PF party. One faction calling itself “Team Lacoste” was led by one of Mugabe’s deputies, Emmerson Mnangagwa while another faction calling itself “Generation 40” and made up of young Turks was backing Grace to torpedo Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions.

President Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has failed to groom a successor in his 37 years in power. The veteran leader told supporters last month that he was ready to continue as president of Zimbabwe. 

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  victor matemadanda  |  grace mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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