'Mugabe insult trial' collapses

2016-11-23 19:00
 Zimbabwe War Veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya. (File: AFP)

Zimbabwe War Veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya. (File: AFP)

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Harare - A Zimbabwe court on Wednesday indefinitely postponed the trial of five war veteran leaders charged with insulting longtime President Robert Mugabe, citing bungling by the prosecution.

The five were facing charges for authoring a highly-critical statement accusing Mugabe of "dictatorial" behaviour, and were arrested earlier this year in a crackdown on critics of the 92-year-old leader.

But Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya chastised the prosecution for failing to get the trial started for two consecutive days and turned down its request for a further delay.

"I am declining further remands," said Mujaya. "Keep your confusion in your department."

The five now will have their bail returned.

For the trial to resume, the prosecution will have to file the case afresh and summon back to court the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association executives, according to their lawyer Harrison Nkomo.

In their statement, the veterans of the 1970s independence war, previously loyal to Mugabe, bitterly denounced the head of state and said they would not support him should he run for re-election.

The ruling Zanu-PF has already endorsed Mugabe as its candidate for the 2018 elections.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, has faced a groundswell of opposition and calls to step down in recent months as the country's moribund economy collapses.

Read more on:    robert  |  mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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