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FIVE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) executive members accused of undermining the authority of President Mugabe said their prosecution must be quashed because the Acting Prosecutor-General Advocate Ray Goba, who sanctioned their trial was in office illegally. In an application against placement on remand recently, Douglas Mahiya, Francis Nhando, Victor Matemadanda, Headman Moyo and Hoyini Samuel Bhila argued that Adv Goba’s appointment was not supported by the supreme law of the country.
Harare lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai filed the application at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on behalf of the five. It is the five’s contention that the Constitution does not provide for appointment of an Acting PG.
“It is the accused persons’ contention that the Constitution makes no provisions for the appointment of an Acting Prosecutor-General and that the incumbent is therefore unlawfully in office.
“In all circumstances and in the absence of a lawfully appointed PG, and in the absence of the incumbent exercising delegated powers, there is no proper certificate before the court and the prosecution of the accused persons ought to be removed from remand,” read the application.
In a separate case, Mtetwa and Nyambirai law firm, on behalf of a client Mr Majoni Utete, last week sought the position of the Judicial Service Commission on the constitutionality of the Acting PG’s post. The lawyers argued that Adv Goba has a criminal record that disqualifies him from holding the position.
“Our client further complaints that the acting incumbent is, in any event, unsuitable for the position given his criminal record arising from his conviction in Namibia for attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice for which he was sentenced to N$2 000 or six months imprisonment.
“The conviction and sentence were upheld by the High Court of Namibia and an application for leave to appeal to that country’s Supreme Court was refused,” reads the letter dated November 16 this year.
Meanwhile, the trial of the five war veteran leaders is expected to commence today amid contestation on constitutional grounds. Allegations against the five arose between April 2016 and July 2016.
They allegedly authored a document titled, “War Veterans communiqué on the state of Zimbabwe’s economy, the ZANU-PF party leadership and the way forward for the people of Zimbabwe”, in connivance with other high ranking national, provincial and district members still at large.
They allegedly made defamatory statements and undermined the authority of President Mugabe.
State alleged that they created the communiqué with the knowledge and realisation that its contents could ignite feelings of hostility or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule towards President Mugabe.
On July 18, Mahiya held a meeting at Raylton Sports Club and issued the communiqué to a few journalists, leading to the document being published in NewsDay and on the Internet. It is alleged that in an interview with an SABC reporter, Matemadanda also denigrated the President.
On July 27, a search was conducted at Mahiya’s residence and copies of the communiqué were found. Also retrieved at Mahiya’s house were documents titled “Response to the President’s attack on War Veterans”, which also undermined the President’s authority.