A self-styled spirit medium Nehanda Nyakasikana made a scene in court yesterday immediately after war veteran leaders were removed from remand.
The ex-liberation war fighters were facing charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe.
Nehanda Nyakasikana declared that spirits of fallen freedom fighters killed in an armed raid during the liberation struggle in Mozambique in 1977 had delivered the war veterans from facing trial.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya; secretary-general Victor Matemandada, political commissar Francis Nhando, deputy chairperson Headman Moyo, and Hoyini Samuel Bhila, were accused of contravening section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act on charges of undermining the authority or insulting the president.
They appeared before Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, Andrew Makoni and Harrison Nkomo.
As Nehanda Nyakasikana was exiting the court, which was still wrapping up the session, she continuously pointed at the counsel table, indicating that their ancestors had freed the war vets leaders.
“…23 November 1977 at Chimoio camp…thousands of freedom fighters died…their spirits have risen to vindicate their children, it is not just a coincidence,” she said.
Other war veterans who came in solidarity shared the same sentiments and said November 23 was significant in their history as most of their comrades had lost their lives fighting for Zimbabwe’s independence.
“The enemy launched an attack at Chimoio on this day in 1977. We survived and what we wanted to achieve then, just like now, was to have Zimbabwe liberated, but we were being frustrated for trying to engage the president to better the lives of our children,” said Mahiya after court.
The Chimoio massacre, also known as Operation Dingo, was a major raid conducted by the Rhodesian Security Forces at the Zanla headquarters at Chimoio and a smaller camp at Tembue in Mozambique from November 23–25 1977.
More than 3 000 Zanla fighters were reportedly killed and 5 000 wounded while only two government troops died and six were wounded
Mujaya ordered that the group could only be summoned back to court after the State had put their house in order.
“Yesterday, I remanded the accused persons to today (yesterday) on the pretext that we would commence trial but I am being asked to do the same again. I will not tolerate that as this is not a remand court,” Mujaya ruled.
Prosecutor Tinashe Kasema had sought a postponement on the basis that he wanted to regularise issues surrounding the production of a certificate that authorises prosecution.
He claimed that he was not yet in possession of the State papers and could not proceed to trial.
Mtetwa interjected and advised the court that Kasema was buying time since two of the certificates formed part of the record of proceedings.
“Nkomo has got a copy of the certificate which was issued when Mahiya came to court for initial remand. Besides, the State could not have started proceedings from the onset without that certificate,” Mtetwa said.
Mujaya then drew the two certificates from the record, issued on July 29 when Mahiya appeared and the other on August 1 for Matemadanda and others.
Nkomo commented on production of the two certificates: “Based on the State’s concession today that there is no certificate, it means they are conceding that accused persons are unlawfully before this court. On what basis should they remain on remand?”
Allegations against Mahiya arose between April 7 and July 21, this year, when he allegedly connived with Matemadanda, Mhandu, Bhila, Moyo and ZNLWVA members who are still at large and authored a document that undermined Mugabe’s office.
According to court papers, the documents were captioned, War Veterans Communiqué on the State of Zimbabwe’s Economy, the Zanu PF Party Leadership and the Way Forward for the People of Zimbabwe.
The State alleged that information contained in the document was defamatory. Daily news