40 Arrested War Vets Charged With Inciting Public Violence By Singing Revolutionary Songs

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By Thandiwe Garusa

WAR veterans who were arrested Tuesday for protesting poor pension earnings are still detained at separate police stations and are being charged with inciting public violence.

They intended to march from Africa Unit Square to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office where they would submit a petition detailing their grievances.

In a statement Wednesday, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLRH) said they are being charged with inciting public violence.

“ZRP are charging 40 former liberation war veterans with participating in gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of Criminal Code,” ZLHR said.

“ZRP accuses the former freedom fighters of singing “revolutionary” songs after they allegedly refused to comply with a directive to only allow 5 of them to hand over a petition detailing their grievances against government at Munhumutapa building and parliament. The 40 war veterans are still detained separately at Harare Central, Highlands, Rhodesville and Borrowdale Police Stations,” ZLHR said.

ZLHR said the war veterans were charged only after it demanded their release.

“The war veterans are being charged after we wrote a letter to ZRP Commissioner-General demanding their release stating that their arrest was arbitrary and unlawful as they had not been advised of the charge since around 10 am when they were arrested on Tuesday. We indicated that ZRP’s actions were a violation of the war veterans’ fundamental right to liberty enshrined in the constitution.”

The war veterans are represented by human rights lawyers Paida Saurombe, Blessing Nyamaropa and others.