Two More Arrested In Zimbabwe War Veteran Crackdown

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, 92, who has ruled since 1980, has faced a groundswell of opposition in recent months. By Jekesai Njikizana (AFP/File)

Harare (AFP) - Zimbabwean police on Tuesday arrested two more senior members of the country's war veterans' association in a growing crackdown on critics of President Robert Mugabe, lawyers said.

Headman Moyo, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) vice chairperson and his Harare provincial counterpart Hoyini Samel Bhila were arrested on charges of undermining Mugabe's authority, bringing to five the number of former liberation war fighters arrested under the same law.

"Police charged Headman Moyo and Hoyini Samuel Bhila after the two handed themselves to detectives at Harare central police station," Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in a statement.

Mugabe, 92, in power since 1980, has faced a groundswell of opposition in recent months as the country's moribund economy collapses and the government struggles to pay its workforce.

Previously loyal supporters of the president, the war veterans released a highly critical statement two weeks ago attacking Mugabe as "dictatorial" and accusing him of being unable to address Zimbabwe's problems.

Mugabe has promised "severe" treatment of the statement's authors.

On Monday, ZNLWA secretary general Victor Matemadanda was seized by police at a court hearing of a colleague, association spokesman Douglas Mahiya who also faces charges of insulting the head of state.

The war veterans' political commissar Francis Nhando was also arrested outside the court.

A new non-partisan opposition movement known as #ThisFlag has also galvanised anti-government sentiment in Zimbabwe, where security forces have crushed signs of dissent for decades.

Last month, a one-day strike shut down offices, shops, schools and some government departments as people protested over an economic crisis that has delayed salaries for civil servants and the military.

More than 90 percent of the population is not in formal employment after years of economic decline under Mugabe's rule.

Source: AFP
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