Police have arrested a leading war veteran under Zimbabwe’s controversial anti-insult laws, it was reported Saturday.
Jabulani Sibanda, who was recently ousted as leader of the war veterans because of his apparent allegiance to beleaguered Vice President Joice Mujuru, was arrested at his farm near the second city of Bulawayo on Friday afternoon, the state-run Herald reported.
“I can confirm he was arrested (on Friday) afternoon, although I don’t have much information at the moment,” police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said.
She confirmed Sibanda was being charged under a section of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which outlaws undermining the authority of the president.
Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court in Harare ordered the section to be struck off the statute books last year but Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa appealed against the ruling and the law remains in force.
Mnangagwa is Mujuru’s main rival in the fierce battles to succeed Mugabe.
Sibanda earned himself the ire of Zimbabwe’s first family by refusing to attend any of the 10 countrywide rallies Grace Mugabe has held since September to drum up support for her entry into fulltime ruling party politics.
The ex-war veterans leader is alleged to have said he wouldn’t attend the rallies until Mugabe’s supporters stopped chanting anti-Mujuru slogans and said “a coup both in the boardroom and the bedroom” was being staged.
It is unclear whether Sibanda was referring to a coup in the highest levels of government or against himself as war veterans’ leader. Sapa