A WAR veterans leader in Matabeleland has been hauled before the courts on criminal defamation charges after he wrote two letters to the Matabeleland North provincial magistrate alleging that ju
dicial officials were biased against Zanu PF officials.
The Nkayi war veterans leader, Ezra Dube, was last week brought before Nkayi magistrate, Sikhumbuzo Nyathi, and was remanded out of custody to November 11.
The state prosecutor Sanders Sibanda told the court that on April 25 Dube wrote a letter to Matabeleland North provincial magistrate, John Masimba, alleging that officials at the Nkayi magistrates’ courts were biased against Zanu PF officials in the district.
In the letter, Dube picked out the senior magistrate, Thabekhulu Dube, and Maxwell Hapanyengwi, the public prosecutor, as the officials who he claimed were always making biased decisions against Zanu PF supporters.
The state alleges that the contents of the letter were defamatory to Thabekhulu Dube and Hapanyengwi.
“The magistrate of Nkayi, T Dube, and prosecutor Hapanyengwi are harassing war veterans and accused persons,” the letter written to Masimba says. “It is done in two ways: War veterans and Zanu PF members are denied bail each time they appear in court.
“This is done to punish them for being their political opponents; accused persons spend more than five hours outside the court waiting for their cases to be heard. The two honourable gentlemen will be conducting their own private business during that time and when they finally come more than half the accused are remanded in custody.”
The letter further alleged that the two judicial officials boasted that they would leave Nkayi when all war veterans were behind bars and the MDC was in control.
The letter further alleged that the two are opposed to the government and should be “uprooted” from Nkayi and Matabeleland North.
This is not the first time that war veterans have threatened members of the judiciary. At the height of the land invasions, war veterans’ leader Joseph Chinotimba stormed into Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay’s office and threatened him.
Gubbay eventually resigned under pressure from government.
Some judicial officials have been physically attacked while others have been harassed and threatened in the course of executing their duties.