Zimbabwe ex-war veterans leader in court for 'insulting' Mugabe

Zimbabwe ex-war veterans leader in court for 'insulting' Mugabe

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 12:22 am

A former leader of Zimbabwe’s war veterans appeared in court on Tuesday facing charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe by claiming the veteran leader planned to remove his deputy and replace her with his wife.

According to the charge sheet seen by AFP, Jabulani Sibanda allegedly told a war veterans’ meeting that Mugabe and his wife Grace were plotting a “bedroom coup” to remove under-fire Vice President Joice Mujuru from office.

Sibanda is alleged to have said “power was not sexually transmitted,” according to the charge sheet.

Grace Mugabe won a surprise nomination in August to lead the ZANU-PF women’s league and fuelled speculation by asking why she should not be president one day.

Sibanda was arrested last Friday in Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo, 439 kilometres (272 miles) south of the capital Harare.

Sibanda was granted $400 bail by the magistrate court later Tuesday and was ordered against interfering with the ongoing ZANU-PF congress.

Under his bail conditions, he was also ordered not to organise any marches and to report once a week to the police.

The firebrand former combatant was seen as a supporter of Mujuru, who was ousted from the ruling party’s leadership ahead of a key ZANU-PF congress currently underway.

Grace has accused Mujuru of plotting to assassinate the president, as factions within the party jostle for power.

Mujuru and powerful Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa were seen as the leading contenders to replace Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

Several of Mujuru’s close allies have been suspended ahead of the congress.

Mugabe is expected to be confirmed as party chief at the congress, but the fight for positions on the powerful politburo could be decisive for the campaign to succeed him.

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