Zimbabwean police arrested the spokesman for the main association of veterans of the southern African nation’s independence war after the group criticized President Robert Mugabe last week and said its members wouldn’t support him in elections in 2018.
The arrest of Douglas Mahiya late Wednesday was made after Mugabe, 92, vowed to punish “severely” those who published a statement by the war veterans that described him as “a leader who has presided over untold suffering of the general population for his own personal aggrandizement.”
Mahiya is being held “for questioning over the statement delivered by the war veterans executive,” police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said Thursday by phone from Harare, the capital.
Opposition to the government has swelled as the nation faces an unprecedented liquidity crisis that’s led to civil servants, including the military, receiving salaries late and some private-sector workers getting goods instead of their wages. That sparked a national strike on July 6 that shut down much of Zimbabwe. The country was also hit by riots as taxi operators protested against what they said was police harassment.