Haruzivishe takes Sikhala’s case to British Parliament
EXILED opposition activist Makomborero Haruzivishe took the matter of Job Sikhala’s prolonged political imprisonment to the British Parliament on 19 April 2023, hoping to increase international awareness over the case.
Haruzivishe joined hands with Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom, who did a two-day vigil against corruption and politically motivated imprisonments, and on the second day he presented his case to British parliamentarians, hoping they can help secure the freedom of the jailed lawmaker.
“My message to the Parliament was you need to make it unequivocally clear that Job Sikhala must be freed because it happened before in such political cases in 2018 when Tendai Biti was arrested and the British government made its position clear, the international community made its position clear that he should be freed, Emmerson Mnangagwa tweeted that he personally oversaw the release of Tendai Biti and Biti was freed from jail and given his passport back and this is one of the other pleas we had to the British Parliament,” he said.
Sikhala has been in jail since 14 June 2022 for allegedly inciting public violence in Nyatsime through an interview that he allegedly did on ZimLive Youtube.
He has applied for bail more than 10 times at both the magistrates’ court and the High Court.
His applications have been repeatedly dismissed, with the state claiming it is ready to put the matter on trial, but this is yet to happen.
On Wednesday, Sikhala was charged with disorderly conduct, bringing the total number of charges to five.
Two charges pertain to alleged incitement to violence, one is on obstruction of justice, one on communicating falsehoods and another is on disorderly conduct.
Sikhala is not the only opposition leader who is before the courts answering to politically motivated charges and Haruzivishe says he urged the British Parliament to put pressure towards the release of every political prisoner.
“On Job Sikhala, it was to also highlight to parliamentarians how a fellow parliamentarian just like them is suffering simply because of his political beliefs and ideals. I sent the message that he is not a criminal but he is just a political prisoner who is being held illegally in prison. The judicial system has been weaponised against him and the opposition CCC by the ruling party. We have seen how the likes of Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were abused and are being abused and I am just naming them amongst a plethora of other opposition leaders,” he added.
In his address to the British Parliament, Haruzivishe also spoke about corruption in light of Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia exposé. He called for the arrest of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Ambassador-at Large to Europe and the Americas, Uebert Angel, who was implicated in the four-part investigative report.
“I participated in it now with fellow Zimbabweans because we have to take a stand and speak out clearly because now we have seen all the four episodes of the Gold Mafia which detailed how gold and mineral resources and also forex are smuggled out of Zimbabwe at industrial scale through government officials,” he said.
Angel is caught on video asking for bribes from undercover journalists posing as bogus tycoons with dirty money that needed to be cleaned. He is in the company of another British citizen Ricky Doolan, who is also caught on tape boasting of his proximity to President Mnangagwa and how he would make it easy for the “investors” to fly gold in and out of Zimbabwe.
Haruzivishe says the men caught on the Al Jazeera documentary are British citizens who have caused suffering to Zimbabweans, hence the government should take action.
“We had to take the Gold Mafia message there because the kingpin of the international money laundering which borders on the international financial terrorism is a British citizen, Ricky Doolan is also a British citizen and the British government must make sure it investigates its citizens who are committing crimes in other countries because the activities of this British citizen tarnish the credibility of financial institutions leading to more economic suffering for the ordinary Zimbabweans and so the best way to deal with it is to ensure that those who can be brought to book are brought to book,” he said. He adds that Angel has violated British law and should be held to account. “Under British law, Uebert Angel has bro ken laws and he can be brought to book. He is the closest that can practically be brought to book closest to Emmerson Mnangagwa,” added Haruzivishe.