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Sikhala’s detention victimises family


Sikhala’s fresh freedom bid thrown out



EMBATTLED Zengeza West lawmaker Job Sikhala’s latest freedom bid was thrown out by Harare magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa on Wednesday as Zimbabwe’s foremost political prisoner continues to languish behind bars for nine months so far.


Sikhala was applying for discharge at the close of the state case. He is accused of obstructing justice.

The magistrate dismissed the matter on the grounds that Sikhala has a case to answer.

“At this stage of the proceedings, the simple question is whether there is evidence against accused person which requires a reply or answer from him. This was also rightly argued by state. My emphasis is on the words I have emboldened ‘reply or answer from accused’. Court is of the view that indeed, there is evidence before court that calls for an answer or reply from accused,” said Gofa.

She added that the state’s video evidence links Sikhala to the scene of the alleged crime and the authenticity of the video will be validated at the end of trial.

“There is evidence on a balance of probability that links accused to the video in question and the scene. Whether the video is authentic or not, as well as its originality are issues not to be decided at this stage, but rather will be decided at the end of trial,” said Gofa.

Arrested in mid-June 2022, Sikhala was last July charged with contravening section 184 (1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23, that is, defeating or obstructing the course of justice in the case pertaining to the murder of opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) supporter Moreblessing Ali, that was being investigated by police.

The police said Sikhala recorded and uploaded a video to the ZimLive Youtube site intending to mislead invesrigators probing the murder of Ali whose body was discovered in a disused water well.

Sikhala’s argument for discharge was that there is nothing that proves he recorded and posted the video or whether he was directing the message to the police. He had spent three weeks remanded at Chikurubi on a different charge of incitement to violence.

Sikhala had been  arrested on 14 June alongside the CCC’s Chitungwiza North legislator Godfrey Sithole for allegedly inciting violence in the Nyatsime community.
He has spent 278 days in prison and has been denied bail more than five times at both the High Court and the Harare magistrates’ court.

The discharge application is a remedy granted to a person who has been maliciously charged. If the allegations which have been levelled against him are false, the Criminal Code provides for the filing of a discharge application.

Meanwhile, the political solidarity for Sikhala has waned over the past nine months.
At the beginning, the courtroom used to be packed with supporters, but of late only his lawyers, police officers from the Law and Order section and his wife and daughters have pitched up for hia sessions.

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