HARARE – Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala’s freedom bid has failed once again after Harare magistrate Marwanazvo Gofa ruled Thursday the jailed opposition politician has a case to answer and should, accordingly, be put to his defence.
Sikhala is being accused of defeating the course of justice.
Prosecutors allege the veteran legislator interfered with investigations while police were investigating the killing in May last year of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime.
Sikhala, who was the lawyer designated to handle Ali’s abduction at the time, denies the allegations.
Delivering her ruling, Marwanazvo said the politician’s lawyers diverted from the requirements of applying for discharge when they claimed that state witnesses in the matter were not reliable.
“The court is of the view that circumstances call for an answer from the accused person,” the magistrate ruled.
She said the court will also rule on the authenticity of a video that forms the basis of the Sikhala’s alleged offence.
“The defence knows there is need for an answer from the accused person,” ruled the magistrate.
“This cannot be swept under the pillow…it cannot be said that the State’s evidence at this stage is unreliable. Accordingly, courts find there is a prima face case against the accused person. Application for discharge is, be and hereby dismissed.”
Sikhala’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo requested for a written judgement stating that it is crucial for his client’s defence case, hinting at a possible appeal.
Sikhala has been in jail since his arrest on June 14 last year.
He has made many attempts to secure his freedom but they have all been dismissed for one reason or another by the courts.
The lawmaker is also accused of inciting public violence and facts are based on the same utterances allegedly captured in a video, where he accused Zanu PF agents of abducting Ali.
The matter is still pending.