Jailed Sikhala in fresh bid for elusive freedom

HARARE – Jailed opposition legislator Job Sikhala has launched another bid for bail through the Harare magistrates’ court in a matter in which he stands accused of defeating the course of justice.

The embattled lawmaker is accused of circulating a video which prosecutors claim was aimed at disturbing investigations into the callous murder of Citizens Coalition for Change activist Moreblessing Ali by alleged Zanu PF linked suspects in Nyatsime May this year.

The lawmaker and Harare lawyer was denied bail by a Harare magistrate recently before his appeal was also tossed by the High Court.

On Monday, he approached the lower court again seeking bail on changed circumstances.

He has been languishing in remand prison since June 14 this year following his arrest on allegations of inciting public violence.

Both offences emanate from the same video image.

Through his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, Sikhala told magistrate Stanford Mambanje that it has been long since his arrest without any progress regarding his prosecution.

“As you are aware that according to law, passage of time itself is a basis for applying for bail.

“There is no likelihood that the accused will interfere with investigations,” argued Mtetwa.

Mtetwa said Sikhala has never breached his bail conditions before and should, accordingly be granted the relief he was seeking.

“The State failed to place any evidence of the bail violations before the court.”

Prosecutors argued that there were no changed circumstances that could warrant the court to reverse its earlier decision to deny the fiery politician his freedom.

“The changed circumstances advanced by the accused persons do not warrant the court to revisit the refusal of bail.

“Nothing has been placed before the court the same reason his appeal was dismissed by the High Court,” said prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti.

Sikhala was arrested together with fellow lawmaker Godfrey Sithole who is also languishing in prison at Chikurubi.

To date, the State has failed to show the courts the video allegedly forming the basis of their prosecution.

The main reason for bail denial has been that the two are likely to reoffend.

The state is leaning on claims Sikhala has been arrested over 67 times in the past two decades and had propensity to commit similar crimes.

But the firebrand lawmaker denies this is strong enough a basis to deny him his freedom as he has no single conviction in all the arrests.

Sikhala claims Zanu PF was behind his legal nightmares.

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