HARARE – Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) lawmaker Job Sikhala looks set to spend Christmas behind bars after High Court judge Samuel Deme Wednesday indefinitely reserved ruling on the troubled politician’s latest bail appeal.
The Zengeza West MP Wednesday clocked 190 days in jail following his arrest June 14 this year charged with inciting the violence that rocked Nyatsime area during slain party activist Moreblessing Ali’s tense funeral wake.
His latest bid for elusive freedom follows dismissal of his application by Harare magistrate Tafadzwa Miti who branded the brave politician an “incorrigible unrepentant criminal”.
This was however despite that Sikhala has no single conviction in all his previous 63 arrests since he joined mainstream politics at the turn of the century.
He was arrested together with party colleague Godfrey Sithole, also an MP, and 14 party activists who have since been granted their freedoms on bail.
In his appeal, Sikhala insisted the state had no case against him.
Through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Sikhala argued the lower court erred in treating him as a convict and denying him bail when there were clear circumstances warranting his release now.
Mpofu argued that bail is a constitutional right.
“How does the state keep a person for six months without trial? That is pre-trial incarceration and unlawful. He excepted because the charge relied on does not constitute an offence.
“There are four witnesses. Three officers were not there when the offence was allegedly committed so they cannot testify that he made the alleged utterances.
“The civilian witness says he saw his car; not that he saw him inciting violence. So, there is no evidence against the appellant before the courts.
“The State has absolutely nothing against the appellant and above all, lapse of time alone illuminates all these points of appeal,” said Mpofu.
Mpofu also said the situation in Nyatsime was now calm but magistrate Miti erred by using that against his client.
“Six months later, the situation is calm but the court aquo used that against him. How does the lower court support the State’s arguments that the situation was calm because the appellant is in jail,” he said.
Speaking to the media following proceedings, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said Sikhala was being persecuted.
“Honourable Job Sikhala is innocent. He is behind bars for the work that he did as a lawyer representing Moreblessing Ali. To date, we have not heard any sort of accountability in respect to the murders of Moreblessing Ali yet we have Honourable Job Sikhala who is being detained,” said Mahere.
Sikhala faces an extra charge of defeating the course of justice and trial is expected to run on a continuous roll from 29 December to January 3 next year.