Sikhala in 11th failed bail bid, court tells MP to focus on trial

HARARE – Harare magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa Friday dismissed Job Sikhala’s 11th bail attempt, ruling the jailed opposition lawmaker should now focus his attention on clearing his name in the courts with trial set to take off Tuesday.

Sikhala has spent six months under pre-trial detention at Chikurubi Maximum Prison following his arrest for alleged incitement of public violence in Nyatsime area to avenge Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali’s killing May this year by suspects linked to Zanu PF.

Sikhala, now commonly referred to by the opposition as a political prisoner, has endured an agonising 10 failed attempts to secure his freedom through bail with the latest being the 11th one.

The courts have concurred with prosecutors’ argument the fiery politician had propensity to commit similar offences and should, thus, be denied his freedom until he is cleared of any wrong doing during trial.

The troubled lawmaker however contends not in any of the offences he has been accused of committing has he ever been convicted, adding this was confirmation of his innocence.

Judgement on his fourth appeal was reserved indefinitely.

His lawyer Jeremiah Bamu applied for bail on Thursday after his much awaited trial was postponed at the State’s instance.

Prosecutors asked for more time to put their house in order and was given until January 3, 2023 by the magistrate.

Sikhala complained that further remand was prejudicial to him as he has already spent half a year in jail.

Gofa said he should be patient.

“The State has asked for three days remand which is understandable. The court is of the view that no prejudice will be suffered by the accused if he waits for three days only especially considering the trial will start on the next remand,” she ruled.

Sikhala’s trial is expected to run on a continuous roll.

The Zengeza West Member of Parliament has two other criminal cases pending at the courts.

The other charge is based on the same circumstances and he is jointly charged with Godfrey Sithole fellow CCC legislator who is out on bail.

He is also accused of inciting public violence in 2020 ahead of foiled 31st Movement demonstration.

Trial is ongoing.

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