Sikhala, Sithole claim lawyer, doctor turned away by prisons

HARARE – Incarcerated Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole on Wednesday told a Harare magistrate that they were denied access to their lawyer and a doctor by some prison authorities.

The two are currently detained at Chikurubi Maximum Prison following their arrest on violence incitement charges last month.

Through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ Jeremiah Bamu, the lawmakers told presiding magistrate Stanford Mambanje their lawyer was turned away when the legal practitioner had visited them in prison last weekend.

Similarly, Sithole, who fell ill in prison, was also reportedly denied access to a doctor.

“The legal practitioner intended to see the two at Chikurubi Maximum Prison for the purpose of assessing them on the 2nd and 3rd of July and she was denied access,” Bamu told court.

“The reason that was given to her was that the ZPCS has only recorded Mr Harrison Nkomo as the sole legal practitioner of the duo yet on our initial appearance, we indicated that the duo is represented by several legal practitioners.”

Bamu said Sithole fell sick on Saturday but his doctor was also barred from seeing him.

During their previous appearance before the same magistrate, the politicians also complained about being taken into the dock while in leg irons as if they were dangerous criminals.

Bamu urged the court to look into the complaints insisting the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service should be reprimanded over mistreatment on his clients.

Sikhala and Sithole are accused of inciting public violence in Nyatsime area, outside Chitungwiza, to avenge CCC activist Moreblessing Ali’s gruesome murder by what the opposition claims were Zanu PF activists last month.

The politicians, who both represent Chitungwiza constituencies, deny the charges.

Prosecutors also allege that, acting in common purpose, the two lawmakers arranged transport to ferry mourners who allegedly vandalised some Zanu PF officials’ homes in the area.

On Wednesday, the two requested the State to provide – before their next remand date – video footage and details of vehicles allegedly used to ferry opposition supporters on the said day of the crime.

The State had insisted on a longer remand but Sikhala and his colleague demanded to return to court after two weeks as provided for in the law.

The magistrate ordered the State to respond to the request by the two by this Thursday before he makes a determination.

Sikhala and Sithole have been in custody since June 14.

They have been denied bail by deputy chief magistrate, Gibson Mandaza, who ruled that if granted their freedom, they were likely to continue inciting public violence.

The magistrate also ruled that Sikhala was likely to reoffend since it was not the first time he was committing a similar offence.

Their first bail appeal application was struck off the roll last week due to insufficient documents.

The appeal was later set down for this Thursday after the State failed to file its response on Tuesday.

Lancelot Mutsokoti prosecuted.

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