Job Sikhala, a legislator from the INCARCERATED Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), may spend Christmas in jail after a High Court judge indefinitely reserved judgment on his latest bail appeal.
This is Sikhala’s fourth attempt to secure bail at the High Court, after being detained for 190 days.
The MP for Zengeza West was arrested in July along with 15 other opposition supporters, including fellow lawmaker Godfrey Sithole, on charges of inciting public violence.
The allegations stemmed from events that occurred following the murder of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime. Despite several attempts, Sikhala has been unable to secure bail and the Harare Magistrates Court has denied his request 10 times.
The other 15 opposition members have all been granted bail at separate hearings. In his latest application, Sikhala’s lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, argued that the Magistrates Court made a mistake in not granting bail to the politician, as there has been no trial yet and there is no basis for keeping him in jail.
Mpofu also argued that the Magistrates Court’s claim that Sikhala has a tendency to commit violence is unfounded, as he has never been convicted in his 63 arrests.
Mpofu further argued that the Magistrates Court’s assertion that Sikhala had violated previous bail conditions in another matter should not be considered, as he had not actually broken any conditions.
He stated that the video and statements made by Sikhala do not constitute incitement of violence and that spiritism does not amount to public violence.
After the court hearing, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the continued denial of bail to Sikhala is a violation of the constitution.
Mahere stated that Sikhala is innocent and is being detained for the work he did as a lawyer representing Ali. To date, there has been no accountability for Ali’s murder, but Sikhala remains in detention.