Court to rule on Sikhala today

Source: Court to rule on Sikhala today | The Herald February 14, 2020

Court to rule on Sikhala today
Job Sikhala

George Maponga Masvingo Bureau

Masvingo senior High Court Judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze is today expected to deliver his ruling on an application for exception to the charge of subversion made by MDC-Alliance national vice chair Job Sikhala.

Sikhala, who is also Zengeza West legislator, is facing charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected Government, after he allegedly told his party’s rally in Bikita East last year that he would overthrow President Mnangagwa’s administration before the next elections due in 2023.

He is out of custody on $5 000 bail coupled with stringent conditions.

Sikhala applied for exception on February 3 through his defence team led by Ms Beatrice Mtetwa.

Justice Mawadze postponed the matter to today to allow him ample time to assess the heads of argument by both the defence and prosecution led by senior law officer Mr Tawanda Zvekare.

In his application for exception, Sikhala, who denied the subversion charge when his trial kicked off, through his lawyer is arguing that the utterances he made at the political rally at Mandadzaka Business Centre, did not constitute a crime.

Mr Zvekare told the court that Sikhala was indeed serious about his utterances as he emphasised that there was going to be a war against the incumbent.

“According to Section 89 of the Constitution, President Mnangagwa is Head of State and Government and Commander-In-Chief of the Defence Forces, and that is inseparable,” he said.

“My Lord, the point I want to drive home is that you cannot separate him (President Mnangagwa) from Government as the defence counsel wants the court to believe.

“The accused indeed was directing his utterances to President Mnangagwa and his Government. It will be naive, therefore, for the defence counsel to suggest that the President and Government are two separate things.”

Ms Mtetwa had argued that Sikhala’s utterances were directed to President Mnangagwa as an individual and not necessarily the Government he represents.

“My client indeed made the said utterances, but they were directed to President Mnangagwa and not his Government,” she said. “President Mnangagwa is separable from his Government as provided for in the Constitution.

“The accused, as a Member of Parliament has the privilege of passing a vote of no confidence on the President and his utterances were reflective of such privileges in Parliament not by any means to be implemented violently.”

Ms Mtetwa argued that what Sikhala said was not criminal since common cause was that the language of politicians was loaded with words which did not normally constitute a crime.