Incarcerated Sikhala, Sithole takes freedom bid to high court

Source: Incarcerated Sikhala, Sithole takes freedom bid to high court

THE High Court will on Wednesday 29 June 2022 hear an appeal filed by two opposition legislators, who are seeking their release from prison on bail.

In an appeal filed on Monday 27 June 2022, Zengeza West constituency
legislator Hon. Job Sikhala and Chitungwiza North constituency
legislator Hon. Godfrey Sithole, asked the High Court to overturn
Deputy Chief Magistrate Godfrey Mandaza’s decision denying them bail.

On Wednesday 22 June 2022, Deputy Chief Magistrate Mandaza denied bail
to Hon. Sikhala and Hon. Sithole after ruling that the opposition
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) parliamentarians were not suitable
to be released from prison pending commencement of their trial as they
were repeat offenders, had breached previous bail conditions, were
persons of means and had supplied transport to persons who had
perpetrated acts of violence.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Mandaza further stated that the two
legislators were a danger to society hence their release on bail would
undermine or jeopardise the bail system.

But through their lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Alec Muchadehama of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Hon. Sikhala and Hon. Sithole,
argued that Deputy Chief Magistrate Mandaza mistook the facts by
denying them bail on the basis that they were people of means when
this reason does not constitute a compelling ground for the denial of
bail.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Mandaza, Hon. Sikhala and Hon. Sithole argued,
acted on a wrong principle in denying them bail in circumstances where
no fears of absconding trial had been established, it being the
primary purpose of the bail system.

The two opposition party parliamentarians were arrested on 14 June
2022 by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers, who charged them with
incitement to commit public violence as defined in section 187(1)(a)
as read with section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act.

Prosecutors argued that Hon. Sikhala recorded and circulated a video
urging people to commit acts of public violence in seeking revenge for
the death of Moreblessing Ali, who was murdered in Nyatsime area in
Beatrice.

Hon. Sithole and Hon. Sikhala, prosecutors charged, supplied some
vehicles which allegedly ferried some CCC party supporters from
Chitungwiza and Epworth to Nyatsime, where they attacked some ruling
ZANU PF party supporters and also destroyed property at shops and beer
halls and looted groceries and electrical gadgets including burning a
one-roomed house belonging to George Murambatsvina, the ZANU PF party
Councillor for Nyatsime.

The two parliamentarians want the High Court to set aside Deputy Chief
Magistrate Mandaza’s decision denying them bail and to be admitted to
bail on conditions which include paying a bail deposit of ZWL15 000
and to be ordered to report once a fortnight on Fridays at Harare
Central Police Station until their matter is finalised.

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