Petition over continued detention of Job Sikhala & Godfrey Sithole and 14 others

Source: Petition over continued detention of Job Sikhala & Godfrey Sithole and 14 others

PETITION

The Secretary to the President and Cabinet
Attention: Dr Misheck Sibanda
HARARE

9 September 2022

Dear Dr Sibanda

Re: ARREST AND DETENTION OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT JOB SIKHALA AND GODFREY SITHOLE, AND 14 RESIDENTS OF NYATSIME, CHITUNGWIZA

Please receive, for the attention of H.E. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the attached Petition from 116 petitioners who include our team of eight, the other 93 of Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora, and 15 supporters from across the globe.

We are hopeful that the Petition will receive the requisite acknowledgement and attention it deserves.

Ibbo Mandaza (Professor)
On behalf of the Team and fellow Petitioners

 

SUBMITTED TO:
His Excellency
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
HE. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa
Munhumutapa Building
HARARE

9 September 2022

ARREST AND DETENTION OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT JOB SIKHALA AND GODFREY SITHOLE, AND 14 RESIDENTS OF NYATSIME, CHITUNGWIZA

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned, are citizens and persons who care about Zimbabwe.
We petition Your Excellency to bring to your consideration, a most unusual situation obtaining in the arrest and detention of MPs Honourable Job Sikhala and Honourable Godfrey Sithole, and 14 residents of Nyatsime, Chitungwiza following the violence of 14 June 2022 in Nyatsime. Our duty to Zimbabwe constrains us from maintaining silence.

The multiple denials of bail these two have endured, multiple times in the Magistrates Court and multiple times in the High Court, makes for an unusual and unprecedented situation. We cannot think of any prosecution in recent times where one has been denied bail for such numerous times, for offences of inciting public violence and obstruction of justice, which Honourable Sikhala is charged with, and inciting public violence, which Honourable Godfrey Sithole is charged with. MPs Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole have now spent 85 days in pre-trial incarceration at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

When this is juxtaposed to the timely and little-resisted granting of bail to high profile politically exposed persons accused of serious corruption, and they being flight risks, questions about the equal treatment of persons before the courts arise. There appear to be targeted differential treatment of those arrested and detained for charges emanating from political circumstances.
During their incarceration, Honourable Sikhala and Honourable Sithole have been subjected to leg irons; their lawyers have in some instances been denied access – in once instance prompting a court application; and other concerned individuals have been prevented from visiting them. Honourable Sikhala’s health has deteriorated.

While we all noted the political violence that occurred in Nyastime, it is curious that arrest and detention was targeted at members and perceived supporters of the political opposition. No one associated with any other formation was arrested. Among the 14 residents currently in detention are victims of arson who were arrested upon presenting themselves to a police station to report the arson.

In the case of Honourable Sikhala, he has been arrested over 60 times, and has never been convicted. He has no record of escaping justice. To then deny him bail on the basis that he has the propensity to offend the law, is curious. This is in spite of the Constitution providing for bail as a right only to be denied in exceptional circumstances.

When the actors in the justice system appear to act in ways wholly contrary to their sworn duty and oath to uphold and implement the law without fear or favour, inferences of external hands in work of the judiciary are bound to arise.

The offences that Honourable Sikhala, Honourable Sithole and the 14 residents of Nyastime are facing, have not had this kind of treatment visited upon anyone charged of them in recent times. This treatment, we are aware, was commonplace during the times of the liberation struggle. In those days, such kind of arrests and detentions were known to be political, and many including those currently in public office, suffered those and are well aware of their evils. An observer witnessing these developments cannot help but draw parallels. Our belief is that law must maintain its supremacy and moral high ground above politics.

The injustice is too visible to ignore, and we would be unfaithful in our devotion to the country if we remain silent.
The law must have moral content, and its enforcement must have humanity. The Constitution of Zimbabwe is moral in both substance and process. The enforcement thereof is robbing the law and legal process that gives it authority, respect, recognition and supremacy. Judicial authority itself derives from the people, per section 162 of the Constitution.

Your High Office is charged with the sacrosanct duty per section 90 of the Constitution to ensure that the Constitution and all other laws are faithfully observed, in particular, to ensure protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law. Of the many rights, liberty and human freedom is a cornerstone right, a right that many Zimbabweans so reverently and fervently fought for.

The unusual trajectory that these cases have taken cannot be ignored. These cases, in our view, warrant an inquiry into how the justice system has come to this. The consequences of ignoring this will be too dire for Zimbabwe’s young democracy to bear.

The criminal justice system was never created as a platform to silence or punish political dissent or holding of divergent views. When that happens, as is happening to Honourable Sikhala, Honourable Sithole and the 14 residents of Nyatsime, it erodes the value and essence of the criminal justice system and diminishes public confidence and trust in the justice system. That should not be allowed to happen. Where the criminal justice system is weaponized against dissent, there are no victors. The justice system, the accused and the generality of Zimbabweans derive no benefit from this. Should there be cause, by all means the law must take its course. But doing so without cause erodes confidence in the justice system.
We expect a resolution to this abuse of law and process.

Signed:
Ibbo Mandaza
Tony Reeler
Simba Makoni
Tsitsi Dangarembga
Philian Zamchiya
Musa Kika
Briggs Bomba
Frances Lovemore

Elinor Sisulu Nancy Mini
Maud Blair Shingirai Mushawedu
Zandile Hodgson Marcia Cannon
Richard Goss Teresa Beyns
Brian Raflopoulos Mavis Jackson Antoine
Max Jamela Leslie Chironga
Tapiwa Maswela Rene Mushayahama
Gamu Murerwa Maureen Kademaunga
Auxilia Kwirirai Jameson Timba
Nivard Vaz Gorden Moyo
Yemi Katerere Themba Dhlodhlo
Chitauro Shambamuto Charles Ngwerume
Mutumwa Mawere Nick Chouhan
Shonhe Toendepi Kenneth Mufuka
William Nyemba Jethro Mpofu
Gerrard Marshall S.B. Masola
Pfepferere Mudambo Themba Ndebele
Mbita Chitala Rejoice Ngwenya
Hopewell Chingono David J Mpofu
Neo Simutanyi Mandivavarira Taruvinga
Reward Mushayabasa Chofamba Sithole
Petronella Munhenzva Naran Kala
Yvonne Maponga Grace Dembetembe
Marcyline Mubika Cannon Priscilla Ann D’Almeida
Anastacia Lynne Mudonhi Caleb Dengu
Namatai Kwekweza Lysias Sibanda
Arthur Mutambara Brian Raftoupoulos
Brian Kagoro Strive Masiyiwa
Trevor Ncube Geoff Nyarota
Ken Mufuka Dudu Manhenga
Hope Masike Rejoice Ngwenya
Pedzisai Ruhanya Martin Rupiya
Dan Ngwenya Eldred Masunungure
Alexander Rusero Simba Chikanza
Tendai Mbofana Daves Guzha
Kubi Chaza-Indi Henry Olonga
Wongai Zamchiya Mudiwa Mundawarara
Tendayi Mundawarara Batsirai Jambwa
William Nyemba Solomon Guramatunhu
Dzingai Mutumbuka Dominic Benhura
Brian Makwarara Bruce Grobbelaar
Nick Price Peter Ndoro
Margaret Dongo Judith Todd
Chipo Chung Chirikure Chirikure
Tatenda Taibu Thomas Mapfumo
Byron Black Justice Ebrahim
Simblisios Chihambakwe Hasu Patel
Ruth Ndoro-Slade

Sophie Mokoena (SA) Sam Shakong (SA)
Ross Harvey (SA) Raymond Suttner (SA)
Adebayo Olukoshi (Nigeria) Onalena Selolwan (Botswana)
Global Governance Africa: Chris Maroleng (SA) Napoleon Abdulai (Global Pan African Movement)
Ahmed Rajab (Global Pan African Movement) Brooks Marmon (USA)
Patricia Rodney (Walter Rodney Foundation) Cheryl Grills (Global Pan African Movement)
Helge Rønning (Norway) Todd Moss (USA)
Owen Sichone (Zambia)

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar
    Remedio Fernandes 3 months ago

    A profound and well-considred petition which, if ignored, will simply give credence to the sinsiter reasons for the arrests and continued incarcerations to the shame of the government and judiciary

  • comment-avatar
    Lorna Lueker Zukas 3 months ago

    Absolutely agree with this petition.