Sikhala demo: UZ students trial date set 

Source: Sikhala demo: UZ students trial date set –Newsday Zimbabwe

FOUR University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students are set to appear in court on November 16 for trial commencement on charges of staging an illegal demonstration calling for the release of incarcerated opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) politician, Job Sikhala.

Benjamin Watadza, Emmanuel Chitima, Comfort Mpofu and Lionel Madamombe are being charged with criminal nuisance.

They are being represented by Jeremiah Bhamu from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

In May this year, over 30 youths took part in the protest holding placards, some inscribed “#FreeWiwa, #FreeJacob and #BlackMonday.”

The youths were singing and denouncing the Zanu PF government which they accused of persecuting Sikhala.

They are also accused of painting graffiti outside the walls of the High Court of Zimbabwe, the old Parliament building, the Methodist Trinity Church and the Constitutional Court.

The students also took to social media under the hashtag #BlackMonday “to mourn the death of democracy and rule of law in the country”.

Sikhala has been in pre-trial detention since June last year on charges of obstructing the course of justice, inciting violence and disorderly behaviour.

Opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume was jailed for four years for inciting public violence in what critics say is a wider clampdown against governemnt critics.

He will, however, spend three years in prison.

Another opposition member, former CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, escaped with a US$500 fine in April after she posted a picture alleging that a police officer had fatally assaulted a baby strapped on its mother’s back.

A number of opposition members and human rights activists also face