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Sikhala might spend weekend in detention

Hon. Job Wiwa Sikhala

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CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy national chairman Job Sikhala and fellow legislator Godfrey Sithole spent their third night in detention after court proceedings only ended after 7 pm Thursday.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Godfrey Mandaza postponed the hearing to Friday and CCC officials fear court appearance will again be delayed in order to keep the duo in detention through the weekend.

Sikhala and Sithole face public violence charges after clashes rocked the funeral wake and memorial services for murdered CCC party activist Moreblessing Ali.

Ali’s body was found last Saturday cut into pieces and thrown into a well at the Beatrice home of claimed Zanu PF supporter and murder suspect Pius Jamba.

Jamba has since been arrested and due to appear in court.

Prosecutors allege that Sikhala, who is also the Ali family lawyer, urged Zimbabweans  to avenge the Ali’s murder in a video which went viral on social media.

For his part, Sithole, the CCC member of Parliament for Chitungwiza North, is charged with participating in inciting violence and arranging lorries which ferried party activists who attacked the homes of Zanu PF supporters.

Godfrey Sithole and Job Sikhala at the Harare courts Thursday

Both denied the charges through defence lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Alec Muchadehama who said the charges against their clients were fabricated. Bamu asked the State to make available the video Sikhala allegedly posted inciting violence because “he wants to demonstrate that Sikhala is not the one who posted the video and that he did not utter any statements inciting violence at all.”

“We want to prove that the accused did not supply those lorries,” said Bamu.

“What the accused intend to present before the court is that these are merely fabricated stories with no basis at all  as such they cannot be placed on remand.”

After being brought to court movie style with speeding vehicles and heavy police presence, Sikhala complained about the manner of his arrest.

He said the police pounced on him before he could get dressed Tuesday night.

“Over 100 police officers circled his house,” said Bamu.

“Even as he went out to engage with them upon realising they were police officers, they still attempted to force their way into his premises.

“At least 30 police officers armed with baton sticks forcefully entered his premises.

“He told them that he would want to get dressed and come out but before he even dress up the police had already broken down the door to his door and in his house.

“This is not consistent with the law  which provides that once an accused agrees and intends to open the door the police should not break their doors.”

The defence lawyers also said their clients were denied access to legal practitioners and food among other issues.

The court was also told that they were not given an opportunity to go through the vetting process when they arrived at court.

Michael Reza, Chris Mutangadura and Lovemore Masuku appeared for the State.

They have since indicated that they will oppose granting of bail.

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