RULING party Zanu-PF says the judicial system in the country is independent of political interference despite widespread accusations of capture by the opposition and civil society organisations after three high-ranking position leaders were convicted in less than one month. With the country heading towards general elections, Zimbabwe has witnessed three high-profile convictions of opposition leaders at the Harare Magistrate courts.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, legislator Job Sikhala and Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) leader Jacob Ngarivhume were recently found guilty by the courts.
Mahere was found guilty of spreading falsehoods after tweeting that a police officer had killed an infant with a baton stick in 2020.
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Sikhala, who has been in pre-trial detention for close to a year, was slapped with a six months suspended sentence and a US$600 fine after being found guilty of obstruction of justice.
Ngarivhume was sentenced to three years behind bars for calling an anti corruption protest in 2020.
These convictions have led to criticism from opposition and civic society organisations towards the government and ruling party Zanu-PF for clamping down on dissenting voices.
In an interview with South African broadcaster, SABC recently, Zanu-PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said.”We do not know why Mr Job Sikhala had to put the cart before the horse to start to politicise what was a clearly apolitical crime scene. He was convicted for that and he is supposed to pay a fine I am sure and the rest is up to the courts, it is not always advised to delve deep into matters of the courts because it is sacrosanct.
“The person who was playing politics is the culprit here and the convicted person is Mr Job Sikhala. It is very clear we are a constitutional Republic. We have a constitution in place which clearly outlines what individuals must do and must not do or otherwise they will be breaking the law,” said Mugwadi.
Sikhala was arrested last year on a plethora of charges after demanding the arrest of people involved in murder of CCC member Moreblsessing Ali in Nyatsime.
Since July, Sikhala ‘s efforts to secure freedom have hit a snag with him denied bail on numerous occasions.
“There is no doubt even from his lawyers that Mr Job Sikhala broke the law by clearly seeking to politicise what was an ordinary crime scene where a young woman was murdered over matters unrelated to politics at all.
“The lesson here is politicians must stick to genuine politics and engage politics from an informed perspective and avoid seeking to make news out of nothing by politicising situations that are otherwise not related to politics,” added Mugwadi.