Detained Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, both Members of Parliament (MPs) of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) have approached the High Court seeking their release. In a statement seen by Pindula News, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) say their lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Alec Muchadehama who are representing the duo argued that Deputy Chief Magistrate Mandaza erred in denying bail to their clients. Reads the statement:
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.