Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole who are facing charges of inciting public violence have been denied bail by deputy chief magistrate Gibson Mandaza.
The two legislators are facing charges of inciting party supporters to riot over the callous killing of party activist Moreblessing Ali in Chitungwiza’s Nyatsime area and were arrested on Tuesday last week following violent skirmishes during Ali’s funeral wake.
Magistrate Mandaza was of the view that the duo was a threat to peace and security if granted bail.
Speaking after the ruling, CCC national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the judgement offends the constitution and holds no evidence linking the two to the offence.
“The key reason was that the court took the view that the two were a threat to peace and security and public order if they were to be released. Obviously the main difficult we have as the CCC is that this finding offends the constitution. The Constitution states that every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. There is simply no evidence that connects Honourable Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole to the crimes that took place in Nyatsime,” Mahere said
She said Sikhala and Sithole were being targeted for speaking strongly against the disappearance and subsequent gruesome murder of Ali whose mutilated remains were recovered from a disused well at suspected Zanu PF activist Pius Jamba’s home after she was reportedly abducted on May 24.
“In fact the record shows very clearly that six of our members, six community leaders had their homes burnt so we see that there is no justification whatsoever for them to be held. Even when we went to the prayer service everything was peaceful no violence was incited. In fact President Nelson Chamisa urged everybody to remain calm, not to provoke and he condemned violence.
“What’s most telling is that the State has not brought to account those who murdered Moreblessing Ali you will recall that Honourable Sikhala and Honourable Sithole are being targeted because they spoke out very strongly against the enforced disappearance and murder of Moreblessing Ali and yet we don’t see the regime acting quickly to hold those people to account which puts paid to what we said continuously that her murder was indeed political,” she said
The duo was remanded in custody to July 6 with their lawyers expected to launch an urgent appeal at the High Court.