The European Union (EU) has said it is closely monitoring the recent court rulings in which prominent opposition leaders namely Job Sikhala of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and Jacob Ngarivhume were found guilty of obstruction and inciting public violence, respectively.
Posting on Twitter, EU reminded the judiciary that the constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The EU called on the judiciary to protection these fundamental rights instead of curtailing them by jailing those who exercise their rights.
“The #EU is closely monitoring the recent court rulings in #Zimbabwe convicting opposition politicians. Zimbabwe’s constitution ensures citizens’ rights to freedom of expression & peaceful assembly. The judiciary is expected to protect these fundamental rights,” the EU said.
Sikhala and Ngarivhume were convicted of obstruction and inciting public violence, respectively.
Sikhala was fined US$600 while Ngarivhume was sentenced to 48 months in prison with 12 suspended on condition of good behavior.
Prior to the conviction of Sikhala and Ngarivhume, renowned author Tsitsi Dangarembga and CCC Spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere were also found guilty and given suspended jail sentences on condition that they pay fines amounting to ZWL$70 000 and US$500 respectively.