Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole convicted; found guilty of public violence incitement


HARARE – Following protracted legal proceedings, former Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala and former Chitungwiza North legislator Godfrey Sithole have been convicted of inciting public violence. 

Job Sikhala found guilty of public violence incitement
Godfrey Sithole and Job Sikhala at court on Wednesday. They were found guilty of public violence incitement. [Image: ZimLive]

The former lawmakers, who have endured perennial incarceration for over a year, appeared before a Harare magistrate Tafadzwa Miti on Wednesday 24 January 2024. 

The case has been postponed to Monday the 29th of January 2024 for a pre-sentencing hearing (for mitigation) at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Their lawyers requested to illuminate their side of the story and proffer explanations pertaining any mitigating circumstances on January 29—the legal counsel will explicate circumstances they believe will lead to lenient sentencing. 

Online video footage captured the unity among Job Sikhala's supporters – as they rallied behind him, echoing his nickname 'Wiwa!' and the chant 'toyi toyi', synonymous with militant struggle and protest. 

In anticipation of the verdict for Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, anti-riot police were stationed at the Harare Magistrates Court. 

Jeremiah Bamu, Sikhala's lawyer, reportedly informed Magistrate Tafadzwa Miti that his fellow defense counsel, Harrison Nkomo, was roughly treated by the police despite revealing his professional identity.

Sikhala and Sithole, considered opposition political stalwarts in the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) have been in prison since 14 June 2022. 

They were incarcerated for allegedly inciting public violence that rose during the funeral wake of slain CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.

Ever since their arrest, they have been detained at Chikurubi Maximum Prison without a trial, and their numerous bail applications were tossed over by the courts. 

A few weeks ago, Zimbabwe's government justified Job Sikhala's lengthened detention saying that the law has to take its course, and that cases are looked at both sides. 

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said, "When you go to the courts do not expect the outcome to be on your side ... cases are looked at both sides. 

"If you go to the courts, go and expect a fair judgment; (anything) else, you will be disappointed. Those who are saying this and that about Sikhala, they want the courts to do what they expect and what they want."

Ziyambi said Zimbabwe's courts are independent and impartial, discharging their duties without external interference. 

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