By Lenah Matenderupi Nhewa
Soldiers in military fatigue marched in Masvingo’s Central Business District and did the “toyi toyi” outside Masvingo High Court on Monday ahead of the commencement of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Vice National Chairman Job ‘Wiwa’ Sikhala’s treason trial.
MDC Secretary General, Hon Charlton Hwende confirmed the soldier’s march on his Twitter handle.
Commenting on the march by soldiers an MDC member who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “soldiers just want to intimidate MDC supporters attending Sikhala’s treason case.”
The former student leader and outspoken MP for Zengeza West in Chitungwiza, who is facing subversion charges, appeared before Justice Garainesu Mawadze.
He is alleged to have threatened to unseat President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration before the 2023 election. Sikhala is alleged to have uttered the “treasonous statements” while addressing party supporters at a rally in Bikita last year.
Tawanda Zvekare is leading the prosecution in the matter in which up to seven witnesses are expected to testify.
The highly-publicized trial, which has attracted huge attendances, is expected to run from the third to the seventh of this month. MDC Vice President, Tendai Biti and MDC National Organising Secretary , Amos Chibaya attended the case.
Sikhala, who arrived at court amid jubilation from his followers, has since replaced his lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu with top lawyer Advocate Beatrice Mtetwa. According to information reaching Nehanda Radio, Advocate Mtetwa has had to prepare a new defense outline.
While the soldiers were marching, they were bolstered by police clad in anti-riot gear who were strategically placed. A police truck packed with anti-riot personnel and an Israeli-made anti-riot tanker were deployed outside the Masvingo High Court.
Advocate Mtetwa led the defence with an application for an exception to the charge arguing that the charges as currently couched do not disclose an offence. Mtetwa argues that all politicians aim to defeat their opponents and that Sikhala intends to defeat Mnangagwa in government.
Meanwhile the Masvingo High Court postponed the treason trial to 14 February 2020 to allow the court to make a judgement on the defence’s application for an exception. Nehanda Radio