By Desmond Chingarande
A Harare magistrate yesterday heard that opposition MDC Alliance vice-chair Job Sikhala was not a suitable candidate for bail as he had evaded police for over six weeks before he was eventually found hiding in the ceiling of a Tynwald, Harare house, which served as his hideout.
Lead investigator Collen Makore told the court that they stormed the house last Friday armed with three AK47 assault rifles and a pistol after receiving reports that the opposition leader and his accomplices had machetes and were manufacturing petrol bombs at the property.
“While inside, we searched and found nothing and as we were going out we saw footprints on the wall and a panel removed from the ceiling,” Makore said.
“We then asked who it was, threatening to throw a smoke canister and the person said he was coming down. We realised that it was Sikhala and we greeted each other.”
The State argued that it would be risky to release Sikhala on bail given that background.
“The police even made a Press statement looking for him and went on ZBC-TV looking for him but he did not go.
“Sikhala even made a video saying he knew the police were looking for him and that he was not going there,” prosecutor Garudzo Ziyadhuma said.
“Their party legal secretary said they were not going to co-operate with the police. Sikhala is a lawyer and should know how to act under the circumstances. It shows that he is unwilling to stand trial.”
The State further said Sikhala had pending cases at St Mary’s Police Station and that there was overwhelming evidence in the form of videos and audios to support the allegations that the opposition leader was involved in mobilising for the foiled July 31 anti-corruption protests. He said all these factors could induce him to flee the country if granted bail.
Sikhala is being held at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison under stringent conditions.The bail hearing continues today before magistrate Lazini Ncube. Sikhala is being represented by lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu. News Day