By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Terrence Manjengwa who was arrested in August after conducting a protest demanding the release of MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala, has spent 57 days in jail without trial, breaking a 20 year pre-trial record excluding Gukurahundi prisoners during the 1980s.
Manjengwa staged a protest together with other MDC Alliance activists at the Harare Regional Magistrates Court demanding the release of Sikhala, who had been arrested and charged with inciting violence in connection with 31st July demonstrations against corruption.
He is currently detained at Harare Remand Prison after being charged with criminal nuisance. He was denied bail by the magistrates court and is waiting for bail ruling at the High Court.
Lawyer Doug Coltart expressed worry over the longest detention without trial.
“Terrence Manjengwa has been in prison for 57 days (since 24 August 2020) making him the longest-incarcerated pre-trial political prisoner in the past twenty years, exceeded only be the political prisoners of the #Gukurahundi era (Malunga, Masuku et al). #FreeTerrenceManjengwa,” Coltart said.
Sikhala has since castigated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for incarcerating Manjengwa, more than 50 days without trial.
“They arrested him (Manjengwa) for a charge of criminal nuisance. Since then, he has spent 50 days in remand prison with courts refusing to grant him bail on the grounds he shamed the State.
“So stupid are grounds for refusing him bail that people tend to question themselves whether Zimbabwe still has any judiciary to talk about. Does anyone need to shame a regime which is a shame for itself.
“I am taking care of the family’s household needs, rentals and food. I am also sending the young man food to prison and have been always checking on his welfare,” Zengeza West legislator said.
The 31st July protests were convened by opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume who spent 45 days at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison together with journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. They were also charged with “inciting violence’. Nehanda Radio