Sikhala’s international lawyer slams Zanu PF the ‘new black colonialists’
Robert Amsterdam, the prominent Canadian lawyer now representing incarcerated Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim vice chairman Job Sikhala has slammed the Zanu-PF regime for harassing and persecuting opposition officials adding that the ruling party “are new colonialists in Zimbabwe who are black and African”.
Amsterdam & Partners LLP, his international law firm has volunteered to provide legal assistance to Sikhala in the case he is facing charges of inciting public violence and obstructing the course of justice.
Last week Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi was quoted by the Daily News newspaper declaring that the government would not grant exemption certificates to the lawyers from the United Kingdom and the United States of America, to allow them to represent Sikhala and his colleagues.
“Our law does not allow that. We only allow those who do reciprocal arrangements with us. For those that do not allow our people to go and practice in their countries, we also don’t accept them to come here.
“We will, therefore, not accept them to come here and represent their so-called client (Sikhala). I am not going to give them the exemption certificates. They must just stop their wishful thinking.
“Here in Zimbabwe we have experienced and respectful lawyers who can represent Sikhala.
“We will not allow scenarios where some people think that they are more superior to our lawyers. I will never think of giving them an exemption certificate,” Ziyambi added.
Amsterdam has dismissed the sentiments by Ziyambi, saying their quest had “everything to do with violence and criminality of the Zanu-PF and those members of the police, prosecutors and judiciary that no longer own allegiance to the rule of law”.
He stated that Amsterdam & Partners LLP was not going to replace Sikhala’s local lawyers.
“I have just read the Honourable Minister’s statement and firstly I believe that any number of Zimbabwean Lawyers are certainly better than myself.
“Our firm’s retention had nothing to do with the quality of local counsel but everything to do with violence and criminality of the Zanu Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) and those members of the police, prosecutors and judiciary that no longer own allegiance to the rule of law.
“It is not that we seek to replace the local lawyers but rather the machinery of justice that is irretrievably broken by the Zanu Patriotic Front and their government that has been hallowed by all its actions to date,” he said.
“They are new colonialists in Zimbabwe who are black and African. They have made their people subjects without rights, whom they govern without any responsibility for their welfare. The soil of Zimbabwe is covered with the blood of heroes who have stood up to condemn the actions of these black colonisers.
“These new colonisers hide behind the colour of their skin to treat their brothers and sisters with an arrogance and venal contempt on par with the most venal examples of white colonisers.
“As Amsterdam & Partners LLP, we engage with international forums so that we may shed light on the travesties of justice and merciless violence perpetrated by the ‘Patriotic Front’ targeting men and women such as Itai Dzamara, Tonderai Ndira, Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika, Mboneni Ncube, Moreblessing Ali and many others. The fact is that the impunity that the minister seeks through disallowing foreign lawyers will NOT be gained by his petulant conduct.”
Sikhala, a Zengeza West legislator was arrested in June together with CCC MP Godfrey Sithole and 11 party activists for allegedly inciting public violence at the funeral wake of murdered party official Moreblessing Ali.
The two legislators were denied bail by both the Magistrate’s and High Court. Sikhala was slapped with another charge of obstructing the course of justice.
He was denied bail on that particular case by the High Court with the presiding judge failing to provide reasons.