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Sikhala case: ‘not easy for lawyers to witness judiciary being undermined’

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Treasurer General David Coltart has said its not easy for human rights lawyers to watch the “judiciary being undermined before one’s very eyes” to make sure his incarcerated party colleagues Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and the 14 members of Nyatsime community do not get freedom.

Sikhala and his co-accused members of CCC have clocked more than 105 days of pre-trial detention after their arrest on June 14 over allegations of inciting public violence.

Their bid to be released on bail has seemingly failed after the courts denied their appeals for more than four times.

This, however, has further plunged the image of the Zanu-PF regime in mess with critics citing human rights abuses and suppression of dissent under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Coltart, who is also a legal practitioner by profession, argues that the ‘judiciary had been captured’ and it was not easy for lawyers to witness that.

“It is hard for non lawyers to understand how distressing it is for lawyers to witness the judiciary being undermined before one’s very eyes.

“The closest analogy perhaps is of surgeons who have to operate in unhygienic theatres – no matter how great their skill patients will die,” Coltart tweeted while tagging the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

“That is what is being experienced in Zimbabwe today. Our laws, stare decisis and good advocacy are often disregarded. The Judiciary is increasingly subjected to political imperatives which determine the process and outcome of judicial proceedings.”

Addressing heads of states at the United Nations General Assembly last week, Mnangagwa claimed his government was promoting democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe.

“As my government continues to entrench democracy, good governance and the rule of law, we are committed to vibrant, competitive and peaceful political contestations,” he said.

Few days ago, Jeremiah Bhamu and Beatrice Mtetwa, Sikhala’s lawyers told magistrate Taurai Manuwere that it was clear their clients were never going to get a favourable ruling.

“The history of the matter against the accused persons revealed that no matter what application was made, the court dismissed it.

“It is pointless to continue knocking on the doors when it is clear the doors will never be opened to them and in the circumstances, we are left with no solution, but to simply follow the court because there is no justice that will be served through these courts,” Bhamu said.

“All avenues have been closed to achieve justice. We, therefore, return to court on the appointed date not because we will get justice, but simply because the law requires us to come to court.

“We are asking the State and court to restore a sense of justice and begin to apply justice regardless of the accused person’s offence,” Bhamu said

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