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Sikhala denied bail a 5th time as ‘abuse of State institutions emerges’

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole have been denied bail for the fifth time, a move that seemingly reinforces the notion that the State is abusing public institutions.

Top human rights lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Jeremiah Bhamu, instructed by the NGO Human Rights Forum and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) had applied for bail on changed circumstances but to no avail.

In denying them bail, Harare Magistrate Taurai Manuwere ruled that there were no changed circumstances and advised the two to wait for trial in the case they are facing ‘frivolous’ charges of inciting public violence.

The two together with 11 others have spent more than 110 days in custody after their arrest at the funeral wake of murdered CCC activist Moreblessing Ali. They were accused of inciting violence to avenge her death.

The opposition CCC accused the regime of abusing the courts.

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“BREAKING: Our MP Hon Job Sikhala has been denied bail for the fifth time in a row. Hon Sikhala together with Hon Godfrey Sithole and the other members of the #Nyatsime17 have been in prison since 14 June 2022.

“The regime is abusing state institutions to persecute our members,” CCC said in a statement on Twitter.

Pro-democracy activist Emmanuel Gumbo said there was a need for political action to push for the release of CCC members.

“Much thanks and great appreciation to the legal team for putting up a spirited fight in pursuit of Justice and freedom. Now, whoever cares to see Job Sikhala and the Nyatsime 16 out from the prison must consider and focus on the political route.”

Already, more than 50 000 people have since signed a petition sent to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to release Sikhala and others unconditionally.