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Magistrate denies Sikhala bail, labels him ‘incorrigible and unrepentant’

Harare magistrate Tafadzwa Miti has dismissed bail for opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MP Job Sikhala citing that his 63 arrests previously show that he is an “incorrigible and unrepentant criminal.”

Many legal and political commentators have rushed to remind the magistrate that an arrest is not a conviction.

Sikhala who has since spent more than 160 of pretrial incarceration characterised by more than five times bail denial, made a fresh application for freedom last week. The latest application has been equally dismissed.

The Zengeza West legislator is charged with incitement to commit public violence. He was arrested together with CCC MP Godfrey Sithole and 14 residents of Nyatsime.

They are all accused of incitement to commit public violence to avenge the murder of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali.

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Sithole and the 14 activists have since been released on bail.

Commenting on the ruling by Magistrate Miti, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the main opposition party was extremely concerned with the continued “illegal” jailing of Sikhala.

“We are extremely concerned with the ruling that has come out,” Mahere said.

“The Constitution tells us that every single person is innocent until proven guilty. So, to hear that he continues to be held on the grounds that he committed other crimes, yet no other conviction against Job exist, certainly it’s a travesty of justice.”