Sikhala prosecution not political: State

Court Reporter

CCC’s Zengeza West Member of Parliament Job Sikhala was not arrested on political grounds and his prosecution in relation to the violence that engulfed the Nyatsime area of Chitungwiza is not politically motivated, but in line with his criminal conduct, a court heard yesterday.

Sikhala is charged with incitement to commit public violence after allegedly mobilising CCC supporters to cause violence, on the pretext of avenging the killing of Moreblessing Ali, a resident who the opposition outfit claimed to be their member.

Yesterday, the prosecution led by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti submitted in court that Sikhala’s arrest was not politically-motivated and it came after police noted some criminal activity in his conduct.

Mr Mutsokoti made the submissions while responding to Sikhala’s application for bail on changed circumstances.

Through his lawyer, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, Sikhala said a long period of time had lapsed since his arrest which he argued was a changed circumstance warranting his release on bail.

Ms Mtetwa told the court that Sikhala was prepared to pay $50 000 as bail arguing that the State had not yet made an enquiry into the alleged High Court bail condition violation, which the State relied on when it first denied him bail.

But Mr Mutsokoti said there had been no change of circumstances since Sikhala first appeared in court and the State’s fears still remain.

“The accused raises assertions that his arrest was of a political nature. That is vehemently denied. The allegations stemmed from the accused’s conduct.

“There is nothing political about his prosecution,” he said.

Mr Mutsokoti said Sikhala had already been furnished with a trial date.

“He has a trial date and today he is only appearing for remand. By the time of trial, the State would have strengthened its matter,” he said.

Mr Mutsokoti said the High Court did not find fault with the lower court’s decision to deny Sikhala bail.

He said the statutes place no obligation on the State to do anything in the event that one defaults bail conditions, but they “just guide the court what should be done when there is a default”.

Sikhala is expected back in court today for bail ruling.

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