Why CCC’s attempts to internationalise Sikhala case flopped

06 Oct, 2022 - 00:10 0 Views
Why CCC’s attempts to internationalise Sikhala case flopped Job Sikhala

The Herald

Nobleman Runyanga

Correspondent 

CCC interim spokesperson, Gift “Ostallos” Siziba and a retinue of other opposition members and other detractors were in the United States for the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that ran from September 13 to 26, 2022.

They sought to use the event to internationalise the arrest of that party’s interim deputy chairperson, Zengeza West legislator, Job Sikhala, and Chitungwiza North legislator, Godfrey Sithole over fanning violence.

That party also sought to leverage the global event to scrape some political relevance for itself among the hundreds of Zimbabweans in the diaspora, whom it assumes are all its members. 

Social media images of Siziba making a presentation to an all-white audience and insider information also indicated that CCC also used the event to update its owners, funders and handlers of how the outfit has fared so far and to solicit for a kitty to fund its 2023 election campaign.

Siziba and his party had secured a war chest from their handlers to use some Zimbabweans in the US to stage a protest against President Mnangagwa on the precincts of the UN Headquarters in New York, especially on September 22, 2022 when he addressed the General Assembly. 

Despite having the financial resources, only 17 people out of the more than 100, who were anticipated, turned up amid charges of funds misappropriation on the part of the CCC leaders.

Zimbabweans in the US demonstrated to CCC that they do not have time to waste participating in the initiatives of a disorganised outfit claiming to be an opposition party. 

They proved that the opposition’s claims that every Zimbabwean in the diaspora is a CCC member is mere childish propaganda.

The Western-backed party was shown that Zimbabweans in the US have more serious issues to spend their time on than opposition politics. 

Zimbabweans both at home and abroad are tired of an opposition that is at sea in terms of serious strategies to win State power. 

They are tired of a group of people who confuse wishful dreaming for an election strategy.

About a week before, author Tsitsi Dangarembga had put together a petition to President Emmerson Mnangagwa demanding the release of Sikhala, Sithole and 14 others. 

The petition was doing rounds on social media from around 15 September 2022, targeting 25 000 signatures.

Among the people who were said to have signed the document included failed politicians like Dr Simba Makoni and Professor Arthur Mutambara. 

The names of tired and spent academics such as Ibbotson Mandaza and Tony Reeler were also said to have appended their signatures to the document. 

Interestingly, the names of US Secretary for Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Bruce Wharton, former US Ambassador to Botswana and Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Michelle Gavin, as well as former US Ambassador to Kenya, William Bellamy, were also said to be part of the signatories to the petition.

Zimbabwean billionaire and telecommunications mogul, Strive Masiyiwa’s name was also thrown in.

 This was obviously meant to attract other Zimbabweans who admire his business acumen to also support the initiative. 

While a number of media houses, both local and foreign, used the inclusion of Masiyiwa’s name in the project to publish stories about the petition, thereby internationalising the issue, it is interesting to note that none of them quoted the businessman directly.

This exposed Dangarembga and company’s name throwing in a desperate and vain, but misguided bid to give traction and lend weight to their hare-brained and very ill-thought out project. 

The list of the names of the so-called signatories which was appended to the petition, which was doing rounds on the social media, had some names like those of Mandaza repeated, which foregrounded the project drivers’ desperation to create the non-existent impression that the initiative was popular.

All these initiatives were calculated to exert pressure on President Mnangagwa to influence the granting of bail to Sikhala, Sithole and the others who heeded Sikhala’s calls to unleash mayhem, violence and vandalism in the Nyatsime area of Chitungwiza in June this year. 

There was even speculation bordering on desperate wishes among some CCC members that the President could not travel to the US for UNGA with Sikhala still at Chikurubi. 

President Mnangagwa is a lawyer. He knows of the sanctity of the principle of separation of powers. He knew that the calls for him to intervene were, in fact, a trap. 

He knew that once he intervened, they would accuse him of abusing his executive powers to meddle in the running of the judiciary. 

They would then run with the “transgression” all the way to New York.

CCC leader, Nelson Chamisa’s bid to milk Sikhala’s incarceration for political relevance to make up for his lack of substance also failed because of the latter’s track record. 

Sikhala, who apparently thinks that his arrests and incarceration are a badge of political honour, has been arrested for over 60 times and has a number of other cases that are still pending before the courts of law.

Some people, both lay and legal experts, have been harping on Sikhala’s Constitutional right to bail. Their main contention has been that Section 50 (1) (d) assures Sikhala of automatic bail, but nothing is further from the truth. 

They conveniently omitted the last portion of the provision which states that “unless there are compelling reasons justifying their continued detention.”

Such people should note that rights are not absolute. They are relative. 

If the exercise of one’s right infringes on the rights of other people, the protection of the latter prevails. Sikhala abused his right to freedom of speech and association to incite CCC members to unleash violence and vandalism in Nyatsime, resulting in the damaging of shops and motor vehicles and destruction of homes, shops and vehicles belonging to innocent Zimbabwean citizens.

This infringed on their right to peace and property ownership. 

In July this year, regional magistrate, Stanford Mambanje noted that Sikhala disregarded the bail conditions set by the High Court which barred him from addressing public gatherings and uttering words that are likely to incite the public to commit violence.

The High Court also ruled that he should not post videos on social media sites which are likely to incite public violence. 

He flagrantly violated both injunctions. His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, did not dispute this. This amply demonstrates that Sikhala is a trouble maker who deserves no bail.

Chamisa and his CCC members hoped that by making the Sikhala issue the main point of the flopped New York protest, they would attract the attention of the American legal fraternity, but to no avail.

American lawyers know according to their law; suspects can be denied bail for valid reasons such as repeated offending, being a threat to society and being a dangerous criminal, among others.

Sikhala has proved that he is not only a danger to the Nyatsime community, but to himself as well. 

He is just incapable of being a law-abiding citizen despite being a lawyer by profession. 

The US Constitution allows for the holding of a defendant without bail in some circumstances. Put differently, although bail is a constitutional right, it is not an absolute right.

Given the foregoing and Sikhala’s chequered bail condition adherence record, it was not the best thing for CCC to do to seek to protest in New York.

 In view of the fact that CCC teems with people who studied law, it was the dumbest thing to do as, even if it had succeeded, it would only serve to provide a temporary good feeling for the party’s leadership which is facing a major election without the slightest idea of a meaningful strategy, let alone a convincing message to the electorate.

 If anything, the stunt exposed the woeful paucity of an astute leadership in the opposition outfit.

In view of Sikhala’s poor track record and the odds ranged against him, all that those dear to him can do for him until he is tried is to continue visiting and feeding him at Chikurubi Maximum Prison where, against better judgement, he wilfully and consciously invited himself.

His lawyers, including the “import,” Robert Amsterdam, would serve him better by expending more efforts in preparing for this trial than making countless bail applications for someone who does not deserve it and is unlikely to get it.

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