BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
OPPOSITION politician and human rights lawyer Job Sikhala told a Harare magistrate last week that government was abusing the Judiciary system to violate the constitutional right of its citizens by continuously harassing and arresting them for merely opposing its views.
Sikhala said this while applying for his client, National People’s Front (NPF) political commissar Jim Kunaka’s refusal of further remand.
Kunaka stands accused of trying to subvert a constitutional government by sending messages inciting people to protest against the government.
Sikhala said Kunaka had been remanded for close to six months since his arrest for allegedly causing the January protests, as the State failed to provide him with a trial date to bring
the matter to finality.
“This is the eighth remand for the accused person and the State’s averments is always that they are still waiting for a statement from Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory
Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to confirm if the NetOne network number used to send the message belongs to him. Your Worship, this is a deliberate ploy by the State to delay his
freedom and liberty,” Sikhala said.
“Your Worship, the number which was allegedly used is a local number. In terms of procedures, it must take less than two weeks to confirm. There is absolutely nothing complex about
confirming the number.
“I dare the State to bring it on and we are itching to expose them that they are using and abusing the courts process to violate the constitutional rights of its citizens.”
Sikhala said the State and its agents were abusing the citizens for their different political affiliations, saying Kunaka was a Zanu PF member until recently when he decided to
terminate his membership for NPF.
“He was a Zanu PF member before he exercised his constitutional right to terminate the membership and joined NPF political party.
“The Zanu PF party has never been comfortable after he joined the NPF. At no material time did he violate the laws of this country. He is a super democrat,” Sikhala said.
“It is only those who worked with him in the Zanu PF party who are afraid of him to the extent of faking allegations. I have handled 12 cases of January disturbances after they were
fast-tracked and all were disposed what is that so special for this one to take long.”
The State, represented by Sebastian Mutizirwa, argued that Kunaka had only been on remand for four months, saying the period taken for investigations was less regarding the seriousness
of the offence.
Mutizirwa said the State was within the reasonable period before he could be furnished with a trial date.
But magistrate Mateko dismissed the application, saying the State must be given enough time to complete their investigations.