State accused of stalling Sikhala case

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Job Sikhala

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
LAWYERS representing Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators Job Sikhala (Zengeza West) and Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North) yesterday accused the State of failing to provide video evidence proving that the legislators’ vehicles were actually used to ferry CCC supporters to Nyatsime.

The MPs are accused of inciting violence in the Nyatsime area last month after the brutal killing of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali by a suspected Zanu PF activist Pius Mukandi, alias Jamba.

Allegations are that they used their vehicles to ferry CCC supporters who turned violent and destroyed properties.

Their lawyers, Jeremiah Bhamu and Alec Muchadehama have also complained that the two imprisoned MPs are being abused by being denied access to their lawyers and infringement of their rights to access treatment from doctors of their choice after Sikhala developed an illness.

“There has been continued violation of accused persons’ rights to legal practitioners. Lawyer Rose Hanzi went to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison for the purpose of attending to the accused on Saturday and she was denied access. The reasons were that the prison had only recorded that lawyer Harrison Nkomo was their sole legal practitioner. We had specifically mentioned that there was a team of legal practitioners, including Hanzi,” Bhamu said.

“The first accused was seriously ill and wanted to be attended to by a doctor, but he was denied access to a doctor of his choice. The accused have been treated in an inhumane manner and are brought to court in leg irons.”

The duo’s lawyers have now filed a notice challenging the MPs’ placement on remand saying there was no evidence linking them to the offence.

They also want the State to provide details of its 20 witnesses and the downloaded video.

“We are still not sure if the State needs more time to investigate, everything is happening in the dark. It is very important to indicate the steps because the accused’s liberty is at stake,” the lawyers said.

The matter was postponed to today for further application submissions, while their bail hearing is set for the High Court.

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