LAWYERS representing incarcerated opposition Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala have challenged the tendering of video evidence in a case where their client faces a charge of incitement to public violence.
Harrison Nkomo and Jeremiah Bhamu told presiding magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro that they doubted the originality of the video clip.
State witness Masimba Muguta told the court that he extracted the video from an online publication and Facebook where Sikhala was recorded making the statements.
But Bhamu objected to the tendering of the video saying it could have been tampered with.
Muchuchuti-Guwuriro ordered the defence and State to submit written and opposing submissions before postponing the matter to October 19 for a ruling.
In a related case, Sikhala’s message expressing gratitude to a number of individuals and organisations leaving out Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has sparked debate.
There are speculate reports that Sikhala is feeling betrayed by the CCC leadership since his arrest in June this year.
Political analyst Methuseli Moyo said: “Clearly, the CCC leadership has not demonstrated any meaningful and sustained concern about Sikhala’s predicament. Their messages on Sikhala have been sporadic and individualised.”
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Another political analyst Kudakwashe Munemo said: “The statement's silence on CCC on the list of individuals and institutions offering solidarity to Sikhala may be loudly telling the party that it has to up its response to his arrest by providing strategic solidarity.”
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure weighed in saying the long incarceration may be taking a heavy toll on Sikhala.
“Their case is a classic example whereby the legal and the political merge seamlessly into each other. It then means if the legal route is blocked, perhaps it is time to forge a political path to resolving the impasse,” Masunungure said.
Sikhala’s lawyer and family spokesperson Freddy Masarirevu said there was nothing amiss about the statement.
“People will always interpret information anyhow; the unfortunate thing is I do not have control over the manner in which people can interpret things,” he said.
Sikhala is being charged alongside fellow MP Godfrey Sithole and 14 other Nyatsime residents following the violence that erupted at the funeral of slain CCC activist Moreblessing Ali.
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