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Sikhala detention soiling new dispensation

Opinion & Analysis
CCC legislator Job Sikhala’s incarceration and serial bail refusals ring alarm bells for the dawn of injudicious judicial precedents.

GOOD day President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Your Excellency, the long pretrial detention of an opposition parliamentarian symbolises incivil governance. As I see it, CCC legislator Job Sikhala’s incarceration and serial bail refusals ring alarm bells for the dawn of injudicious judicial precedents.

After his questionable arrest and drawn-out detention, a good number of citizenry petitioned you for his release. It has become clear to all and sundry that the charges against him were trumped up. It is commonly believed that he is patently a prisoner of conscience.

Essentially, if the voice of the people was well and truly the voice of God, as per your dictum, it is plausible to state that God’s voice went unheeded.

Resultantly, two legal doyens, a constitutional law professor — who is also a member of your brainchild group — the Political Actors Dialogue and a former minister in the Government of National Unity, discharged their moral obligations to defend the law. They voiced their disquiet.

Your Excellency, concerns over Sikhala’s release were raised far afield. Some international legal practitioners volunteered to represent him in court. Also, some British House of Lords members asserted that his detention confirms that despite claims of reforms, the said new dispensation was not yet deserving of readmission to the Commonwealth.

Granted, it is for the profound admiration and gratitude to his indomitable spirit that the pursuit for social justice and equity draws inspiration. His stand for dignity and justice for all has been noticeably inspirational even as he risks life and limb. His willpower and uncompromised determination to the pursuit of the ideals of human freedom has seen him languish in prison for months on end.

True to the exhortation of Martin Luther King Junior: “One has to believe in something, believe in it until the end of the days. Not only that, one has to be the reflection of the change he wants to see.”

Indeed, Sikhala is an apt reflection of the change he wants to accomplish in Zimbabwe.

Your Excellency, what is particularly frustrating, if not infuriating, about his ordeal is that he is not being presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is paradoxical that the Judiciary is in violation of the centuries old principle that the onus of proof of guilty rests with the accuser.

Ordinarily, the Judiciary ought to have released him on initial hearing. It could have ruled in his favour on the basis that the State had not submitted evidence of the crime he committed. Actually, the police violated his human rights. It effected arrest so as to investigate.

Considering the mere yokel that I am, it is a given that I am not sufficiently schooled to know the elements that constitute the crime of inciting violence. Yet, all I know is that many firebrand politicians and preachers given to demagoguery, have never been arrested.

They spew intense hatred and make false claims, arousing emotions and tempers in the process. Their prejudicial utterances have the potential of fomenting anger, disharmony and violence.

Methinks your declaration that the leadership of the opposition party that advocates for secession must have their lives cut short was tantamount to inciting violence. Damn it! It was rabble- rousing, through and through, and loaded with genocidal venom.

Your Excellency, as if your speech was not sufficiently incendiary and below the dignity of the President, your deputy also weighed in in similar vein. He said the opposition must be crushed like lice.

Essentially, whatever the caged opposition parliamentarian is alleged to have said is a wholesome sermonette, compared to your harangues. It does not amount to anywhere close to the anger and wrath inherent in the speeches spewed by the Presidency.

A Zanu PF faithful also once said the Sharia law should be applied on CCC leader Nelson Chamisa. He declared that the youthful opposition leader should be killed. He most probably borrowed the arrogance from his leadership.

Your Excellency, as I see it, the said second republic is its own detractor. It is the author of its predicament. Frankly, Zimbabwe has fallen entirely. All her State institutions, moreso the Presidency, are dysfunctional. She is a classic case of a fish rotting from the head.

Ever since live bullets were fired at citizenry on two separate occasions during the infancy of the said new dispensation, the events confirmed despotism. It proved that the regime was hellbent on perpetuating intolerance to divergence.

Sadly, the law is applied selectively, on a catch and release basis. It is a travesty of justice that those who commit heinous offences, notably corruption and inciting violence, are beyond the reach of the law enforcement officers. They are insulated by their political party allegiance.

Methinks there is merit in the stance by some British House of Lords members that Zimbabwe is not yet ready for readmission to the Commonwealth. Considering the culture of corruption and selective application of the law, as I see it, the country falls short of the readmission criteria.

There are no discernible benefits to Zimbabwe for associating with Belarus, Uganda and Equitorial Guinea. As the opposition parliamentarian remains caged, it becomes clearer that the Judiciary conceals the Zanu PF regalia under its robes.

Your Excellency, the liberation struggle was not for power, but for civility, equality and freedom. It is a violation of the universal liberation ideals that Sikhala is incarcerated. I beseech you to release him without further ado.

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