Release Sikhala on health grounds: Allies

INCARCERATED Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala’.

INCARCERATED Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala’s close allies have expressed concern over his deteriorating health.

They suggested that Sikhala, who is the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim vice-chairperson, should urgently be released on health grounds.

The opposition legislator has clocked seven months in remand prison after he was arrested last year in June on charges of inciting public violence.

Early this year, Sikhala wrote a heart-wrenching letter from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, highlighting that he had been suffering from abdominal pain ever since his alleged poisoning.

Sikhala said the pain, exuding from his left side, had been growing steadily over the weeks. He expressed fear that it could be colon cancer.

Yesterday, Friends of Job Sikhala Trust spokesperson Emmanuel Zellas Gumbo told NewsDay that Sikhala’s health was fast deteriorating.

“His health is not in good state, he is suffering from abdominal pains, and there is now suspicion that he could be suffering from cancer of the colon. Not only has he lost weight in prison, but you can also tell that he is emotionally drained,” Gumbo said.

He said Sikhala’s situation had become very dire as the legislator was being denied access to his private doctors by prison authorities.

“He has not had access to his personal doctor; therefore he has not yet gotten proper medical attention, that’s why we are suspecting that he could be suffering from very serious complications,” Gumbo said.

Since his incarceration in June last year, his CCC party president Nelson Chamisa has been denied permission to visit him.

“It’s a very sad situation, not only does this affect us as friends, but his personal health is cause for concern.  His immediate family’s mental health is also a major cause of concern. This man has seen it all, he has suffered a lot in the hands of this regime, sadly for simply demanding justice for a fellow citizen,” added Gumbo.

On January 26, Sikhala was remanded in absentia after the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services indicated that he was not well.

Meanwhile, Sikhala’s lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu yesterday filed two applications before Harare magistrate Tafadzwa Miti, which, if granted, would make changes to the lawmaker’s case.

Bhamu wants Sikhala to get treatment from private doctors, saying it is within his rights to do so as he has high blood pressure.

In the second application, Bhamu wants presiding magistrate in Sikhala’s case, Miti recused over alleged bias.

“We are set on filing the second application at the Harare High Court on February 8.  The State must make its response known by February 13,” Bhamu said.

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