Job Sikhala receives suspended sentence in public violence case

Former Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala will leave prison on Wednesday after a court handed down a suspended two-year prison sentence after his conviction on charges of incitement to public violence.

HARARE – Former Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala, who has spent 596 days in pre-trial incarceration, is set to leave Chikurubi Maximum Prison on Wednesday after a court handed down a wholly suspended two-year prison sentence.

Sikhala was convicted on charges of incitement to commit public violence, along with Chitungwiza North MP Godfrey Sithole.

The courtroom erupted in celebration when Magistrate Tafadzwa Miti announced the sentence, highlighting that both men, as first offenders, should be given a second chance.

The wholly suspended sentence is conditional on five years of good behavior.

Sikhala’s lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, emphasizing the “horrific injustice” of denying bail to Sikhala for nearly two years.

Doug Coltart, another member of Sikhala’s legal team, noted that the suspended sentence underscores the injustice of keeping him in prison during the trial.

Nkomo stated, “Mr. Sikhala is a legal practitioner and a former legislator of Zengeza West constituency, the title he lost because of this incarceration. The history of this matter demonstrates that this case warrants a wholly suspended sentence.”

Zimbabwe opposition leader Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole attending the court in Harare, Zimbabwe on Wednesday 24th January 2024.
FILE: Zimbabwe opposition leader Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole attending the court in Harare, Zimbabwe on Wednesday 24th January 2024.
Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole plead not guilty

During the trial, Sikhala and Sithole pleaded not guilty to charges of inciting supporters of their CCC party to attack Zanu PF rivals in Nyatsime.

The incidents occurred days after CCC activist Moreblessing Ali was abducted and killed in May 2022.

In the pre-sentencing hearing on Monday, the defense lawyers argued for a non-custodial sentence, citing Sikhala’s extensive time served, financial consequences, and the lack of evidence supporting the charges.

Nkomo proposed a wholly suspended sentence or a fine of US$300.

Oliver Marwa, Sithole’s lawyer, emphasized that the court did not try the charge of public violence but incitement.

He proposed a warning and discharge as the appropriate sentence for Sithole, considering the lack of evidence for public violence.

Sikhala is expected to complete certain formalities on Wednesday before his release, marking the end of a prolonged legal battle and incarceration.

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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