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Former opposition legislator Sikhala found guilty of inciting public violence

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By Mary Taruvinga


FORMER CCC MP Job Sikhala has been found guilty of inciting public violence in the Nyatsime area to avenge the death of opposition activist, Moreblessing Ali.

Sikhala was convicted after a full trial during which he denied the allegations refusing ever capturing or publishing a video inciting violence.

He was jointly charged with CCC MP Godferey Sithole who was also convicted.

Harare magistrate Tafadzwa Miti ruled that the State had managed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sikhala is accused of inciting public violence in the area by stating that the area had “turned into a terror zone.”

He was representing Ali’s family after she was abducted by a Zanu PF activist and her body was found 21 days later in a decomposing state.

A memorial service for Ali was held which was marred by violence.

Sikhala and Sithole were then held accountable, with prosecutors alleging that the two connived to cause unrest in Nyatsime.

Prosecutors alleged that together with Sithole they organised transport which ferried mourners to Ali’s memorial service.

They both denied the allegations arguing that the National Prosecuting Authority did not call witnesses to give evidence with regards to the video and also interview the owners of the vehicles which ferried mourners.

Sikhala has been in pretrial detention since June 14 2022.

Gift Mutamba, the investigating officer said he started investigations on June 12 to 14 June 2022.

Mutamba said he played the video and heard Sikhala inciting violence by motivating the public “to use whichever way available” to avenge Ali’s death.

A video expert also a witness in the case told the court that he was unable to tell how the video originated or the source of the video.

Giving her reasons for judgement, Miti said from the evidence it was clear that the accused did not post the video on social media.

“Evidence shows that the video was not posted on the accused’s social media platform. The evidence did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that the first accused did not put the videos but this doesn’t mean that an offence was not committed.

“From the evidence, it is beyond any doubt that the accused is the one who uttered the words in the video.

“No evidence of tampering was put before the court. No evidence of manipulation was put before the court.”

“Through the words uttered the accused incited the people of CCC. Indeed public violence erupted in Nyatsime …It is therefore that the first accused utterances indeed incited the public to commit violence.”

Commenting on whether or not the two committed incitement by providing transport the magistrate said “The witness managed to link the second accused to the commission of the crime in that he indeed mobilised transport. To incite is to influence the mind of another to commit public violence, this can also be by gesture. The court is therefore convinced that the two indeed committed the crime of incitement to commit. As such the two accused persons are found guilty as charged.”