“I wrote to Mnangagwa about Sikhala’s detention and he ignored me” – claims Chamisa as CCC MP clocks 270 days in remand prison

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By Darlington Gatsi

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has claimed that the continued incarceration of legislator Job Sikhala is a ploy to arm twist him to a negotiating table with Zanu PF President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zengeza West Member of Parliament has endured 270 days in remand prison after his arrest in July last year.

Sikhala was arrested after violence flared up in Nyatsime last year following the brutal murder of CCC supporter Moreblessing Ali.

Since then his efforts to secure bail have hit a brick wall with CCC saying his incarceration is politically motivated.

Addressing media in Harare Thursday, Chamisa said he has on many occasions written letters to Mnangagwa over Sikhala’s detention but never received a response.

“I have even made an effort to write severally to Mr Mnangagwa to say deal with this Sikhala issue  it is embarrassing us internationally and nationally. He has chosen not to respond. I wrote to him private conversations to indicate to him what the issues are but he has ignored them. I have done my bit and I continue to do more,” he said.

The CCC leader added that some officials have told Sikhala that his release is hinged on talks between him and Mnangagwa.

“I have engaged and Sikhala is worried. The last time I engaged him he was telling me about how they have tried to say it is your leader who is refusing to talk to us. If he talks to us we can deal with your release. That is what he told me. I have told him we can bend backwards but we do not break principles. We do not tamper with principles

“That tells you the country is rotten. He committed no offense. Sikhala is innocent but they have already adjudged him guilty without any trial. It tells you how sick we are,” said Chamisa.

Several attempts to visit Sikhala by Chamisa have been thwarted with the opposition leader being denied access to the legislator.

Sikhala’s incarceration has drawn widespread criticism against Mnangagwa’s government from civic society organisations and opposition leaders.

Chamisa in particular has been criticised for folding hands while Sikhala languishes in prison.

However Chamisa said he has written epistles to Mnangagwa highlighting the plight of Sikhala.