High Court refuses Sikhala and Sithole bail; MPs have been in detention for 22 days

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter

CITIZENS Coalition for change (CCC) lawmakers Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, accused of inciting public violence to avenge the death of their party’s slain activist Moreblessing Ali, have been both been denied bail by the High Court.

They had filed a bail appeal through their lawyers, Alec Muchadehama and Jeremiah Bamu.

In her ruling the judge said courts attach conditions when granting bail for a purpose.

She said there was no misdirection on the lower court’s findings considering background circumstances, citing that Sikhala voluntarily volunteered information that he was arrested for the similar offence several times.

She said this shows “Sikhala has a heightened propensity to re-offend” and his grounds of appeal have no merit.

The two have been in custody for 22 days following their arrest on June 14 when.

They were denied bail two weeks ago after the magistrate ruled that they were likely to re-offend.

Prosecutors accused them of urging the public to avenge the death of Ali but they deny the charges.

Deputy chief magistrate Gibson Mandaza also said they two were men of means and acted in common purpose to mobilise people who attacked the homes of Zanu PF members in Nyatsime area to avenge Ali’s death.

Through their lawyers, they told the court that no evidence was given by the State to prove that they committed the offence.

Sikhala denied posting an offending video on social media.

Sithole also denied ever mobilising people and organising transport that ferried mourners to Nyatsime.

Muchadehama said the State should produce evidence showing that Sikhala posted the alleged video.

He also said the State should provide evidence showing Sikhala communicating with anyone or arranging transport to Nyatsime as alleged by the prosecutors.

“The State’s reason in denying Sikhala and Sithole bail was that they were likely to jeopardise public safety but this is being said without any evidence. These are just unsubstantiated reasons not supported by any evidence,” he said.

He said there were no facts at all.

“There is no evidence that Sithole communicated with anyone. They said went around mobilising people but there is no evidence that he did so”

Muchadehama said the meaninglessness and vagueness of the allegations is embarrassing.

The lawyer also submitted that there was no reason for the two to be denied bail because they were never convicted before.

Prosecutors had submitted that Sikhala was arrested over the same offence over and over again but did not repent.

Mandaza upheld the State’s submission ruling that he breached an existing order barring him from posting inciting material on social media.

Muchadehama said the magistrate erred in relying on bare allegations not substantiated by any facts.