Lawyer grills prosecutors over Sikhala’s anti-ED utterance charges

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By Tonderai Saharo

Masvingo: Top lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa Monday gave prosecutors a torrid time when she demanded explanation on how charges faced by MDC deputy national chairman Job Sikhala constituted an offence under Zimbabwean laws.

This is after she pleaded for exception to subversion charges when the high-profile case kicked off at the Masvingo High Court.

Presenting her arguments, Mtetwa cited section 180 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, saying charges against Sikhala were vague and did not constitute any offence.

She argued that alleged utterances by Sikhala while addressing a rally in Bikita, Masvingo to the effect that he was going to remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa from power before the 2023 elections did not mean to overthrow a government but Mnangagwa as an individual.

Mtetwa added that Sikhala enjoyed privileges as an elected member of Parliament and it is in his constitutional right to call for the removal of a sitting President which is provided for in the constitution.

State prosecutors led by Tawanda Zvekare argued that Sikhala’s utterances as a senior member of the MDC revealed his party’s plans and were capable of influencing ordinary Zimbabweans to riot against government.

They argued that Sikhala used strong words such as “war and fight”, meaning that his party was preparing to overthrow the government through violent means.

Zvekare left the packed gallery in stitches when he said Sikhala’s utterances revealed that his party was planning to stage a coup against Mnangagwa.

Justice Mawadze is expected to make a ruling on 14 February.

If the court grants his wish of exception, the legislator will be acquitted without a full trial.

Meanwhile, Business in the usually serene city of Masvingo came to a standstill as hundreds of Sikhala symphathisers besieged the High Court in solidarity with the troubled Zengeza West legislator.

Anti-riot police had to be called in to seal off the High Court premises as numbers continued to swell.

They broke into song and dance while High Court judge Garainesu Mawadze was presiding over the matter.