By Tonderai Saharo
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has embarked on a campaign to silence critics by arresting opposition leaders on “trumped up charges”, MDC secretary general Charlton Hwende has said.
Hwende was speaking to NewZimbabwe.com after the High Court in Masvingo released party deputy national chairman Job Sikhala on bail.
Sikhala is facing charges of subversion after he allegedly told a party campaign rally in Bikita over a week ago that a plan was underway to overthrow Mnangagwa before elections scheduled for 2023.
He was granted $5 000 bail.
The prosecution, which had demanded that bail be set at $50 000 and that Sikhala be barred from addressing political rallies, did not oppose the decision to free him.
“Sikhala did not commit any crime. He was only being targeted because he is among the top leaders of the party.
“His release shows that the court saw it fit for him to be released and to be with his family after spending some time in custody and we are so happy as a party that the court allowed Sikhala to continue addressing rallies and to mobilise members to the party,” Hwende said.
Following Sikhala’s arrest, the MDC issued a statement distancing itself from his utterances, indicating these were the firebrand MP’s personal views.
The Zengeza West MP will be back in court on 24 July when the trial resumes at the Bikita Magistrate Courts.
MDC national youth assembly chairperson Obey Sithole said Sikhala was only expressing the sentiments shared by most Zimbabweans.
“The Zanu PF government has nothing good to offer to the people of Zimbabwe. Sikhala’s arrest is a way of punishing him and to instill fear amongst Zimbabweans who are demanding change,” Sithole said.
The MDC youth wing seemed to have broken ranks with the party leadership after openly supporting Sikhala in his utterances.