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Mnangagwa abusing judicial system against political activists – says rights watchdog citing Sikhala, Mary Mubaiwa 

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By Leopold Munhende | Chief Correspondent 

NATIONAL Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) deputy chairperson, Dzikamai Bere, has likened President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s so-called new dispensation to the Rhodesian colonial government that abused the judiciary to thwart political activism.

Bere raised concern over the treatment of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist, Job Sikhala, who has been denied bail, and the manner in which Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s ex-wife Marry Mubaiwa is being treated by the courts.
Sikhala has been in remand for just over 70 days with no indication his matter will go to trial soon.
On the other hand, Mubaiwa has had to attend her court sessions in the company of aides and medical personnel as a result of a worsening cancer.
The VP’s estranged wife was denied her passport, taken as a condition for bail, although her state of health has become precarious.
“The Sikhala and Mubaiwa cases reflect badly on our justice system,” said Bere in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com
“Sikhala’s case shows the use of pre-trial detention to punish activism and there are many cases like that. Hopewell Chin’ono, Obert Masaraure in which institutions that are supposed to serve justice have been manipulated to punish activism.

CCC legislator Job Sikhala at the courts in Harare

“This is regrettable because it is an old trick that goes back to the colonial era when freedom fighters were detained without trial, it is an indictment on the justice system to ensure it is not used to achieve political objectives.”
Rhodesia’s last Prime Minister, Ian Smith, would hunt down and arrest political activist calling for self-governance and political rights for the majority black community with little to address their rights to administrative justice.
Chin’ono and Masaraure have been in and out of court since 2019 on different cases, ranging from communicating false information and inciting public violence, which they have dismissed as clear abuse of State security and the judiciary to shut them up.
The NTJWG is also on Mnangagwa’s neck, questioning how his administration was handling the aftermath of Gukurahundi killings perpetrated between 1983 and1987, then under Robert Mugabe.
Added Bere: “It is not about fear within the judiciary, this is just an issue of how the State manipulates these things, sometimes the record goes missing, sometimes they take too long to prosecute, sometimes they lie in court.
“Without denying that sometimes the spirit of fear has been made to visit the bench, we have had very vigilant judges, the case of Masaraure when he was then granted bail, Justice Rogers Manyangadze interrogated the State on why they wanted to hold the accused person and gave him bail.
“This is an issue of the State, the prosecution, the police and the justice system.”