By Erica Jecha
CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, lodged a new application for bail Wednesday, arguing their prolonged detention was unlawful and that there were several changes in circumstances.
The duo appeared before Harare Magistrate Taurai Manuwere and will appear again in court on October 5 for bail ruling.
Human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, submitted the national petition signed by prominent figures such as billionaire businessman Strive Masiyiwa as a changed circumstance, and added that their release from custody was long overdue.
“The application is based on the fluxion of time, they have been in custody for 17 weeks, which is way beyond the time requested by the State to conduct its investigations when it first placed them on remand,” she said.
Mtetwa further emphasised that her clients were being given “special” treatment demonstrated by the failure by the State to prioritise their
“A trial date has been set for November, but we respectfully submit that the provision of a trial date doesn’t in any way affect their
Constitutional right to bail,” she argued.
“The other new circumstance is the perception out there that the courts are being political and aren’t being independent and impartial as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe”
“You will be aware that that section requires the court to apply the law impartially, expeditiously without fear or favour” she told the court.
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Mtetwa made an attempt to submit a video of prominent Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku, which was rejected by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) demeaning its relevance to the case.
“We rely on utterances from a video in which a renowned legal expert Professor Madhuku who has publicly stated that the accused’s incarceration can be ended if the political party to which they belong joins the Political Actors Dialogue known as POLAD, through which their case can be politically dealt with by the country’s president” Mtetwa said on record.
The court postponed the bail ruling to October 5.
The CCC activists are accused of inciting public violence following discovery of remains of slain CCC activist Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza.
The pair, along 14 others, were arrested on June 14 and have been in remand prison ever since. They have applied for bail without success on more than five instances.
This persecution of elected Citizens’ representatives Hon @JobSikhala1 and Hon Sithole is a direct assault on democracy and human rights. This vindictive politics will have no place in a New Great Zimbabwe. Politics must not divide but unite us. #freewiwa #Nyatsime16 pic.twitter.com/AOYEdfbnhP
— nelson chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) September 29, 2022