Zimbabwe: Sikhala and Travesty of Justice


The continued detention of former member of parliament in Zimbabwe Job Sikhala on baseless charges of incitement to commit violence is a travesty of justice and a violation of his human rights.

Development Diaries reports that a high court on Tuesday overturned Sikhala’s guilty verdict on charges of obstruction of justice, but he has been kept in prison pending trial for two other charges of incitement to commit violence and disorderly conduct.

The member of Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party was taken into custody on 14 June, 2022, following her attendance at the funeral of Moreblessing Ali, a political activist.

On 03 May, 2023, he was found guilty of obstructing justice and was sentenced to six months of suspended jail time and a fine of U.S.$600.

It is understood that Sikhala has lost more than 500 days of his life in pretrial detention based on trumped-up charges.

Zimbabwe has faced a troubling history of authorities employing legal mechanisms as tools of suppression, systematically targeting activists and opposition figures in a bid to stifle dissent and maintain political control.

This weaponisation of the law has manifested in various forms, undermining the principles of democracy and human rights.

One notable example is the misuse of legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

The government has used these laws, which are supposed to control information flow and preserve public order, to restrict people’s ability to assemble and express themselves.

Activists and opposition figures find themselves entangled in a web of legal restrictions that serve to silence their voices and impede their ability to mobilize support.

Development Diaries calls on the Zimbabwean government to immediately release Sikhala from custody without conditions, while all charges against him should be withdrawn because his detention stems from the peaceful exercise of his human rights.

Photo source: Reuters


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