HARARE, Zimbabwe – Godfrey Sithole, an opposition lawmaker in Zimbabwe, was granted bail on Thursday after more than 150 days in prison without trial.
Sithole and prominent opposition leader Job Sikhala, both members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), were arrested on June 14 and incarcerated at the Chikurubi maximum security prison.
They were accused of inciting unrest after the murder of slain CCC activist Moreblessing Ali.
Ali was missing for three weeks before her dismembered body was found in an abandoned well in Beatrice, a farming community in the Mashonaland East province.
Authorities accused Sithole and Sikhala of urging opposition supporters to riot in Chitungwiza, a town about 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of the capital Harare, where Ali was laid to rest.
Sikhala remains locked up at Chikurubhi and his trial is scheduled to begin on Friday.
“While we breathe a sigh of relief that Sithole was granted bail, we condemn his unlawful incarceration. He should never have been in Chikurubi in the first place,” said Fadzayi Mahere, a CCC spokesperson.
He criticized the ruling ZANU-PF government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for Sikhala’s continued detention.
“Such persecution belongs to the colonial era. Political prisoners must be freed. Bail is a constitutional right,” he said.