CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) national spokesperson Fadzai Mahere, Friday expressed discontent over the continued detention of the party’s legislator Job Sikhala who has been in jail since June last year.
While celebrating the release of CCC 25 activists who were arrested two weeks ago on Friday, Mahere said it was unsettling to think that Sikhala is still languishing in prison without trial.
The 25 activists are accused of gathering with an intent to promote public violence and were granted ZW$30 000 bail each.
Sikhala was arrested on allegations of inciting public violence and all efforts to secure bail have flopped.
Speaking to the media following the release of the Budiriro 25, Mahere accused the ruling party , Zanu-PF of weaponising state institutions to intimidate the opposition as elections draw closer.
“It must be born in mind that this is not an isolated abuse of office and abuse of state institutions, we still have Honourable Job Sikhala, who is being unconstitutionally held, and we continue to demand his release,” said Mahere.
Sikhala is accused of encouraging the public to avenge the death of slain CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.
Ali was gruesomely murdered in May last year before her decapitated remains were found in a decomposing state in a well belonging to Zanu-PF activist, Pius Jamba’s mother’s homestead.
Sikhala was representing Ali’s family which is seeking justice over the death of their relatives.
The lawmaker was arrested after the memorial wake for Ali which was marred with violence.
Courts have repeatedly denied him bail on grounds that he is likely to reoffend, having been arrested 63 times before over similar offenses.
Sikhala has no conviction.
He has spent 226 days in jail without trial.
Mahere also said Zanu-PF was abusing its powers.
“The arrest (of the Budiriro 25) was an abuse of process in the first place, it was a clear example of Zanu-PF abusing state institutions to try and disrupt a CCC meeting.
“What was criminalised is chanting the party slogan, it is a constitutional right but we will not stop.
“The regime paranoia has reached fever pitch, they know that they are staring defeat in the face, “she said.
She noted that the arrest was unlawful adding that the police should apologise for indiscriminately beating up legislator Costa Machingauta’s wife and daughter when they arrested the activists.
Mahere said CCC will remain peaceful and fight through the ballot.
“As the CCC we want elections we don’t want war, we want peace we do not want political violence.
“Under the CCC government, every political party, even Zanu-PF when it is the opposition will have the right to campaign,” she said.
Meanwhile, two activists who are senior citizens were released on free bail.
Source – NewZimbabwe