Job Sikhala arrested 65 times without conviction. Job Sikhala said this during his bail application submissions yesterday before Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna. He also submitted that each time he was granted bail, he religiously attended hearings and never violated bail conditions.
Incarcerated MDC Alliance vice-chairperson and Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala yesterday told the court that he had been arrested more than 65 times since 2000 and had not been convicted.
Sikhala is facing a charge of communicating falsehoods after he allegedly posted through his social media page “Job Wiwa Sikhala” that a police officer killed a nine-month-old child. He, however, disowned the Facebook account, stating that he does not even own one.
Leading evidence from the investigating officer Davison Ngezi, prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti told the court that Sikhala was likely to abscond since he was facing a serious offence which attracted a penalty of up to 20 years.
“We have overwhelming evidence against the accused, which includes downloaded posts from his Facebook account and a detailed statement from the mother of the alleged dead child. We also have a medical affidavit of the alleged dead child,” Ngezi said.
Representing Sikhala, lawyer Harrison Nkomo said the State’s submission on bail opposition was not convincing since Sikhala had already disowned the Facebook account.
But Ngezi said technical experts within the police force were yet to avail results on whether the Facebook account belonged to Sikhala or not. Sikhala submitted that the police arrested him to investigate.
Ngezi insisted Sikhala had communicated falsehoods because the child in question is not even nine months old, but is actually three weeks old.
Meanwhile, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who is facing a similar charge, was yesterday denied bail at the Harare Magistrates Court on the basis that he was likely to commit other offences. He was remanded to February 18, 2020.
In passing his ruling, magistrate Lazini Ncube said there was overwhelming evidence against Chin’ono since the child he said was dead is alive.
As has become the norm, Chin’ono’s appearance at court yesterday was characterised with drama as prison officers sought to bar journalists from covering proceedings. One prison officer even threatened to shoot a journalist before confiscating his mobile phone, which he, however, later gave back.
“Shameless. How can you threaten a journalist with a gun? I have never seen a prison officer threatening a journalist,” Chin’ono shouted as he was being driven away.
Source – Bulawayo24
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