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President Mnangagwa Petitioned To End “Persecution” Of Sikhala And Nyatsime 15 Activists

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was on Friday petitioned to end the alleged persecution of Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and other Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists from Nyatsime.

The petition was initiated by the Southern Africa Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust director Ibbo Mandaza and signed by 166 prominent Zimbabweans locally and abroad.

Reads the petition first published by the Standard:

We petition Your Excellency to bring to your consideration, a most unusual situation obtaining in the arrest and detention of Sikhala and Honourable Sithole, and 14 residents of Nyatsime, Chitungwiza following the violence of 14 June 2022 in Nyatsime. Our duty to Zimbabwe constrains us from maintaining silence.

The multiple denials of bail these two have endured, multiple times in the magistrates court and multiple times in the High Court, makes for an unusual and unprecedented situation.

We cannot think of any prosecution in recent times where one has been denied bail for such numerous times, for offences of inciting public violence and obstruction of justice, which Honourable Sikhala is charged with, and inciting public violence, which Honourable Godfrey Sithole is charged with.

Sikhala and Sithole have now spent 85 days in pre-trial incarceration at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

While we all noted the political violence that occurred in Nyatsime, it is curious that arrest and detention was targeted at members and perceived supporters of the political opposition,” the petition reads.

No one associated with any other formation was arrested.

When the actors in the justice system appear to act in ways wholly contrary to their sworn duty and oath to uphold and implement the law without fear or favour, inferences of external hands in work of the judiciary are bound to arise.

The offences that Sikhala, Sithole and the 14 residents of Nyatsime are facing have not had this kind of treatment visited upon anyone charged with them in recent times.

This treatment, we are aware, was commonplace during the times of the liberation struggle.

Sikhala and Sithole were arrested on June 14 alongside the 14 other CCC party activists allegedly for inciting violence which erupted during the funeral wake of slain CCC activist Moreblessing Ali.

They have been denied bail on several occasions with Sikhala being accused of being an unrepentant repeat offender capable of inciting violence.

Authorities deny allegations that the legislators are being targeted for belonging to the opposition.

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