Sikhala, lawyers question magistrate on “bias”
Job Sikhala’s lawyers told a Harare magistrate on Wednesday that it was now pointless to seek justice for the imprisoned politician since the courts had demonstrated blatant prejudice against his client. Sikhala is a member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
The troubled politician joined them, yelling from the witness stand that the court was prejudiced against him and accusing presiding magistrate Taurai Manuwere in no uncertain terms.
Following the death of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali by suspected Zanu PF supporters, Sikhala and party colleague Godfrey Sithole were back in court on Wednesday for a routine remand. The two are accused of instigating public violence in the case.
In his submissions, lawyer Jeremiah Bamu said it was pointless to keep seeking justice on behalf of the two because every single application by his clients has been turned down.
“The history of the matter against the accused person revealed that no matter what application made, the court dismissed it,” Bamu said.
“It is pointless to continue knocking on the doors of justice when it is clear the doors will never be opened to them and in the circumstances, we are left with no solution but to simply follow the court because there is no justice that will be served through these courts.
“All avenues has been closed to achieve justice.
“We therefore return to court on the appointed date not because we will get justice but simply because the laws requires us to come to court.
“We are asking the state and court to restore a sense of justice and begin to apply justice regardless of the accused person’s offence.”
Sikhala and Sithole have clocked three months behind bars following their arrest on June 14.
The firebrand opposition is accused of publishing a video calling on the public to avenge the death of Ali, who was allegedly murdered by a Zanu PF official Pius Jamba.
Prosecutors allege Sithole acted in common purpose by providing transport which ferried mourners to Ali’s memorial service.
Bamu said the courts were now conniving to prejudice the opposition legislators.
He said lawyers are left with no option but to follow proceedings with no hopes of justice ever served through local courts.
Bamu said the world was watching, adding that Sikhala still put up a strong face in spite of his torment because he is a strong person.
“His hands are tied and it goes back to the sad realisation that the law is not being applied evenly.
“We can only implore the courts and the State to restore a sense of justice and to begin to apply justice regardless of the accused person before it,” he said.
It also emerged that the two were yet to be furnished with state papers and Bamu complained that the court always endorsed whatever is thrown before it by the prosecution.
Beatrice Mtetwa, also representing the two, complained the court order for the release of state papers was erroneously recorded only to prejudice her clients.
An angry Sikhala, on his part, was so angry and shouted from the dock accusing the magistrate was biased.
The matter was remanded to September 28.