22 September 2020

High Court judge, Justice Erica Ndewere will today make a ruling in the case in which MDC Alliance deputy national chairperson, Job Sikhala, is applying for bail on charges of inciting public violence.

Sikhala, who is represented by Advocate Eric Matinenga, approached the High Court appealing against the magistrates’ court decision to deny him bail recently.

Justice Ndewere reserved judgment after both the defence and prosecution counsel made their submissions.

She said she needed time to make an informed decision on the matter.

In his submissions, Adv Matinenga rapped the magistrate’s decision arguing that he erred and misdirected himself in denying him bail in a case in which the State failed to establish compelling reasons.

He said the lower court’s finding that Sikhala went into hiding for some time before he could be arrested was inconsistent with established evidence in that no evidence was led by the State of any effort to contact his client to surrender himself to the police at any stage.

No evidence was even led by the prosecution that Sikhala was wanted in connection with any offence, argued Adv Matinenga.

It was also the lawyer’s contention that there was no legal obligation for Sikhala to surrender himself to the police merely on account of being labelled an activist by the police.

Appearing for the State, Mr Austin Muzivi said the lower court exercised its discretion judiciously and there were no irregularities to warrant the High Court to interfere.

He argued that Sikhala’s conduct of running away from his house in Chitungwiza to seek refuge at a certain house in Tynwald in a ceiling for that matter, strengthened the State case that he was a flight risk and not suitable for bail.

In denying him bail, the magistrates’ court ruled that Sikhala’s behaviour before his arrest suggested that if granted bail, he was likely to abscond.

Sikhala, who was arrested last month, is being accused of mobilising the public through social media posts, to take part in protests that had been planned for July 31 despite a Government ban.