The alleged killer of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali, Pius Jamba, is reportedly being treated better than opposition MPs Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole who are detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
The two lawmakers were arrested last month and charged with incitement to commit public violence to avenge the death of Ali who was allegedly killed by Jamba, a Zanu-PF supporter.
Jamba is detained at Harare Remand Prison pending finalisation of his case. But Sikhala and Sithole who are yet to be tried are jailed at Chikurubi, the home of convicted criminals.
Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure in Parliament on Wednesday slammed the justice system in Zimbabwe for practicing selective application of the law. He raised a point on why Sikhala and Sithole were brought to court in leg irons when they were not convicted criminals.
Madzimure protested: “Madam Speaker, there has been a general deliberate way of making sure that the law is applied selectively. For instance, we have seen Hon. Members of Parliament in this House being leg-ironed into the courts for issues like even re-tweeting a message.
“Of all those people who have been incarcerated in that manner, not a single one has been convicted.
“A number of MPs are detained at Chikurubi whilst on remand when there is a Remand Prison for an issue or a matter that is not near anything like murder or armed robbery.
“Even the person who killed Moreblessing Ali is detained today at Central Remand Prison. He is not at Chikurubi but someone who is accused of having said mabhonzo aBlessing achamuka is at Chikurubi.
“More-so, Hon. Members of Parliament have been treated worse than a common criminal. Is it now lawful that the law is applied selectively and deliberately.
“My point of order is that the Hon. The Minister of Justice must come here and give a Ministerial Statement why there is selective application of the law.”
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament responded: “Hon. Madzimure, we cannot discuss issues which are before the courts.”
Sikhala and Sithole have been denied bail at both the Magistrate court and the High Court.
The CCC vice chairman was charged afresh on allegations of obstruction and defeating the course of justice.
Sikhala was picked from Chikurubi Maximum Prison by an unregistered vehicle to Harare Central Police Station to be slapped with the additional charge.
He is represented by Human Rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.
His party the CCC said in a statement: “Update: Our MP Hon Job Sikhala was taken to Law and Order Harare Central this afternoon on new charges. He’s alleged to have obstructed & defeated the course of justice. This continued harassment of CCC members must stop.”
Commenting on the latest development, top journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said;
“Jailed CCC MP Job Sikhala has been charged using the same facts from his previous charge, but using a different act,” he said.
“His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said that at law it is called splitting of facts, hoping that they can get him on the other charge. Only Sikhala has been charged!
“His co-accused from the previous arrest, CCC Member of Parliament, Godfrey Sithole has not been charged, and is at Chikurubi prison.