Citizens Coalition for change lawmaker, Job Sikhala, Thursday appeared before a Harare magistrate answering to charges of defeating the course of justice.
Sikhala was charged at a time he is currently locked in at Chikurubi Maximum Prison on charges of inciting public violence.
Through his lawyer, Jeremiah Bamu, Sikhala challenged the court’s jurisdiction after his case was heard in an anti-corruption court.
He complained that this was unfair, considering that the matter has nothing to do with corruption.
He is seeking to have the matter heard in a provincial court.
Bamu also said that the state was choosing to be hostile to civic society and opposition members.
“As evidence of that, your worship, the accused submits that besides himself, Hopewell Chinóno, Tendai Biti, Fadzayi Mahere and a few other opposition leaders, media practitioners and civil society members whose matters have nothing to do with corruption were placed in an Anti-Corruption court,” he said.
“It feels as if the Anti-Corruption court has been reduced to a political court of targeted individuals who are perceived as non-conforming to the dictates of the State.
“Reasonable persons in this matter will generally believe that the anticorruption court will be biased against Sikhala…Job Sikhala will not get justice in this court.
Bamu said, ‘bias exists in this matter.”
The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) represented by Ephraim Zinyandu and Silent Shoko said they wanted to verify some facts before asking for a postponement.
Magistrate Ngoni Nduna postponed the hearing to this Friday.
Sikhala is expected to challenge his placement on remand.
The legislator is accused of posting a video in a bid to mislead investigating officers in the murder of slain CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.
Sikhala was charged for inciting violence, with the State also relying on the same video.
Beatrice Mtetwa, also representing Sikhala, fumed over why he was taken to an anti-corruption court.
If they had deemed it regional, we expected it to go to the remand regional court but surprisingly it was taken to court 16 which is a trial court and magistrate Nduna is sitting in that court and some of you will be aware that he previously denied honourable Sikhala bail on a basis that had not been relied upon by the state factually in it’s form 424.
She added, “In fact he made up his facts in denying him bail, in addition he also denied him bail on the basis that he has a propensity towards committing offense because he had been arrested 65 times in a short space of time
Mtetwa said the 68 times Sikhala was arrested relate to a 21 year period as such to characterise 21 years as short as the magistrate’s creation.
“So we are saying we fear that he will do the same, we are asking why second cases that have nothing whatsoever to do with anti corruption are taken to anti corruption courts.
“We are also saying anti-corruption courts judicial officers are known to deny bail to certain types of accused persons who include opposition politicians who include civil society activities who include generally those who are seen as a nuisance by the establishment.
“So naturally we fear that even before we take about bail, or other applications we will make, it will fall on deaf ears because the magistrate has a predisposition to deny people like Sikhala bail.
“We are not saying this from the air, we are saying it because he has done it before,” she said.