Sikhala pleads not guilty as subversion trial commences

ZENGEZA West member of Parliament Hon. Job Sikhala on Monday 3 February 2020
pleaded not guilty when his trial on charges of plotting to overthrow
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government commenced before High Court
Judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze.

Asked by Justice Mawadze on how he responds to charges of subverting
constitutional government as defined in section 22(2)(a)(iii) of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Hon. Sikhala said “Not
Guilty My Lord”.

Sikhala, who is out of custody on bail is on trial after he was
arrested on Tuesday 9 July 2019 and charged with subverting
constitutional government.

Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare told Justice Mawadze that Hon. Sikhala
advocated for the overthrowing of government through unconstitutional
means during his address to some MDC party supporters at a political
rally held on Saturday 6 July 2019 at Mandadzaka Primary School in
Bikita in Masvingo province.

Hon. Sikhala’s lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Jeremiah Bamu, Blessing
Nyamaropa and Tinomuda Shoko of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
immediately filed an application excepting to the charges of
subverting constitutional government arguing that the charges do not
disclose an offence.

The lawyers charged that the prosecution of Hon. Sikhala is just
harassment of the opposition MDC Alliance party legislator through the
use of the criminal justice system.

However, Zvekare opposed Hon. Sikhala’s application and made a bold
claim that the Zengeza West legislator wanted to stage a coup with the
intention of toppling President Mnangagwa from power.

Justice Mawadze will hand down judgment on Hon. Sikhala’s application
for exception on Friday 14 February 2020.