Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
MASVINGO High Court Judge Justice Neville Wamambo yesterday granted $5 000 bail to MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Job Sikhala who was arrested last week on subversion charges after he allegedly said his party was going to overthrow the Government before 2023.
Sikhala, who is also the Zengeza West National Assembly representative, was last Friday remanded in custody to July 24 when he appeared at the Bikita Magistrate’s Court before Ms Marewanazvo Gofa for initial remand.
The State led by Ms Chiedza Muhwandavaka had proposed bail of $50 000 arguing that the charges Sikhala was facing were serious but defence counsel Mr Aleck Muchadehama argued that the quantum was too high and tantamount to denying his client bail.
As part of his bail conditions, Justice Wamambo ordered Sikhala to pay the $5 000 bail at Bikita Magistrate Clerk of Court, surrender his passport, report once a week at St Mary’s Police Station in Chitungwiza and stay at number 596 Sanani Street, St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, until the finalisation of the case.
In granting bail, Justice Wamambo dismissed the State’s proposed amount of $50 000 saying it was too much.
He also dismissed Ms Muhwandavaka’s proposal that the applicant be barred from addressing any political rally as part of the bail conditions.
“The applicant is considered innocent at this moment and I therefore grant him bail of $5 000. I have not lost sight of the seriousness of the matter. It is also unnecessary for the State to suggest that the applicant should not be allowed to address a political gathering. If he commits a crime, he will be charged for the offence,” said Justice Wamambo.
Addressing the court, Mr Muchadehama said: “Given my client’s means, the $50 000 bail proposed by the State is too high. We are happy that the State has not opposed bail but we are more concerned about the amount. The quantum required by the State is tantamount to denying my client bail.
“We are also worried that my client is being denied his political rights through stopping him from addressing a rally. Section 64 provides for political rights while Section 61 of the same constitution provides for freedom of expression”.
Allegations against the MDC senior official stemmed from a rally he addressed in Bikita East when he said his party would overthrow the Government.
“We are a committed leadership that will give Zanu-PF headaches and (Amos) Chibaya was not lying or joking about the war and fight we are going to take to the doorstep of Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“We are going to overthrow him before 2023, that is not a joke,” he reportedly said. — @walterbmswazie2