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Sikhala acquitted of disorderly conduct in rare positive story to legal woes

HARARE – Opposition politicians Job Sikhala and Lovemore Maiko have been acquitted following trial over accusations of disorderly conduct.

This now leaves Sikhala with one criminal case pending before the courts.

Harare magistrate Yeukai Dzuda cleared the two of wrongdoing, ruling that State’s case was driven by malice since most of the witness exonerated the two.

Sikhala and the recalled Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Chitungwiza mayor were accused of disrupting a Zanu PF rally for the then aspiring Ward 7 Zengeza West councillor Charamba Mlambo, ahead of the March 2022 by-elections.

Prosecutors alleged the Chitungwiza politicians led a group of CCC followers to where the rally was being held and started throwing stones at the ruling party’s supporters who had gathered.

The two denied the allegations during trial.

Dzuda concurred with their defence ruling that the State’s case was not clear.

“There was uncertainty in evidence by the State witnesses,” ruled the court.

The magistrate also said the first, third and fourth witnesses exonerated the duo.

“The third witness also exonerated Maiko from the allegations saying it was a case of mistaken identity.

“Fourth witness described the accused as victims of disorderly conduct.

“It is the court’s finding that the state’s case is riddled with inconsistencies.

“Accordingly, both accused persons are found not guilty and acquitted,” she ruled.

Sikhala’s acquittal is a rare positive story to legal woes of a man once described as a political prisoner by the opposition after enduring many failed attempts to secure bail while detained for nearly 600 continuous days at Chikurubi Maximum Prison on charges of inciting public violence.

Sikhala was convicted of inciting public violence after prosecution proved that he urged the public to avenge the death of slain CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.

He was however given a wholly suspended two-year jail sentence.

On Thursday, he was again given a wholly suspended sentence and fined US$500 for publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the State.

Sikhala however denies both charges and intends to appeal at the High Court.

On February 26, judgement will be handed down in his only remaining case where he is accused of inciting public violence in 2020, after calling for national shutdown in protest over poor governance by the ruling party.

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