By Staff Reporter
MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Job Sikhala will tomorrow know his fate on whether the State agrees not to place him on remand following his arrest on Friday charged with inciting public violence.
The hearing of his application not to be placed on remand ended today with Harare regional magistrate Lazini Ncube stating that he will hand down his ruling on Wednesday at 2:30pm.
His lead counsel Advocate Eric Matinenga accused the State of cherry picking allegations from his initial warned and cautioned statement and placing them as facts on form 242 to try and persuade the court that Sikhala committed an offense, which was wrong.
He said political bantering using the words ‘fight’ and ‘war’ did not constitute inciting violence and that it was deplorable that there was no culture of tolerance in Zimbabwe.
“It is very sad that we do not have a culture of tolerance in this country. Instead of protecting those who want to demonstrate or petition, they are sent away from the streets yet the Constitution provides for this,” Matinenga said.
In response, prosecutor Garudzo Ziyaduma said the State did not cherry-pick anything and that it was the right of the investigating officer upon arrest, to formulate reasonable suspicions that a crime has been committed after also liaising with prosecutors.
He said the court is at large to make its own findings on grounds of reasonable suspicions even without the presence of the investigating officer, after Sikhala’s defence queried why the officer was not called to testify.
Ziyaduma said Sikhala deserved to be placed on remand as evidence tendered on Form 242 showed that Sikhala’s tone in his videos encouraged violance by inciting people to besiege embassies.
“He said he is not afraid meaning that he was taking a confrontational approach.”
He submitted that the Constitution provides for rights on freedom of expressions but they are limited and they should not encourage violance or hate speech
“Sikhala’s utterances fall foul of those constitutional provisions,” Ziyaduma said.