Job Sikhala takes gloves off

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MDC deputy chairperson Job Sikhala, who was recently cleared of treason charges, has said Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi does not have any prospect of succeeding in his intended Supreme Court appeal against the acquittal.
This comes after Hodzi, through Justin Uladi, who is an acting national director of public prosecutors, sought leave to appeal against High Court Judge Garainesu Mawadze’s ruling.
However, Sikhala told the court that the State was going on a fishing expedition, as it lacked sufficient grounds that could help overturn the High Court ruling.
“There are absolutely no prospects of success in any intended appeal as ought to be clear from the State’s poor drafting of both the indictment and the summary of the evidence it proposed to lead.
“From the poor documents presented before the court, which included a truncated utterance by myself which had obviously been edited in what was a clear cut and paste job, the court could not have found that the words complained of violated the provisions of Section 22 (2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law Codification & Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23),” Sikhala told the court.
The Zengeza West legislator was arrested in October last year on charges of attempting to subvert a constitutionally-elected government, after he allegedly told his party’s rally in Bikita East that he would overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration before the next elections due in 2023.
Sikhala, however, told the court in response to Hodzi’s application, that as a politician, he had clear political rights that entitled him to challenge actions of other political players.
He said while the State claimed that he intended to overthrow the government, he had not mentioned the government in his statement but Mnangagwa.
“In any event, the court could not read ‘government’ into the statement relied upon when government was never mentioned.  That Emmerson Mnangagwa and president are separate and distinct from ‘government’ appears to have eluded the applicant,” Sikhala said.
The Zengeza West legislator said Uladi, who filed an affidavit in the application, had no legal standing to do so as he was never part of the court proceedings in the lower court and was not privy to what transpired in the matter.
In the application, Hodzi is challenging the acquittal, claiming Mawadze misdirected himself.
“The learned judge misdirected himself on a point of law by not taking into account that, for attempting to overthrow the government it is not an essential element of the offence to show or prove the attitude of the audience addressed  that is whether the audience was responsive or unresponsive to the utterances,” the State argued.
The matter is still pending before the Supreme Court.

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