Zimbabwean opposition figure Job Sikhala released after 595 days on pre-trial remand, faces ongoing legal challenges

After a staggering 595 days on pre-trial remand, Zimbabwean opposition figure and former MP Job Sikhala has finally regained his freedom.

The Harare magistrate’s decision to hand Sikhala and his co-accused, MP Godfrey Sithole, a two-year wholly suspended term for five years brings a notable chapter to a close.

Sithole, who spent five months on remand, received bail. Both were found guilty of inciting public violence, prompting Sikhala’s legal team to express their intention to appeal the conviction at the High Court.

Sikhala’s arrest in June 2022 was linked to allegations of encouraging violence following the gruesome discovery of the dismembered body of Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali.

The subsequent unrest in Ali’s Chitungwiza neighborhood fueled speculation about Sikhala being a target of state persecution, especially after numerous failed bail applications.

The opposition figure, who asserted having been arrested over 60 times without a single conviction, may have obtained freedom in this particular case, but legal challenges persist.

Despite the release, Sikhala continues to grapple with charges related to disorderly conduct, inciting violence, and publishing falsehoods.

His legal journey, marked by twists and turns, underscores the broader complexities within Zimbabwe’s political and legal landscape.

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