Masvingo High Court Judge, Justice Garainesu Mawadze has cleared Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Deputy National Chairperson Job Sikhala of treason charges.
The ruling came after Sikhala’s lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Jeremiah Bamu, Blessing Nyamaropa and Tinomuda Shoko of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights successfully filed an application of excepting to the charges of subverting constitutional government arguing that the charges did not warrant an offence.
On 3 February 2020, Sikhala had pleaded not guilty when his trial on charges of plotting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government commenced before Justice Mawadze.
Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare argued that Sikhala advocated for the overthrowing of government through unconstitutional means during his address to some MDC party supporters at a political rally held on Saturday 6 July 2019 at Mandadzaka Primary School in Bikita in Masvingo province.
He had also placed it before the court, opposing Sikhala’s application and made a bold claim that the Zengeza West legislator wanted to stage a coup with the intention of toppling President Mnangagwa from power.
The defence lawyers charged that the prosecution of Sikhala was just harassment of the opposition MDC Alliance party legislator through the use of the criminal justice system.
Meanwhile, there were violent scenes outside Masvingo High Court as MDC supporters clashed with the police who resorted to firing teargas and water canons to disperse the crowds.
Business came to a standstill as police and MDC supporters engaged in running battles and for a moment forced the court to adjourn as tear smoke eclipsed the courtroom
Sikhala’s court ruling was attended by party leadership including MDC President Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Lynette Karenyi among other senior leaders.