By Staff Reporter
The Friends of Job Sikhala Trust has expressed deep disappointment and described the conviction of Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala as unfortunate.
Sikhala was convicted and fined US$600 for obstructing the course of justice. The verdict marks the third conviction of an opposition leader within the span of a month, further raising concerns about political persecution in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the trust, spokesperson Emmanuel Zellers Gumbo acknowledged Sikhala’s ongoing health issues but emphasized that his fighting spirit remains strong, undeterred by imprisonment or persecution.
Gumbo highlighted the difficulties Sikhala has faced in accessing medical care, stating, “The last time he attempted to consult a doctor of his choice, they denied him that opportunity.”
The Trust firmly believes that Sikhala’s conviction is a clear case of political persecution.
“The conviction did not come as a surprise; we saw it coming. The conviction confirmed one thing — that this is a clear case of political persecution.” said Gumbo
He further emphasized that Sikhala’s arrest stemmed from his demand for justice in the case of Moreblessing Ali, a victim of a heinous crime.
“Where on earth will a whole magistrate mistake such [a demand for justice] for obstruction of justice?” These remarks highlight the trust’s disbelief in the ruling and its belief that the charges against Sikhala are unfounded and politically motivated,” Gumbo said
The conviction of Job Sikhala follows the recent conviction and sentencing of opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere for publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state.
Another opposition activist and leader of Transform Zimbabwe, Jacob Ngarivhume was convicted and sentenced to an effective three years in prison for inciting public violence in July 2020.