Zimbabwean opposition figure Job Sikhala is to be released from prison

Zimbabwean opposition figure Job Sikhala will soon be released after more than a year and a half in a high-security prison in the capital, Harare, his lawyer Harrison Nkomo announced on Tuesday January 30.
Convicted last week of inciting violence, the 51-year-old opposition leader was given a two-year suspended prison sentence. “He is now a free man. This is the only case that kept him behind bars, so he’s going to get out of prison,” said Mr. Nkomo to the press as he left the court hearing in Harare.
When it was announced that he would be released in the next few days, dozens of supporters sang and raised their fists in victory on the steps of the courthouse. Mr. Sikhala, a lawyer and charismatic figure beloved by Harare’s poor, was prosecuted in this case along with an opposition MP, Godfrey Sithole. The latter was also found guilty and received the same sentence at the end of the year-long trial.
The authorities accused the two men of inciting members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), the leading opposition party, to avenge the death of an activist, Moreblessing Ali, whose mutilated body was found in a well in May 2022. The court ruled that the two men had incited public violence by transporting mourners to Mrs. Ali’s memorial services, which had been marred by violence.
Job Sikhala represented the family of the 46-year-old woman who was killed after being abducted by a militant of the ruling Zanu-PF party. In detention since June 2022, he is awaiting a decision in two other cases, “politically motivated,” according to his supporters, but has been granted bail in connection with these prosecutions. His charges include publishing false information.
Zanu-PF, which has been in power since independence in 1980, is accused of waging a vast campaign of intimidation against its opponents. Contested elections in August 2023 returned 81-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.

About Geraldine Boechat 2757 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia