Runesu Gwidi in Masvingo
Masvingo High Court Judge Justice Neville Wamambo has granted MDC-Alliance national deputy chair Job Sikhala $5 000 bail, coupled with stringent conditions.
Sikhala was arrested last week on allegations of threatening to overthrow the democratically-elected Government of President Mnangagwa through the words he uttered during a political rally in Bikita.
The State, led by Ms Chiedza Muhwandavaka and Messrs Takunda Chikwati and Elson Chavarika had proposed a bail of $50 000, arguing that Sikhala was facing a very serious offence.
The defence counsel led by Messrs Aleck Muchadehama and Jeremiah Bhamu argued that the figure was too high and tantamount to denying his client bail.
In his ruling, Justice Wamambo ordered Sikhala, who is also the Zengeza West legislator, to pay $5 000 to the Clerk of Court at the Bikita Magistrates’ Court, pending resumption of his trial on July 24.
Sikhala was also ordered to surrender his passport at the Bikita court and not to interfere with State witnesses until the finalisation of the matter.
Justice Wamambo ordered Sikhala to report to St Mary’s Police Station once every week on Fridays between 6am and 6pm and to continue residing at Number 569 Mutsanayi Street in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza.
The State had also asked the court for Sikhala to be barred from participating in political gatherings, but Justice Wamambo dismissed the proposal.
He ruled that it was up to Sikhala to be part of political gatherings, pointing out that the long arm of the law would not spare him if he strayed.
“Political participation is not the alleged offence here, but what the accused said,” said Justice Wamambo.
“If he commits another offence during the political gatherings before the matter is finalised, the State will still arrest and prosecute him.”
The high profile case drew several MDC-Alliance supporters to the Masvingo High Court and they started chanting their party slogans and singing after Sikhala had been granted bail.
Allegations against Sikhala stemmed from a rally he addressed in Bikita East last weekend, when he said his party would overthrow the Government before 2023.
“We are a committed leadership that will give Zanu-PF headaches and (Amos) Chibaya was not lying or joking about the war and fight we are going to take to the doorstep of Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he allegedly said.
“We are going to overthrow him before 2023, that is not a joke.”