Outspoken opposition MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Job Sikhala says his latest arrest and those of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere were testimony of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “fascism”, which he foresees not going on forever.
He was speaking Monday at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts where he appeared facing charges of communicating falsehoods.
Upon arrival at the court, Sikhala lashed out at Mnangagwa calling him a dictator and fascist.
“Basically this is fascism. An absolute dictatorship and persecution of those people whom they regard as opponents of Emmerson Mnangagwa,” fumed Sikhala.
“This (arrest) is purely at the pleasure of Emmerson Mnangagwa. Don’t include anyone in this fight. It is the fight by Emmerson Mnangagwa. His hatred of my person, Hopewell Chin’ono. Vice President Tendai Biti and others in the opposition forces in our country has been witnessed in the whole year of 2020.
“This will not go on forever. We are also watching his (Mnangagwa) actions. This cannot continue. We cannot continue being abused in our country and this message must be very clear to him. There are levels where you can tolerate persecution, but this one has gone beyond normal persecution.”
The charge both Sikhala and Chin’ono face was struck off by the Constitutional Court in 2014.
Sikhala said the illegal charge levelled against him was a litmus test to the judiciary’s impartiality and commitment to the rule of law.
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“This gives us an opportunity to give an assessment on the operation of our judiciary. How is our judiciary at lower courts going to treat a case which was expunged from our statutes?
“No High Court judge, no matter how poor that judge maybe will entertain this kind of matter. But it gives us an interesting trajectory to see how the magistrates at the lower courts are going to treat this matter.”
Sikhala was arrested last week Saturday at Harare Magistrates’ Courts and was charged with communicating falsehoods.
The state alleges that between 5 and 7 January 2021, Sikhala falsely claimed a police officer along Second Street in Harare, accidentally struck a baby with a baton stick and the infant died on the spot while strapped on the back of its mother.
A video went viral on social media with the police later dismissing it as untrue.