- Judge says use of the words fight and war does not mean the means are unconstitutional
- Removing president is not the same as removing government
MDC-Alliance national vice chair Job Sikhala on Friday was cleared by Masvingo senior High Court Judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze of treason charges of attempting to subvert a constitutionally elected government.
Sikhala had told his party supporters that he was ready to illegally overthrow President Mnangagwa’s government before the expiry of his term of office.
The state’s case was that on July 6, 2019 Sikhala who is also Zengeza West’s legislator told a rally in Bikita, Masvingo province that the party will stage a major protest that will overthrow the government.
“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 doorsteps of Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“We are going to overthrow him before 2023 that is not a joke,” Sikhala uttered.
He was arrested after this statement and appeared in court but was released on ZWL5 000 bail.
The MDC vice chair denied the charge during trial as he said his statement is not a crime.
Sikhala through his defence council Beatrice Mtetwa on February 3 applied for exception to the charge.
Mawadze said the mere use of the words fight and war does not mean the means are unconstitutional and the words must be understood as they have many meanings as was done by the state council Tawanda Zvakare.
During his ruling the justice said citizens are granted freedom of expression and worse for politicians and it would be sad for the court to charge one for treason over utterances made during a political rally.
He said the constitution guarantees such rights.
The justice also said removing the president is not the same as removing the government and Sikhala’s utterance was against Mnangagwa not the government.