Zim chief law officer shows disdain for country’s judicial system, appeals against Sikhala’s acquittal

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PROSECUTOR General (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi on Monday appealed to the Supreme Court against the recent acquittal of MDC national deputy chairperson and Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala, on treason charges.

Sikhala’s case never went to full trial after Justice Garainesu Mawadze, sitting in the High Court at Masvingo, upheld the defendant’s application for exception that was before him.

In acquitting Sikhala, the presiding judge ruled that the State had made an inappropriate spin to the defendant’s utterances made at a political rally in Bikita, consequently reducing the whole treason trial to a matter of semantics.

But in his draft application and founding affidavit launched with the apex court on Monday, PG Hodzi appealed against the “judgment and order” of Justice Mawadze.

In its notice of appeal, the State claims the judge in the matter between itself and Sikhala misdirected himself, after he failed to be guided in his views by the law as provided for under the Criminal law (Codification and Reform) Act.

In his submission, PG Hodzi noted that the CODE, in particular chapter 22, directs that all charges founded on “removing a constitutional government”, should be made to proceed to a full trial.

The State, in its draft application, also challenges Justice Mawadze’s ruling on the need first to subject to test Sikhala’s utterances “to take the war and fight” to the President’s doorstep by first finding the extent to which the words had impacted his rural Bikita listeners, without necessarily going to trial.

But it is Justice Mawadze’s ‘exception’ ruling which attracted much of PG Hodzi’s repulsion.

In his draft application to the Supreme Court, PG Hodzi challenges Justice Mawadze’s ”general interpretation” of Sikhala’s “war and fight” utterance to mean “peaceful political competition”, even without contextualising the words in a full trial.

According to the Draft Order deposed at the Supreme Court, Sikhala, through his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, has until tomorrow (Friday) to respond to the State’s case, failure of which the matter would be heard in absentia and judgment passed without further notice to the defendant.

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