Incarcerated MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Job Sikhala who is facing charges of communicating falsehoods on social media yesterday wept before the magistrate court, lamenting that he was being abused by prison officers.
Sikhala lodged a complaint saying that it was inhuman treatment for him to be brought before the courts in leg irons and handcuffed after the court had barred prison officials from handcuffing and putting leg irons on prisoners in the court.
Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom prior to the proceedings, Sikhala said he is being ill-treated despite his innocence.
“There are real criminals who have stolen money in our country, and who have committed very heinous crimes through corruption but they have never been treated this way. I have not committed any crime, but I am being ill-treated,” Sikhala said.
In the courtroom, Sikhala fumed and went on to threaten a prison officer saying that he would charge towards him if he dared come near him.
He accused the prison officer of orchestrating all the abuse he was being subjected to.
“Usaswedera padhuze neni mudhara iwe. Usanditarira mhani (Don’t come near me you old man. Don’t look at me). We are humans, we are humans, why this ill-treatment?” Sikhala shouted, as he charged towards the senior prison officer, before he broke into tears.
— ZimEye (@ZimEye) January 13, 2021
‘I am not a criminal; I’ve not committed any offense… I’ve never seen such kind of oppression.’ – Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala as he protests refusal by prison officers to comply with a court order and free him from leg irons. pic.twitter.com/vsf5S3ZYG5
— ZimLive (@zimlive) January 14, 2021
Sikhala was consoled by Jacob Ngarivhume, the leader of Transform Zimbabwe who had attended the court session in his solidarity.
Commenting on the issue, Sikhala’s lawyer Jeremiah Bamu told the court that it was unconstitutional for the prison officers to bring an unconvicted person in handcuffs and leg irons to court.
Magistrate Nduna ordered a superior in the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services to appear before him so that he explained why they were defying court orders.