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Sikhala's continued imprisonment riles colonial masters in UK

by Staff reporter
02 Oct 2022 at 09:11hrs | Views
THE continued incarceration of opposition lawmakers Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, together with 14 Nyatsime residents for over 100 days, has cast Zimbabwe's deteriorating political situation under the spotlight as the United Kingdom House of Commons keeps an eye on the developments.

Sikhala and 15 others have been behind bars for over 100 days since mid-June and are facing charges of allegedly inciting violence in the Nyatsime area following the callous murder of Citizens' Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali.

Ali was murdered allegedly by a Zanu-PFlinked activist who was arrested after her body was found in a disused shallow well on the outskirts of the capital.

Lord Jonathan Oates, a strong critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration over human rights violations asked the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office what was being done by the office on the continuous detention of the opposition activists.

In response, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park who was only appointed minister of State and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on 22 September 2022 following the coming in of new Prime Minister Liz Truss said the UK was monitoring the issue closely.

"The UK is monitoring the ongoing detention of opposition members of Parliament Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole in Zimbabwe," Goldsmith said.

"I met with the Foreign minister of Zimbabwe on 30 June and reiterated the need for all political parties to respect the rule of law, refrain from violence and respect the right of others to campaign freely ahead of upcoming elections in 2023."

When Oates asked the question on September 6 this year, Vicky Ford was the responsible minister and had met with officials from Zimbabwe who included Foreign minister Frederick Shava and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.

The arrest and continuous detention of Sikhala, Sithole and others at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison has seen close to 50 000 people petitioning President Emmerson Mnangagwa to act on the issue observers say has become political.

Among those who signed the petition organised by the Platform for Concerned Citizens

(PCC) are academic Ibbo Mandaza, businessmen Strive Masiyiwa and Mutumwa Mawere, author Tsitsi Dangarembga, scholars Tony Reeler, Philani Zamchiya and politician Simba Makoni.

Sikhala's lawyers led by Beatrice Mtetwa said the incarceration and persecution of the Zengeza West MP are political and meant to force the CCC and its leader Nelson Chamisa into the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-initiated Political Actors' Dialogue (Polad).

Mnangagwa set up Polad in 2018 when he invited all political actors who participated in the presidential race to dialogue.

Chamisa has snubbed the platform, describing as a monologue while calling for genuine dialogue between him and Mnangagwa.

Recently, Polad member and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku said there was a need for political dialogue between the CCC leadership and Mnangagwa to rescue Sikhala and other activists from political persecution.

He said the matter was political and therefore a political solution was critical.

Source - thenewshawks
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