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Sikhala delivers emotional testimony at UN summit

by Staff reporter
18 May 2024 at 06:03hrs | Views
Opposition politician Job Sikhala addressed a United Nations Human Rights and Democracy Summit in Geneva, stating that his arrest exemplified the closure of democratic space in Zimbabwe.

Sikhala delivered his emotional testimony at the summit on Wednesday, recounting his experience during his more than 595 days of incarceration on charges of incitement to violence.

He was charged in connection with the violence that erupted at the funeral of Citizens Coalition for Change activist Moreblessing Ali, who was murdered by jailed ZANU-PF activist Pius Mukandi.

Sikhala asserted that his arrest was part of a broader scheme to prevent him from participating in the August 2023 general elections as ZANU-PF sought to manipulate the outcome.

"In July 2023, they enacted 'The Patriot Act,' a new, repressive legislation restricting freedom of speech and association," he stated. "According to President Emmerson Mnangagwa's corrupt regime, simply standing here and addressing you today, and recounting what they did to me, constitutes a crime."

He warned that the regime intended to pass the Private Voluntary Organisations Bill, granting unchecked authority to the registrar to obstruct pro-democracy and human rights organizations.

Sikhala also revealed that during his detention, the regime denied him access to a medical doctor of his choice, further illustrating the closure of democratic space in Zimbabwe.

Attempts to reach ZANU-PF director of information Farai Marapira for comment were unsuccessful, as he is currently out of the country. ZANU-PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa did not respond to calls or questions sent via WhatsApp at the time of press.

However, ZANU-PF supporters on social media criticized Sikhala's address, accusing him of pandering to Western interests. "Job 'Judas Iscariot' Sikhala is celebrating being the best sellout of the year in Geneva," posted The Voice of The People on social media.

Source - newsday

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