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Prison walls will not change the ideals I stand for- Job Sikhala

09 May 2023 at 20:08hrs | Views
For the purposes of the record, my name is Job Sikhala. I am tendering this statement pursuant to the provision of section 334 [3] [c] of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence. Act. [Chapter 9] I am advised that I stand convicted of the effect of defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184 [1] [e] of the Criminal Law [Codification] and Reform Act [Chapter 9.23].

I am 50 years old. I have lived in this world for at least half a century. The experiences of the past 50 years of my existence have nurtured within me a mature understanding of the consequences of different sets of events that occur in one's life. I have attended various court sessions in my capacity as a legal practitioner and also as an accused person. I have gained a full appreciation arising from that experience, of the use, misuse, and abuse of the legal processes.

My life has been without blemish. I have been accused of every imaginable crime in this country, including allegations of subverting a constitutional government. I have always pleaded and defended my innocence. I live within the strict confines of the law. I became a lawyer because I have faith in the words eloquently inscribed in the University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Law, ius est ars boni et aequi (the law is the art of goodness and equity) I also believe in the principle that ius abi remedium (where there is, a wrong there is a remedy) I have never taken the law into my own hands all my life. I have always been a faithful servant of the law. Through my work, as a legislator, I always strive for the promotion of laws that serve the needs of the people. I do not wish to see the law being transformed into an oppressive tool on the people by the powerful.

I was born in October 1972 in the Gutu Communal Lands. I grew up under the oppressive Smith Regime. Zimbabwean independence came when I was just a young boy, 8 years of age. Those were the days when freedom fighters, our fathers, and other village elders who sit us in the village compound and explain to us why the liberation war was being fought.

Much of what I am today was moulded on the framework of the values for freedom, equality, and human dignity taught to me by my forebears. These are the values I cherish and espouse to this day. These are the same values that made me, without hesitation, accept the brief to represent the family of Moreblessing Ali (May her, soul rest in, eternal, peace) immediately following her disappearance. Little did I know, then that I would be in the dock paying the price for what I thought to be a noble enterprise, I have no regrets. I seek not my glory, but the collective emancipation of all Zimbabweans and justice for the spirit of Moreblessing Ali.

Those who murdered Moreblessing Ali, and those who persecute me today may laugh for the moment, but when history chapters allow, posterity will judge me for what I truly am- a humble and obedient servant of the people. A willing instrument for the advancement of values of ubuntu.

A firm believer against impunity, regardless of one's political affiliation or status in life. A legal practitioner being shackled for taking up the cause of his oppressed client, who died a miserable death in the most violent way imaginable. I grew up in the village as a simple village boy. I tended our family crops and herd cattle with other boys of my age. Passion and determination drove me from the village to join one of the esteemed professions the world over, that of being a legal practitioner. Passion and Determination also drove me from being a simple village boy to a public leader, and granting me the privilege of representing initially the people of St. Marys and subsequently the people of Zengeza West in Zimbabwe's, lower, house, of Parliament. My present circumstances have robbed me of the opportunity to remain of service to the electorate which bestowed their faith in me is a parliamentary representative.

I have been a leader throughout my life. I have been entrusted with leadership positions since my days at primary school and right through my days at university. I had the privilege of not only leading the students at the University Of Zimbabwe but I was also entrusted with leading students in all tertiary institutions of Zimbabwe through the auspices of the Zimbabwe National Students Union. I am a founder member of the Movement for Democratic Change led by the late Morgan Richard Tsvangirayi in September 1999. I am currently a senior political leader in Zimbabwe's largest opposition political party CCC. I have become accustomed to selfless sacrifice for the betterment of those I lead.

My commitment and dedication to the national cause is a calling that I will never abdicate from notwithstanding the persecution I encounter as a result. It is a dedication to strive and seek for a just society where men and women, rich or poor, the powerful and the powerless, the affluent and the downtrodden will live in equality and happiness. The security of persons is at the core of my heart. No form of injustice or persecution will move me, not even an inch, away from the cries of the people. Let me be labeled the villain today. Let the murderers of Moreblessing Ali rejoice. Let my tormentors celebrate this pyrrhic victory. Posterity will be my judge. History chapters are replete with these kinds of oppressions. Oppressors read from the same script. I am neither the first nor the last to be nailed for seeking justice for the downtrodden. That is the only crime I have I ever committed. I did not seek to defeat justice. Far from it. Justice in the eyes of the oppressor is injustice to the oppressed. If I am guilty of seeking a universal justice that is accessible and applicable to all regardless of status, let the oppressors celebrate. They have won the battle, but the war will be won by the people. I have been in detention under solitary confinement since 14 June 2022, shackled in chains like a terrorist. Over the past ten months, I have been kept away from my family. I have been deprived of my ability to fend for them. [In my bail application, I fully set out my family details, which are incorporated herin] I have been kept away from my occupation as a representative of the people of Zengeza West.

I have been kept away from my law office and prevented from representing my clients. I have been prevented from providing legal support to the grieving family of Moreblessing Ali who only desire justice for what happened to their daughter, sister, mother, cousin friend and confidante.

Though the state extracted a conviction from its horde of lies and unscrupulously obtained evidence, the real solution to this matter lies in society itself. The legal issues that were before this court are basic and elementary. It is certainly repulsive to any right-thinking citizen that a crime can be borne out of and sustained by allowing a police officer in the comfort of his office without having anything else to do but surfing the internet for entertainment on YouTube to come across a video created and uploaded by an enterprising content creator and therefrom arrest a person who has no knowledge of the video and is unaware of its circulation and send them to jail.

Moreso, based on a video clip found on an entertainment site, created and posted by unknown people seeking to provide entertainment. This precedence will make a circus out of our criminal justice system. Those with a score to settle against any other have been given a carte blanche . They can easily pay enterprising content creators to create a video of a person they have a vendetta against making certain utterances that can be deemed to be offensive and leak it out to our gullible police who have no will to investigate but exceeding zeal to arrest and detain. The script against me is choreographed.

I make this statement fully appreciating that this case has never been about the law. It is persecution under the guise of prosecution. I refuse to accept that Zimbabwe's version of Justia had blindfolds during the course of my trial. I refuse to accept that she was holding the scales of justice. I have seen, felt and fallen victim of the terrible blows brought to bear upon me by her sword.

History will be my judge. Posterity will be my guide. I have no control over my fate today. It was usurped my oppressors. It was usurped by those who are intentionally or unintentionally aiding and abetting Moreblessing's killers. I can only leave it to history to be the judge. I will let society to whom this court must bear allegiance pronounce its own verdict. If I have strayed from any of the virtues of ubuntu. If it was wrong for me to join the call for justice for Moreblessing Ali. If I should have refrained from offering legal representation to a family in grief, then I will gladly accept whatever punishment is meted against me. I leave it to history to judge me. My conscience is clear.

My fate, even my demise while shackled in the oppressor's prison, will not put an end to the quest for justice. The pages of history will always turn at some point to the victim's glory. It may take decades even centuries, but the truth shall come out. Those who came before me succeeded in removing the yoke of colonial rule. It took them close to a century to do so. I am only fifty years old.

The walls of Chikurubi have been my companion and friend for over ten months now. Prison walls confined the iconic Nelson Mandela for twenty seven years but did not confine his ideals and did not kill his spirit. Prison walls confined several leaders of the liberation struggle, but it failed to contain the ideals they stood for. The hangmen's noose cut short the life of Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi but did not kill the ideals they stood for.

Whatever penalty that may be imposed against me will not contain the ideal of seeking justice against the callous murder of Moreblessing Ali, nor will it contain the ideal of a free, peaceful, and just Zimbabwe. I resonate with the following writings of Freeborn Muronda "I was born in a now defunct racist country called Rhodesia all Africans born in that country were without political rights human rights or any kind of rights but in spite of it all my spirit was always free."

Source - Zim Morning Post
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