JAILED opposition legislator, Job Sikhala has fallen sick at Chikurubi Maximum prison in a suspected poisoning case.
His lawyers and aide Frederick Masarirevhu confirmed that Sikhala who has been jailed for nearly three months is unwell.
“It’s true, Sikhala is not okay. I spoke with his wife and she informed me that the legislator has been vomiting and we are in touch with doctors for urgent assistance,” Masarirevhu says.
“He is not in good shape and we wait to hear the exact condition from the medical team,” adds Masarirevhu.
Sikhala, a firebrand opposition legislator has repeatedly been denied bail with observers saying Zanu PF is using lawfare to punish the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) which has since formation emerged as a threat to the ruling party’s strangehold on power.
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere has lamented Sikhala’s continued incarceration.
“We are extremely concerned that Hon Job Sikhala is unwell. We are seized with the matter and are liasing with the family, medical team and lawyers to ensure his life is not in danger. We are doing everything in our power to ensure he’s safe,” Mahere says.
She adds:”Fundamentally, we condemn the continued incarceration and persecution of Hon Job Sikhala. He has been jailed in the country’s maximum prison without trial for over 80 days which is an assault on the rule of law, freedom and democracy.”
Sikhala was arrested on June 14, following the funeral of a murdered CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.
Ali was abducted in the Nyatsime area of Chitungwiza on May 24 by a known individual, and her body was found in a well three weeks later with signs of torture and mutilation.
Police arrested Sikhala on charges of allegedly inciting public violence following social media posts in which he called for accountability for Ali’s killer while pointing to the alleged involvement of ZANU-PF individuals in the murder.
On the same day, twelve other civilians and activists were arrested, including opposition Member of Parliament Godfrey Sithole. They were separately charged with the same offence of inciting public violence.
Mahere says Sikhala is being persecuted and deserves bail.
“Bail is a constitutional entitlement and every person has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It is well-documented that the conditions at Chikurubi Prison are unsanitary and have been repeatedly condemned as such. We restate our demand that he be released in line with his constitutional rights. The persecution must stop,” argues Mahere.
International lawyer Robert Amsterdam, founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP, in coordination with local defense counsel have also joined the battle to free Sikhala.