Zimbabwe: Sikhala, Sithole to Be Sentenced Tuesday Following Conviction for Inciting Public Violence

Opposition politicians Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole will be sentenced Tuesday afternoon following their conviction for inciting public violence by Harare magistrate Tafadzwa Miti.

The two were convicted last week for inciting public violence in the Nyatsime area following the murder of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali by a Zanu PF activist, Pius Jamba.

The two insist they are innocent and will appeal against their conviction at the High Court.

However, in aggravation, State prosecutor, Ephraim Zinyandu urged the court to give Sikhala and Sithole deterrent sentences submitting that there was violence in Nyatsime because of their incitement.

Zinyandu said Section 192 of the Code, charges that a person convicted of incitement can be sentenced to or punished in the same manner as if he has actually committed the offence.

“In summary, one can be sentenced to a fine not exceeding level 12 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 or both.

“Sections 36 (iii) gives guidelines on what aggravation is regarding the same offence…if as a result of public violence bodily injury or damage to property occurs.

“The record will show that following the incitement by the accused, there was public violence which took place in the area and as a result, there was destruction of property.

“It is therefore an aggravating factor that property was destroyed during public violence.

Zinyandu added that the public violence was political.

“Once public violence of this nature takes place there is bound to be insecurity among the citizens especially those who live in the area where the violence took place.”

He said there was unnecessary use of police resources.

In mitigation, Harrison Nkomo representing Sikhala proposed a wholly suspended sentence.

“A custodial sentence does not fit the circumstances in this matter.

“We propose a fine of level six or US$300 payable at the prevailing interbank rate,” he said.

Nkomo also said Sikhala is married with 11 children and a wife who relies on him as the breadwinner.

He said Sikhala also has over 20 dependents and has been in jail for close to 20 months.

Oliver Marwa representing Sithole said his client should only be warned and cautioned because no evidence was tendered in court against him.

“The court did not sit to try the charge of public violence. Bearing in mind no evidence was led to prove the crime of public violence,” he said.

He also said his client is a family man with two minor children and a wife who looks up to him.

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