The investigating officer into Job Sikhala’s charges of publishing falsehoods says the former lawmaker should not be spared any corresponding punishment for allegedly tarnishing the image of the police force.

Davison Mugesi was speaking in court on Tuesday as court sat to hear mitigation from the opposition politician who was convicted last week for a Facebook post claiming a police operative who was enforcing Covid-19 lockdown regulations had performed his job recklessly when he accidentally struck and killed a baby that was strapped on its mother’s back sometime in 2020.

This was after images of a wailing woman who angrily tussled a uniformed police officer along Harare’s Second Street extension claiming the operative had killed her baby went viral on social media.

It later turned out the baby was alive.

Sikhala was later accused of publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the state.

In his submissions before Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka, Mugesi argued the political firebrand abused his privilege as a legislator and public figure to tarnish the image of the police through false claims.

“As human beings, we are quick to panic and the way the message was communicated caused panic among the family of the baby. It has been very difficult for the organisation (ZRP) at large to restore its dignity,” Mugesi said.

The police officer said Sikhala should have known better since he was a parliamentarian at the time.

“The accused was a member of parliament by then.

“There is no doubt that he had a huge following. The false information he posted destroyed the reputation of the police.

“It also changed the picture of police service both on a national and international level,” he said.

In response, Sikhala’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo argued the allegations against the politician should be disregarded as they were based on a law that no longer exists.

This, Nkomo said, shows that justice does not prevail in Zimbabwe.

Sikhala is expected back in court on February 15 for sentencing.