Former Zengeza West Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala, is set to stand trial on November 21, 2023, before Harare magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa for allegedly publishing falsehoods.
Sikhala, a member of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), had tweeted about a police officer striking a baby with a baton stick.
Sikhala’s lawyers had filed an application challenging further remand, but it could not be heard as the State stated that a trial date had been set and the application was no longer relevant. Furthermore, the State had failed to submit its written submissions. Prosecutor Pardon Dziva said:
"The application was overtaken by events. We are now ready to proceed to trial and a trial date is now ready, it is November 21.
We also note that the accused was not furnished with State papers. Our printer is undergoing maintenance. Defence counsel may collect the papers in our set down office.
I have liaised with my brother and he is willing to waive his 14 days remand and may he be remanded straight to the trial court."
When he was arrested over the case in 2021, Job Sikhala was part of the legal team representing freelance journalist Hopewell Chino’ono, who faced the same allegations. Sikhala’s arrest took place outside the Harare Magistrate’s Court. Fadzayi Mahere, a CCC Member of Parliament for Mt Pleasant also implicated in the charges, was convicted but received a fine instead of a custodial sentence. Sikhala has been in jail for over a year and is confronted with further criminal charges, including inciting public violence and participating in public violence.